A Home with a Special Understanding of MS

At The Boston Home, people aren’t judged by their inabilities, but rather saluted for their capabilities.
The Boston Home was established in 1881 for those with advanced multiple sclerosis (MS) and other progressive neurological diseases. About 75 percent of the residents in the 96-bed facility have MS, with the other 25 percent having long-term conditions such as lupus, muscular dystrophy or other debilitating diseases, according to Faith Saftler Savage, physical therapist and seating specialist at The Boston Home.

Clients at the Dorchester, Mass., facility often have a combination of a lack of independence and memory issues.
“The people that come to me are the people that can’t live at home any longer,” Savage says. “And the amount of support they need is too much. It’s a place where people come to live until the end of their lives.”
Savage says there’s a waiting list for The Boston Home, and when an opening becomes available, potential residents are interviewed to determine if they’re a match for the person already occupying the room.
“It all depends on how they can function at home and what’s the end point,” she says. “Everyone’s end point for living at home is different.”

The state-of-the-art facility is equipped with a wireless elevator and door access, overhead lifts and ergonomic shower chairs. Each person gets at least three days of exercise per week through range of motion movement, working with weights, standing in a stander or using a bicycle, Savage says. The home also offers medical and dental services, round-the-clock nursing care, social services, resident and family involvement and therapeutic recreation.

The many resources at the home allow residents to engage in activities geared toward their unique interests. They can work in the computer lab, paint, engage in writing groups and discussions, play games, watch movies, have cocktail hours and attend outings. Residents also enjoy a program that encompasses wellness and spirituality, which includes but is not limited to memorial services, resident-led relaxation groups and off-site spirituality retreats.

Overall, Savage believes The Boston Home is a great place to live because the staff recognizes the entire person. “We don’t look at whatever your diagnosis is,” she says. “We look at what we can do to make things better.” — L. Brackens

This article originally appeared in the May 2008 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Lunzeta Brackens is a contributing editor for Mobility Management.

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