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H E L P I N G F A M I L I E S

Even after her mother, Mary Mittell, lost the

ability to speak, Janet (Jan) Kinasewich knew

Mary was happy at Chilton House.

The preceding years had been difficult. Mary

was in her mid-80s, lived alone, and began having

problems with her memory and day-to-day tasks.

No matter what Jan and her brother tried, Mary’s

condition continued deteriorating. Jan said,

“She was so unhappy, it was agony to see.”

Jan moved her mother to Chilton House. Jan

was well acquainted with the residence and its

staff. She began volunteering for the Hospice

of Cambridge Development Committee in the

early 1990s raising funds in support of care for

the terminally ill at Chilton House and the

community.

Mary had a room overlooking the garden. She

determined her own schedule — sleeping late,

having breakfast, or napping when she wanted.

The home is geared to patients, not the staff

or the institution,” said Jan.

Mary particularly enjoyed being in the living

room, the center of social activity at Chilton.

She could see people coming and going and

be with staff, volunteers, and other patients.

Jan recalled parties in the evenings, visits from

Mary’s grandchildren, and cookouts organized

by a volunteer. Jan said, “The quality of

community was so wonderful.”

The homelike environment and extraordinary

care from the staff and volunteers were just

what Mary needed. She thrived at Chilton

because the staff, said Jan, “think far beyond

their job descriptions. They think about the

person and what the person needs.” Even

when Mary could no longer speak, she would

watch the activity and smile.

Mary’s time at Chilton, said Jan, were the

“happiest months of her life in her last five

years by far.”

JanetKinasewich

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