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— A testimonial by Betty Anne Smith, Resident of The Manor Senior Living

Please introduce yourself.

I’m Betty Anne Smith. I was raised in Kingsport, Tennessee and I’ve lived in Florence well over 50 years with my husband, Henry. We have two grown children who live in Savannah and Charlotte, and I’ve lived at The Manor for four years now.

How did you first become introduced to The Manor?

I came to some Alzheimer’s classes that were offered by The Manor. It was a six-week session; we came once-a-week for six weeks and I learned a lot about the disease which my husband had been diagnosed with several years before.

How did you know it was time to make a move?

I realized I had taken over all of the household duties, all of the financial duties, had hired somebody to take care of the yard, and I had to watch constantly where Henry was. I knew. One morning I woke up and it was as if God had told me: It’s time to move. And so within a week we had put down our deposit on a Patio Home. We waited three months to move in because it was a lot getting rid of 40 years’ worth of stuff in the house we had been living in!

How has the move been?

It has been a wonderful move for us. I wanted to come here while Henry could still be with me, get to know people, be familiar with the place, and he did! He was with me in the Patio Home for three years…more than three years. He was able to stay in the Memory Care unit at The Manor five times before he actually moved over there, so we both became familiar with the procedures and the things that go on over there.

How was Henry’s transition to Memory Care?

He moved in May. It has been a successful move. At first, he kept wanting to come home but sometimes it was to go to his childhood home, sometimes it was here, sometimes it was where we lived for 40 years. And he still occasionally says he’s coming home but I say, “No, you’re going to stay here,” and he’s fine with it! In fact, last week he said, “You know, it’s kind of fun here!”

How did you react emotionally to moving Henry into Memory Care?

It was hard. It was hard to make that decision to know that we would not be living together anymore, I mean, we had our 55th anniversary this week, so, that’s been hard. I think I miss him the most when I go to bed at night and he’s not in the bed with me. But I make sure that I go over there every day I’m in town and spend some time with him; sometimes twice a day. But it was also a great sense of relief. I just knew that when he was over there, he was in a contained space and everything had been made safe in that area.

What is your day-to-day life like?

My day-to-day life is: I like to get up in the mornings and go for a walk on the beautiful grounds we have here. There’s lots of things going on here at The Manor. I take part in an exercise class twice a week and really enjoy that. We have someone from the community who comes in and teaches. And I go to the lecture that Francis Marion provides for us each semester. I carry on my life as I wish. I have a lot of things I love to do. I like to knit, watch TV, I like to read, and I’m on the computer a lot. I teach Sunday School for kids and I really like doing that.

What advice do you have for someone who is considering a move to The Manor; specifically someone whose spouse has Memory Impairment/Alzheimer’s?

My advice is: look toward the future…don’t ignore the fact that the disease is here. Do everything you can with your spouse. If you can move to a place where your responsibilities are lessened so that you can spend more time with your spouse, I highly recommend it, and it was really nice that Henry has gotten to know so many people at The Manor. People come up to him and speak and say, “Oh we’re so glad to see you,” and he’s got some quip back for them. That wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t moved here prior to his really needing to go into Memory Care.

Any final thoughts or words of wisdom?

Come out and visit, pray, and talk to people who are in similar situations. Don’t wait, it is the thing to do, you won’t regret it! It is a wonderful place to live.