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Bruce & Virginia Douglas: Safety, Luxury, & Comfort at Grand Oaks
Bruce Douglas’ wife, Virginia, moved to Grand Oaks during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the summer of 2020. The couple had researched assisted living communities anticipating that they would want to move into one in the future. Then, Virginia had a midnight emergency, which turned out to be a life-threatening infection. She was rushed to the hospital and eventually discharged into a rehabilitation facility. Bruce needed to find an assisted living facility with greater urgency and took another look at Grand Oaks Assisted Living.
Virginia’s infection caused her to deteriorate rapidly. Once the nursing directors at Grand Oaks assessed her, they recommended the Oasis Memory Care neighborhood. Bruce says, “The reasonableness of that decision on Grand Oaks’ part was a good decision.” He talked with the Director of Nursing at Oasis Monique Simpkins, RN, and met some of the Oasis team. They assured him that he could always reach out with his concerns and count on their responsiveness.
A scientist by training, Bruce had previously completed a detailed spreadsheet weighing the advantages and negatives between 11 area assisted living communities. Before she needed memory care, the couple’s top criteria included covered parking, allowing dogs, direct access to high-quality medical care at Sibley Memorial Hospital, and a place close to their home. They had lived in their house in the Palisades area of Washington, D.C., and in the nearby Glen Echo Heights area of Maryland since 1968, and Grand Oaks is less than three miles away. While recovering at a rehab facility, quality and access to advanced medical care were Bruce’s main criteria for his wife’s new home.
Bruce says, “The overwhelming advantage of Grand Oaks is that everything is there. You can go continuously from Grand Oaks to the big, new medical buildings. You have access to Hopkins Medicine right there on campus without ever stepping away, and that’s fantastic!” With the Sibley Emergency Department just minutes away on the same campus as Grand Oaks, Bruce adds, “The medical care situation there is the best.”
He says Sibley Memorial Hospital’s state-of-the-art medical campus was among the strongest factors for ultimately selecting Grand Oaks. Bruce appreciated the Medical Building with its physician offices, outpatient surgery center, and expanded imaging centers, as well as the Main Hospital providing access to the medical specialists and advanced technologies of Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. Bruce recognized that Johns Hopkins and Grand Oaks are known as leaders in infection prevention. Given his wife’s medical condition, this expertise in keeping her safe gave him the reassurance he needed.
Memory care at Grand Oaks offers private studio apartments with in-suite bathrooms, large, and flat-screen TVs. Many have large windows facing botanical outdoor courtyards. To see Virginia’s studio in Oasis is to realize how much her beloved collies played a role in her heart. Bruce filled her room with photos of their beloved collies.
“We had five of them over 47 years, and Virginia was a great collie fancier,” Bruce says. Collies played a significant role in her life personally and through charity work. For many years, Virginia participated in Pets on Wheels, a Montgomery County program that brings dogs to nursing homes and to people, who miss their dogs. She also organized paper-shredding drives as fundraising events for the Clara Barton Community Center.
A retiree of the federal government, Virginia held many important jobs in the General Accounting Office and the Department of Health and Human Services. The photo of Virginia and Socks, Chelsea Clinton’s cat, hints at her final volunteer activity in the federal government. She worked in the Clinton White House after retiring to help with the sorting, following up, and answering of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s mail.
Bruce appreciates the caring staff of the Oasis memory care neighborhood. He commends their dedication and regularly relies on them to help facilitate phone calls with his wife because she forgets to put her hearing aids in before phone calls. Bruce found the in-house billing and finance office at Grand Oaks to be convenient and responsive, too. “Fema Watson Brown in the finance office—I can send her an email and within an hour get a response back with a problem solved.”
Close access to experienced medical professionals of Sibley and efficient coordination of medical appointments through the Grand Oaks Wellness Office became crucial when Virginia needed extensive dental surgery this past winter. She saw one of the dentists, who practices in the Sibley Medical Building, and had her problem solved in two days. “The dentist there is treating elderly people, and he is very knowledgeable,” Bruce praises. His wife’s experience reinforced his belief that moving to Grand Oaks was the right decision. He summarized that residents’ access to medical care is “not equal to anywhere.”
Best-in-class medical care, skilled, experienced, and caring staff, proximity to home, and patient safety were the top reasons that Bruce selected Grand Oaks as Virginia’s new home.