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Notes from the next generation

A daughter’s perspective on helping Mom and Dad move

Created date

November 3rd, 2016
John and Marie DeMeglio (left) with Marie’s parents Anne and Martin Horkan, who live at Brooksby.

John and Marie DeMeglio (left) with Marie’s parents Anne and Martin Horkan, who live at Brooksby.

Martin and Anne Horkan purchased their center-entrance Colonial-style home in Malden, Mass., over 50 years ago.

They raised their five children—four girls and a boy—in the spacious house complete with three generously sized bedrooms, a first-floor family room, and an expansive basement.

Their son eventually purchased the home nextdoor, giving his children the opportunity to run over and visit their grandparents after school.

Over time, however, the Horkans’ grown children began to notice a shift.

“The house was becoming more of a burden,” says Marie DiMeglio, the couple’s eldest daughter. “My dad handled the maintenance and paying the bills. It was a lot to keep up. My mom took care of the cooking and laundry.”

Martin agrees.

“As much as I loved our house, we had stairs to the bedrooms and stairs to the cellar,” he says. “It was a big house, too, and we weren’t using most of it.”

‘We’re just going to listen’

The family knew of Brooksby Village, the Erickson Living community in Peabody, but didn’t initially consider it as an option for Martin and Anne.

“I thought Brooksby was a nursing home,” says Marie. “I was under the impression that you gave up a lot to move there, including your independence and privacy.”

That perception changed, however, when friends of the family moved to Brooksby in 2015. 

“My parents’ friends were very happy at Brooksby. It wasn’t at all what we thought it was. Brooksby offers independent living in a community setting with plenty of amenities. That opened up a dialogue, and my parents agreed to take a look,” says Marie.

Marie accompanied her parents to the Peabody community and says her dad was wary of a sales pitch.

“He kept telling my mom, ‘We’re just going to listen,’” says Marie.

The family met with Sales Counselor Jane Kiegel who outlined the maintenance-free lifestyle enjoyed by Brooksby residents, the community’s financial structure, and the portfolio of floor plans.

“There wasn’t a sales pitch,” says
Marie. “You either liked it or you didn’t.”

One step at a time

After the initial meeting with Kiegel, Martin went home and wrote a $1,000 check to join the priority list at Brooksby.

“It was a different story after we met with Jane,” says Martin. “She explained everything to us and showed us a few apartments. We discussed it and decided we’d sell our house and move in.”

Priority list members put down a fully refundable $1,000 deposit to reserve their place in line for the apartment home of their choice. Once the desired apartment becomes available, priority list members have first right of refusal based on the date they joined the priority list.

“When I found out my dad had joined Brooksby’s priority list, I knew they were serious about moving forward,” says Marie. “That’s when I started thinking about what it would take to move them out of the home where they’d lived for 50 years. There were so many pieces to the puzzle—financial, logistical, emotional. I was thankful for the sales staff who helped us through every step.”

Complimentary in-home visits

Laurie Phillips, Brooksby’s personal moving consultant, visited Martin and Anne in their Malden home. Phillips offers complimentary coordination of moving resources, including referrals to preferred real estate agents, packers, and movers. Her in-home visits help future residents customize a moving plan and are complimentary for anyone moving to Brooksby.

“During the home visit, I shared moving resources, and we developed a game plan to help Martin and Anne move forward,” says Phillips. “I think it gave them confidence to know that, if they reserved an apartment at Brooksby, we could make the move happen.”

Decision made, Martin and Anne’s next step was choosing an apartment.

“My [parents involved my] sisters and me in looking at apartments,” says Marie. “It got a little overwhelming because we all had opinions.”

The family paused to consider the space that would work best for Martin and Anne.

“We thought about the rooms they used most in their home—the bedroom, kitchen, den, and sitting area,” says Marie. “The Gilbert floor plan has those exact rooms.”

The Gilbert is an extra-large, one-bedroom, one-bath apartment with a den. 

“I love to go outside, so I originally wanted a patio,” says Martin. “Then we realized how quickly we can get outside from any apartment at Brooksby, and we liked the extra space in the den.”

One step at a time

Once the couple reserved an apartment, Phillips continued to walk them through the moving process.

“Laurie did a marvelous job,” says Martin. “She visited us in our house twice and helped us along the way.”

“Laurie is a wealth of information,” adds Marie. “She’s terrific about helping you take the next step. The steps themselves can seem daunting, but she gives you the tools you need to move forward.”

In Martin and Anne’s case, Phillips recommended they move to Brooksby before rallying their children to help empty the Malden house.

“That turned out to be the best approach,” says Marie. “My parents moved to Brooksby on July 7, 2016, and then my siblings and their spouses worked to clean out the house before we turned it over to the [real estate agent].”

Sold in a matter of days

A Brooksby-preferred real estate agent listed Martin and Anne’s home in mid-July. Phillips gave them the names of three preferred agents, and the couple chose one from her recommendations. The house was under contract within a few days.

Now that Martin and Anne are settled in their Brooksby apartment home, Marie says she and her siblings have noticed a new spring in their step.

“We realized that my parents were watching us live our lives,” she says. “Now they’re living their own lives.”

Martin relishes the convenience of Brooksby’s on-site amenities. Anne enjoys the single-story living.

“It’s so easy to have everything we need within walking distance,” says Martin. “The bank, the pharmacy, the medical center—it’s all right here. I thought I’d have a harder time letting go of our house, but after two weeks at Brooksby I realized that I absolutely love it here.”

With the transition behind them, Marie feels confident that her parents made the right decision.

“Senior living has new meaning at Brooksby Village,” says Marie. “This is the lifestyle I want for them. It’s the lifestyle I’d want for myself.”