Pat and Lydia were two of Strode’s earliest residents. The couple, who met in 1995 and were officially married in 2009, moved into independent living in August of 2017. However, just three years later, Lydia would lose her long battle with lung cancer.
“It was difficult,” Pat recalls. “We were in the midst of COVID lockdown, so it was a double whammy having a very sick partner and not being able to get together with people or have people come to visit me.”
At the time, Pat thought she’d have to get by on her own. But she quickly realized that wouldn’t be the case. Gifford gave her gift boxes and even as lockdown continued, members of the Strode community showed their compassion for Pat during that difficult time.
“I felt very well cared for,” Pat said. “People left lovely notes and residents left things at the door. I’d open the door and there was a bottle of wine sitting there for me.”
Once restrictions were loosened, Pat found comfort and an escape in the activities at Strode, like jewelry making and apple cider pressing.
“I do like to stay busy,” Pat said. “I cared for my spouse for a long time before she died. I think part of my grief process has been to stay busy and to keep active. I want to feel like I’m a responsible citizen of this community.”
The former dean of academic affairs at Vermont Technical College particularly looks forward to daily social hour and lectures from Gifford’s providers. She recently attended an “Ask a Chiropractor” session with Dr. Michael Chamberland.
“It helps us to feel well cared for and it helps us to think about our future and realize we still do have a future,” Pat said.
And although Pat’s future will continue without her beloved spouse, her investment nearly five years ago to move into Strode Independent Living is paying dividends.
“We’re a pretty comfortable community of people who like to talk to each other,” Pat said. “I think I would have had a much harder time had I been alone in our home.”