We’re The Maplewood, a family-owned, long-term nursing facility in Webster, NY.
Our story begins in 1947, when Thomas and Johanna Chambery opened the doors to a new kind of care facility — what people called a nursing home.
Nursing homes, common today, were an attempt to solve a pressing society-wide problem. The nation was searching for a way to meet the medical needs of its impoverished elderly. But, it had to also relieve pressure on hospitals, which were ill equipped to provide the long-term care needs for these people in crisis.
Thomas and Johanna had a vision. They would create a place like no other; a home imbued with the love and care of family that could also meet the clinical needs of the elderly. Now, over 70 years later, that young couple’s hopeful vision has blossomed into something special — the Maplewood.
As we’ve labored through the years to create a place for the elderly that offers the best living experience in our region, our society has continued to struggle with the question of what to do about the millions of seniors that need care.
In 1965 the federal government attempted to address what it saw as the problem by instituting Medicare and Medicaid. Every decade since the implementation of these two programs has brought significant changes to the plans, giving each broader scope and increased reach.
The consequences for nursing homes have been remarkable. What started as a movement by private citizens to convert beautiful old homes into intimate care facilities, has evolved into the large institutional-style nursing homes all too common today.
For most, nursing homes are an unsatisfactory option. They’ve come to represent the shortcomings of our health care system and have become a key reason that we fear aging.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with the idea of a nursing home, we believe that the typical nursing home has become a solution to the wrong problem.
Communities across the country started by trying to care for their impoverished elderly. Over time that expanded to include more people with a greater diversity of issues. This culminated in the sweeping legislation of Medicare and Medicaid and resulted in a bureaucratic, impersonal, and institutional approach to elder care.
While the nation was swept along by government intervention, the Maplewood decided to forge a different path. With each change to Medicare and Medicaid we doubled down on serving the needs of individuals. For example, since the inception of nursing homes, all residents lived in hospital-style wards.
We redesigned our resident accommodations in the 1970s, becoming the only nursing home at the time to offer the option of private rooms. We also transformed the way meals were served by doubling and redesigning our kitchen space while significantly expanding our dining areas to offer a more home-style approach to meals. We even added a dedicated physical therapy unit to actively enhance our residents’ wellbeing.
It’s been almost 50 years since we did those things and the nursing home industry is just starting to embrace these simple ideas.
We haven’t stopped making dramatic changes. We’ve implemented improvements every year since, some minor and others major, to continually enhance the ways we serve those in our care. More recently, in 2010, we transitioned 100% of our rooms to private residences, becoming the only fully-private nursing home in our region — something that’s unheard of in our profession.
Why do we do these things?
We’re convinced that the government and nursing home industry approach is misguided. Where they see statistics and categories of problems, we see mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives.
We see people.
And, when you see people, you just have to answer one simple question — the same question that’s asked over and over by the spouses, sons, and daughters of our community:
How can the person I love enjoy the best life possible?
We know from experience that when we answer that simple question, everything else falls into place. To us it’s not a problem to solve, it’s an opportunity — an opportunity to make someone’s life better, to strengthen our community by serving its families, and in some small way to make the world a kinder, happier place. That’s what gets us going each morning and what motivates us to give our best every day. It’s also why we’ve designed the Maplewood for living.
Every single aspect of the Maplewood has been built with our residents’ lives at the center. Whether it’s our expansive private rooms, gourmet menu, highly-trained and caring staff, luxurious facility, concierge service, discrete transportation, or innovative care platform, everything we do is to designed to give our residents the best life possible.
We’re working every day to meet the needs of the whole person and to liberate them from limitations. Our philosophy is different, our model is different, and our facility is different because we don’t see a problem. We see people.
We’re always delighted by the reaction of a family that’s just discovered us — there’s nothing more satisfying than witnessing the sense of relief that washes over them as they finally find the right answer.
We imagine a world where every senior is living their life to its fullest. This isn’t just a dream — it’s what every single family member wants for their loved one. We know it’s possible because we see it come true every day. We’re proud to make a difference in our small part of the world, and to do our part in making the dream a reality.