Woven into the tapestry of our lives is the culmination of all that we have experienced. From the fertile soil of our childhood, formative years where each moment has the capability of leaving an indelible impression, to our howling youth, where our sense of who we are within begins to breathe its first gasps of life. For most of us, assigning a temporality to the meaning of our lives has become a matter of course.
For each passing phase we assume the previous has resolved itself, and as we settle into a certain age a new set of sentiments can often find themselves creeping into the back of our minds. Deteriorating health, senility, isolation, boredom, and financial loss are common concerns aging populations face all over the world. Yet, sheltered by the hills of Litchfield County, CT, in the charm of the historic town of Salisbury, a revolution in healthcare and healthy living for not only the elderly, but every age group, is taking place. For nearly 50 years Noble Horizons has staked its claim as the most welcoming and innovative senior living, rehabilitation, nursing, and memory care community in the Northwest Corner.
A trust established in 1972 by Sharon, CT, residents John and Ethel Noble helped make possible the purchase of the original 64 acres and the construction of 20 cottages. Today, it has grown into 50 cottages nestled on a bucolic 110 acre country setting. In conjunction with the neighborhood of cottages, Noble has established four pillars of premiere healthcare in the form of the Riga Residence for 24-hour skilled care, Whitridge for memory support, Wagner Terrace for intermediate care, and the Cobble that has the ambiance of a fine hotel. Though Noble Horizons has firmly established its reputation as the area’s premiere destination for senior living through the decades, today’s team of dedicated professionals, volunteers, and hardworking individuals have married traditional ideals of nurturing care with 21st century innovation. As a result, what approaches steadfastly on the horizon in that charm of Salisbury, CT, is a community of care that will cross generational boundaries for years to come.
Bridging the gap
“This place has been the best surprise of my adult life,” says Jean O’Connor, a nursing professional who herself worked in the field for nearly six decades and recently spent time in Noble Horizons’ short-term rehabilitation. “I worked as a night charge nurse in a few places you might consider traditional nursing homes or rehab centers, and because of my previous experiences I told myself I would never consider becoming even a short-term resident in one of those places.”
But, like so many others, Ms. O’Connor has come to recognize the revelation that is the Noble Horizons care family.
The direct support and pinpoint attention to detail when it comes to recovery has successfully usurped the stigma of exclusivity assigned to homes for the aging thanks to Noble Horizons’ expansive care offered to individuals of varying ages. Noble’s highly experienced blend of doctors and therapists specialize in a unique, personalized approach that treats a wide swath of individuals. Using comprehensive techniques and thorough methods specially-designed to enhance recovery, Noble’s rehabilitation team provides care for orthopedic, neurological, and cognitive needs. With 24-hour nursing care and daily therapy sessions, as well as free and lifetime access for everyone in recovery to its state-of-the-art gym and personal trainers, Noble Horizons has united methods of care both in time and technology by helping folks in rehabilitation “regain strength, balance, and flexibility in a comfortable environment.”
Included in Noble’s rehabilitation is fastened a dedication to innovation through new wave technology. The OmniCycle Elite for example, is an advancement in the rehabilitation process that uses a “smart motor” to help those in need of strength, endurance, and muscle control. The Shortwave Diathermy is yet another addition to Noble’s cutting-edge rehabilitation technology. By using safe electromagnetic waves to create a gentle heating effect in muscles, joints and tissues, this unique piece of modern therapy technology helps to manage pain and increase flexibility in stiff muscles.
“Education is the most important factor for this community as it relates to Noble Horizons,” says Jean of Noble’s pursuit of community inclusivity. “I feel there are so many people that need this type of treatment in our area, and deserve this beautiful place. People need to know how accepting Noble Horizons is, because it is the example that every place needs to strive to be, and I mean that with all of my heart.”
A sense of hope
Though technology can help pave the way for recovery, the key to Noble’s personalized care is in its commitment to consistent evolutions in the fields of healthcare previously veiled by long-held stigma. Since its recognition in the medical community and the general public, diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia have long been associated with a loss of hope, a finality to one’s life for which there can be no redeemable recovery. Hope however, is what lies at the heart of Noble’s prolific applications in the field of memory care.
The community staple has once again proven that the breadth of its innovative thinking has the power to impact every resident in search of even the simplest of interactive experience necessary to achieve a more fulfilling life.
In 2016, initiated by its Auxiliary, Noble Horizons succeeded in becoming one of the first rehabilitation and personal therapy destinations in the area certified in the nationally-recognized Music & Memory program. And in the years since, staff have dedicated their efforts toward improving the lives of residents through the immeasurable influence of music. Music & Memory is a national non-profit organization that specializes in programs designed to connect those suffering from the effects of Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other cognitive challenges with a musical experience that is personal to their own individual lives. With networks across the US and Canada, the program specializes in providing staff in places like Noble Horizons with training on how to both create and provide personalized playlists for residents.
