As her husband Ed’s bone marrow disorder worsened, Mary Ellen Bossom looked for help – and found it at Maine Veterans’ Homes – Scarborough.
Ed, an Army veteran who served during World War II and the Korean War, had been at the home several times before for rehab.
“We knew how good the place was, and that’s why, when we had to make a decision, we said we’d like to get him into Maine Veterans’ Homes,” said Mary Ellen.
Why Maine Veterans’ Homes
Mary Ellen said the staff at MVH – Scarborough was just one reason they knew it was the right place; the atmosphere, cleanliness and activities were others.
“There’s no comparison to other places that I’d been in or volunteered in,” she said.
Throughout Ed’s time in the Scarborough home, the couple took advantage of the activities and events for veterans there.
“When he went in and knew this was going to be his final home, he got very involved with the activities there,” said Mary Ellen. “He never had when he had been in rehab, for some reason, but this time he decided he would participate in whatever he could.”
She added, “I got to know the staff in that part of the building and saw how things worked, and I was very impressed with the whole thing.”
Visits With Teddy
Although Ed enjoyed his time at MVH, there was one thing he missed about being home: His cat, Teddy.
Because Ed first lived in a private room during his stay, this was a simple request to accommodate. Mary Ellen would bring the cat to visit, shut the door and let him roam.
Later on, though, when Ed was moved to a semi-private room because he needed a higher level of care, it posed a trickier problem for visits with Teddy.
“I said, ‘Well, we’re going to have to work this out,’” said Mary Ellen. “And they did.”
The MVH staff found a private sitting room for the family, so Mary Ellen could bring the cat in for a visit whenever Ed wanted.
“They encouraged us to bring him in. I thought that was above and beyond what they had to do,” she said.
A Final Request
As Ed’s condition worsened, Mary Ellen said the nursing staff at MVH kept her and her husband informed of every detail.
“They took extremely good care of him. They assured us they could take care of him – they were wonderful,” she said.
Mary Ellen had one request for MVH: To let her be there as they came to take Ed out if he passed away at night.
When that day came, the staff called Mary Ellen to tell her the news.
“He passed away around 2 a.m. … and they called me and waited until I could get there in the morning. They made all the arrangements with the funeral parlor, and my son and I were able to be there when they took him out,” she said. “It meant a lot to me, and I’m sure it would have meant a lot to him.”
A Lasting Connection to Maine Veterans’ Homes
After Ed passed away, Mary Ellen wanted to stay connected with Maine Veterans’ Homes. She’s currently a volunteer, helping out wherever the home needs it the most.
Right now, she says, that’s playing bingo with the residents.
“What I really like is to get to know these folks and hear their stories. They have some very interesting stories of their experiences,” she said.
She added, “Once they get familiar with me, they’re very happy to share that information. And especially if there’s someone who doesn’t get much company, I think it’s important to spend some time with these folks. They really like to see people and to talk.”
Besides the care and compassion Mary Ellen and Ed experienced at Maine Veterans’ Homes, she says there’s one thing that keeps drawing her back again and again.
“MVH is like a big family; residents, staff – all the staff, not just the nurses – families of residents, kitchen and laundry workers,” she said. “It’s like a big family, and we felt very much a part of it.”
Learn More About Maine Veterans’ Homes
Maine Veterans’ Homes is proud to serve our veterans and their eligible family members. To see if you or a loved one qualify for care at one of our six homes, download a copy of our free eligibility and benefits guide today.