The Inn at Village Square in Gorham is an assisted living facility managed by Avesta. The front lobby is lined with chairs; its residents sit in groups and talk about the activities planned for the day, the last meal they ate, their pasts, and their families. Varying degrees of aid are required from the attentive staff. All of the residents make the final decision to move to assisted living for two equally important reasons. The first can be explained in three words: "I feel safe," explains Agnes Dyke, a resident of nearly two years. "This is a load off for my (two) daughters,” though they are still very involved in her life today. In fact after speaking with Agnes they waited for her just outside in the hallway eager to provide more stories about her "glory days."
In Agnes' case, she had almost no choice in where she could live. Her health deteriorated severely while living at her house in Windham, "I remember being very scared" said Agnes. After spending months in the hospital with chronic health problems, she miraculously began to recover after her doctors initiated an unorthodox treatment. "They told me it was the last thing they could try." Agnes moves about gingerly, but her involvement in the community at the Inn is quite impressive, explaining the second reason why so many choose to live at the Inn.
"There are different things going on here at all times," testifies Roberta "Bobby" Ryan, "and I have about 30 friends." Before talking with us about her life and experiences, Bobby sat with her friends in the front lobby, and after our conversation she walked right back over and sat in the very same seat where her friends awaited. Like Agnes, her list of activities was long. She loves to play bingo, go bowling, she participates in the exercise program, and enjoys listening to music in their common room which has a piano. Over the holidays, she took a bus tour of the Christmas light decorations in the Old Port. "I don't have any choice in where I live, but I'm content to be here," Bobby says, and Agnes, who also bakes and participates in the nondenominational devotion meetings each morning, echoes Bobby's endorsement. "The nurses here are wonderful, and the food is so good I think about what I'll get to eat next," she says.
So what about the Inn elicits such glowing endorsements? Paul Schreiber, director of the Inn offers his thoughts. “Most Assisted Living facilities only accept private pay residents. Those that do accept MaineCare require their MaineCare residents to share a double occupancy room with two double occupancy rooms sharing a bathroom. At the Inn at Village Square, with the exception of two rooms that are for ‘couples’, all residents have their own private room with private bath and a ‘tea kitchen’.
“In assisted living facilities that only accept private pay residents (with the exception of a few that have a limited subsidy program) residents must find another place to live when their money runs out. At the Inn at Village Square, when a resident spends down their financial resources and they qualify for MaineCare, they stay in the same private room. Nothing really changes and most staff do not even know which residents are MaineCare and which are Private Pay. Everyone is treated the same.”
**Over 50 percent of the residents at the Inn at Village Square receive Maine Care for Private Non-Medical Institution funding. Around the state of Maine, there are hundreds of people who receive this funding in similar facilities for both physical and mental illnesses.**
Agnes Dyke & Roberta Ryan
Residents, Inn at Village Square