On a beautiful December Wednesday, I drove to Newton to tour the Newton Health Care Center. The owner, Healthbridge, also has the Weymouth Health Care Center on the South Shore. From the outside, it looks like an old-fashioned, brick nondescript nursing home, but inside, there is a lot going on. They offer an Alzheimer’s care unit, long-term care, short-term rehab, and post acute care.
Most interesting, though, is their “orthopedic unit.” This is a 22-bed wing designed for people who need a short stay while recovering from hip replacements, knee replacements, or other orthopedic surgeries. It is such a change to see a unit built for baby-boomers – rooms are private, each has a flat screen TV, there is internet access, and the wing is spacious and tastefully decorated. Very different from the usual institutional experience!
Through all the units, I noticed a few things that I liked. One was sunlight – lots of it. Plenty of natural light is key to mood and health. Despite being right off the highway, there were also peaceful views out many of the windows, whether of trees or a neighboring gold course. Again, soothing, natural sights help life mood and promote health. The courtyard used by the Alzheimer’s and dementia residents is larger than at many other facilities. And the two things I also look for when visiting facilities – the staff looked happy and calm, as did the residents.