Denise and Gerald “Jerry” Francis were not planning to move to Masonic Village at Lafayette Hill. They were enjoying life in their five-bedroom home in Bala Cynwyd, PA. But sometimes things don’t go as planned.
In early May 2021, Jerry became critically ill, and after multiple surgeries, he was given little hope of survival. After a long hospitalization, Jerry was sent to nursing facilities in both the Bryn Mawr and Philadelphia area for recovery and rehabilitation.
“Because of my wounds and a leg amputation, I didn’t get much therapy,” Jerry said. “These facilities looked at me as a long-term invalid. I felt hopeless. I thought I would spend the rest of my life confined to my bed.
“As life partners, our plan was to live somewhere where we could visit each other. We wanted to live on the same campus and not all facilities could accommodate us.”
In August 2021, Jerry was accepted into the health care unit at Masonic Village. He stayed there while Denise packed up their house and got it ready to sell.
“Upon my arrival at Masonic Village, the staff, including the doctors, nurses and therapists viewed me differently … they saw that I had the potential for rehabilitation,” Jerry said. “As my wounds healed, I was able to exercise and become stronger.”
In October 2021, Denise moved to the independent living area at Masonic Village. The therapy department fit Jerry for a prosthetic leg and worked with him for months on his goal of eventually joining Denise.
Today, Jerry is more independent and mobile. He uses a wheelchair to get around and is now able to stand and take short walks. In early April 2022, Jerry moved out of health care and into Denise’s apartment, now re-united with his wife of 51 years! They could not be happier being together again. Recently, Jerry was transferred out of occupational therapy and now utilizes the Wellness Center to further increase his mobility.
“The staff at Masonic Village trusted me and believed in me and wanted me out and about,” he said. “Life will never be normal again, but I’m living a more mobile life. I’m getting more independent and busy, which means that Denise’s ‘honey do’ list is getting longer. I can now get into Denise’s car and take day trips, and we also participate in Masonic Village excursions, such as to Shady Maple Smorgasbord, which is one of our favorite destination places.”
Along with his general health, Jerry’s mental state has also dramatically improved. A favorite activity is sitting out on their patio enjoying their small garden and, for reference, using the “Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Birds,” and watching the birds scamper around their two bird houses. They also enjoy being outside and breathing the fresh air.
“All the residents here are friendly and helpful,” Jerry said. “For example, one of our neighbors, without prompting, built a ramp for me in the Village woodshop so I could more easily move my wheelchair in and out of the door to the patio area.”
As a “young” 79-year-old and an award-winning historian, Jerry said his next goal is to “get back to my work, and I thank Masonic Village for caring for me and for getting me healthy again.
“I am comfortable and cared for here at Masonic Village.”
Contact us to learn more retirement living, nursing care and rehabilitation at Masonic Village.