Keeping Our Standards High

Resident Caroline Jacobs brings best practices through her work with Massachusetts Life Care Residents’ Association.

Our community is always looking for ways to improve the retirement experience at The Commons, and we are fortunate to have sincere resident interest to help us continuously evolve and improve.

Resident Caroline Jacobs is a force in our efforts to bring the latest and greatest senior living opportunities to our residents. She sits on the board of the Massachusetts Life Care Residents’ Association (MLCRA), a statewide, nonprofit volunteer organization established to represent residents of continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) like The Commons.

In her two years with MLCRA, Caroline has learned about policies and practices at other CCRCs and has gained a valuable bird’s eye view of how well The Commons stacks up to other Lifecare communities.

“I’m the membership vice president so I have a relationship with one representative in each of the communities,” said Caroline.

The Commons comes in on top.

One recent meeting included a discussion on best practices for welcoming new residents.

“It was very interesting to see how different communities welcome or don’t welcome,” she said. “Our Welcoming Committee really came in on top. They are in touch with new residents before they even come, so it’s not so strange when they first move in.”

Another area of pride is the way The Commons has handled recent labor shortages that have been affecting restaurants and other industries nationwide.

“The Commons has adapted and is still feeding us so well,” she said.

Her long-term insurance policy.

Caroline became one of the community’s original residents in 2010. Prior to that, she lived in Lexington, Mass. for 30 years with her late husband Norman. He passed away in 2012.

Caroline doesn’t have family living nearby and moved to The Commons to make sure she would have people to care for her as she gets older and her needs change.

“It’s wonderful not to have to worry about that,” she said. “For me this is my long-term insurance.”

Time to explore.

The maintenance-free living here has also given Caroline time to indulge in new hobbies like painting and memoir writing.

“You don’t have to think about the daily things like roof repairs, appliances breaking down or keeping the garden in shape,” she said.

She also maintains a strong social life back in Lexington, where she attends church and sees friends.

“I still can keep up with the friends I had before I moved,” she said. “The challenge is fitting it all in. It is a good problem to have.”

Fascinating new friends.

While she still enjoys the freedom of driving to see her Lexington connections, Caroline also loves the community she has found in The Commons’ “friendly and warm atmosphere.”

“We have wonderful people here. I’ve met so many interesting people with interesting backgrounds”

She believes fate may have led her to live here at The Commons in Lincoln.

“I grew up in England in a town called Lincoln,” she said. “This town was named after the town in England. This was where I was meant to come.”

Continued improvements.

A new community e-newsletter called “Around the Commons” has already proved to be a wonderful new option for sharing news and information with residents. In her work with MLCRA Caroline has also learned about other opportunities to improve communication with apps and other technologies.

“It is interesting to share that information with our management group. Hearing about what’s going on in other communities helps them look at ways to improve communications at The Commons,” she said.

She and her MLCRA colleagues are also working to introduce and support state legislation that will benefit the life of seniors at CCRCs. One current point of advocacy is the Entrance Fee Disclosure Bill, which is designed to make sure that a community’s entrance fee refund policy is clear.

It’s another area where The Commons is doing everything right.

“Our policy here at The Commons is clear. For some communities it is very fuzzy apparently. We are working hard to see that it passes.”

Click here to learn more about the work of MLCRA