“Music benefits everybody,” says Lana Knutson, director of recreation at Noble Horizons and member of Noble’s neighborhood of memory therapy. “Think about the music you like to listen to and the kinds of memories that resonate with you based on a particular song. Our favorite songs can set us right back in our childhood, and not just for a moment, music represents an entire state of being and consciousness from our past. Food, smells, and perhaps most importantly, we remember those people who have impacted our lives the most.”
A cut above
Off the backs of those members of Noble Horizons who have faithfully devoted a part of themselves to those in need and the surrounding community, they have again been recognized at the highest levels. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a federal agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services that administers Medicare and works collaboratively with state governments to administer Medicaid, awarded Noble Horizons its rare and coveted 5-star rating. The perfect score makes Noble Horizons one of the highest rated healthcare attractions in the region and one of only two such places to be awarded a 5-star rating in the Eastern NY, Western MA, or Western CT region.
“As a non-profit organization and a continuum of care community, we have maintained a standard of skilled excellence through decades and I recognize this,” says administrator Bill Pond, a relative newcomer to Noble Horizons, but who has already been imbued with Noble’s innate sense for the individual. “Despite our earned recognition, our goals for continued care, including new and innovative approaches, remain as steadfast as ever. We provide some of the most inclusive and diverse care in the area.”
Within that vein of inclusivity is Noble Horizons’ recent success in earning the capability of providing IV Push Therapy as well as taking blood samples without having to send residents to hospital environments. Mr. Pond notes, “Interaction is key here, and we look forward to sharing services with local hospitals. Making possible what is provided in the acute setting, an achievable goal for the same kind of care opportunity here.”
An active life
What has already been astoundingly achieved within the Noble Horizons community has now poured into the surrounding hills and towns in our area through Noble’s community outreach. Unsurprisingly, Noble’s advancements in interaction with the people of the region comes from its exceeding ability to innovate in arenas where few others are.
Noble’s most community-based department, Recreation, consistently finds itself at the fore of active and interactive programs. By transitioning the concept of recreation from simply leisure time to a more therapeutic experience, Noble’s Recreation Therapy has blazed a new trail for residents to see the world around them, and ignited a new passion for active engagement. Noble’s recreation team plans a wide variety of activities geared to the interests and abilities of residents. Frequent social events and regular trips for shopping, lunch at one of the area’s many restaurants, visits to points of interest or scenic rides help to increase engagement in the beneficial aspects of recreation including enhancements in functioning, independence, and overall wellbeing.
Nearly every aspect of the human experience is touched within Noble’s realm of across-the-board interpersonal care – even the spiritual. Without exception, Noble’s band of recreational volunteers and spiritual leaders have set upon a mission to nourish each resident’s spirit as if it were its own gift. Church services for every denomination include vespers, an evening service held on the fourth Sunday of each month. Eileen Epperson, Noble’s pastoral director, has seen this celestial evolution first-hand, “My perception of those living here has been that being in the Noble Horizons family enhances that golden time of your life. When you claim your victories, forgive what needs to be forgiven, accept your life as it is, and become fully conscious in a safe and loving space.”
Come one, come all, come home
The word space can come to define much of our lives, those spaces of time we experience, the spaces we fill, the lives we inhabit, and those places we call home. Despite its prominence on the healthcare stage because of revolutionary technology and innovative thinking, at Noble Horizons, feeling at home remains its undeniable heartbeat.
Linda Orlowski, a leader in social work and the director of Whitridge, Noble’s Memory Care, tells a story of ineffable connection between Noble Horizons and those that choose to occupy its many spaces. Of a dedicated painting that hangs in Whitridge and illuminates such spaces she says, “We have a wall in Whitridge that’s been newly painted. The reason why this particular wall was painted the color it is – is because of the painting that hangs there. The painting is of a vase filled with beautiful red flowers on a yellow background. Beautifully unassuming most might think, it came on behalf of an artist whose wife lived here. He and his wife bought their last new home together some time ago, and as a housewarming gift he painted this beautiful arrangement for her. After she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and came to Whitridge, the man brought that painting and put it in her room. He did this because he felt Noble Horizons was her brand new home.” When he passed, he bequeathed the painting to Noble Horizons – a symbol of home for all.
To learn more about Noble Horizons and all of its offerings, please call (860) 435-9851 or visit www.noblehorizons.org.
By Griffin Cooper firstname.lastname@example.org