This article was written by Jonathan Dame, Daily News Staff on August 3, 2017.
SUDBURY – It took five scouts three hours.
They dug a cylindrical hole two feet deep. They implanted and firmed a metal pole, first with rope and ultimately with concrete, and dirt, and they planted three Miss Ruby butterfly bushes in a half-circle around the perimeter.
Hopefully, a family of purple martin swallows will one day appreciate their labor. Hopkinton’s Austin Marques, 16, and four fellow Boy Scouts installed a birdhouse in front of Orchard Hill Assisted Living in Sudbury on Thursday.
Nearly two dozen seniors ate palmed-sized vanilla and chocolate cupcakes and drank Stars and Stripes strawberry lemonade as the scouts hoisted the birdhouse 12 feet into the air.
“I can hardly wait!” said 89-year-old Orchard Hill resident Norma Gorman. “I’m praying to see a bird, just one even, to go in there. I think that’s awesome, don’t you?”
“I’ve got my camera in here,” she said. “I’m going to watch that like a hawk to make sure they don’t move in without me watching.”
Marques installed the birdhouse as his Eagle Scout project. After Thursday’s event, he still needs to fill out paperwork, finish his personal fitness badge, and make a presentation to a Scout review board.
In June, Marques spent a day painting different, smaller birdhouses with Orchard Hill residents, for an art installation. He later returned and gave a presentation about his project and the bird he hopes it will attract: purple martins.
The birdhouse has three decks and two sides, seemingly able to house up to 18 birds. “That’s a mini-manse,” Gorman said. The birdhouse sat in the Marques family’s living room for two weeks as they slowly assembled it.
Orchard Hill resident John Edgar, 86, formerly of Stow, was curious how much the birdhouse weighed.
“I asked him, I said, ’How heavy is that?” Edgar said. “And he said, ‘It’s only five pounds.’ I couldn’t believe it! Of course, it’s all aluminum. Yeah, very interesting.”
Dan Marques, Austin’s dad, became an Eagle Scout himself in 1986, after he cleared a path and built a bridge over a small stream near Lake Whitehall in Hopkinton. He enrolled his son in cub scouts at age 7.
“It’s impressive to see his leadership with directing his peers, which is always a difficult thing to do,” Dan Marques said. “It’s gratifying for me to see him pull it all together.”
On Thursday, Austin Marques had the help of scouts Cameron Marques, 13, and Carter Marques, 12, of Shrewsbury, and Ethan Kramer, 16, and Aiden Scannevin, 14, of Hopkinton.
“This one seemed interesting because it was a little bit different,” Austin Marques said of his Eagle Scout project. “And it really helps senior citizens, it really impacts them more.”
Orchard Hill resident Rhoda Spangler, 79, is looking forward to spring 2018.
“I hope to see the birds, I really do,” Spangler said. “And the butterfly bushes, maybe we’ll see some butterflies too. It will be even nicer.”
Jonathan Dame can be reached at 508-626-3919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DameReports
There are approximately 835,000 Americans residing in Assisted Living Communities nationwide. The majority of these residents are over the age of 85 and are outliving the average life expectancy in the United States of 78. In Massachusetts, 59 % of these Assisted Living residents are over the age of 85 and Assisted Living Communities account for $61,000,000 in state/local and $125,000,000 in federal tax revenues. Currently, there are over 300 Assisted Living providers servicing 13,600 residents in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Generally, seniors and their families, choose Assisted Living due to a need that can no longer be safely met at home. The primary need for choosing a community is for help with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s); bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting, transferring and eating. Not only do these Communities provide much needed ADL help, they are also a source of socialization and nutritional consistency. Most Communities provide care coordination as well, often enlisting the help of partners to enhance services to their Residents. It is not unusual for Communities to partner with visiting nurses, occupational and physical therapies, podiatry, pharmacy, counseling, dental, medical transportation, hospice and primary care services on site, making Assisted Living attractive to families who may not be local enough to manage the ongoing medical needs of their loved ones. Typical services that Assisted Living Communities do provide are: 24-hour supervision and assistance, exercise and wellness programs, housekeeping, maintenance, meals, medication management, transportation and personal care services for ADL’s. Cost should also be a consideration in choosing an Assisted Living; the average cost in the metropolitan region of Boston, is $6,200 per month. Residents can offset the cost of Assisted Living utilizing Veteran’s Benefits, Long Term Care Insurance, Pensions and Investments. When researching Communities, ask about “Affordable” options and programs in which they participate and you may qualify. For more resources about Massachusetts Assisted Living: http://www.mass-ala.org/ and National information https://www.ahcancal.org.
For more information about Assisted Living or Affordable Programs at Orchard Hill, contact Jennifer Belesi, Marketing Director of Orchard Hill in Sudbury at (978) 218-3010 or visit: www.orchard-hill.com.
Jennifer Belesi, Marketing Director at Orchard Hill, attended the 37th Annual Senior Fair (Press Release), sponsored by Senator Jamie Eldridge, held at Assabet Valley Technical High School in Marlborough, Massachusetts. The goal of the Senior Conference is to provide seniors with a day of information, health screenings, workshops, lunch and entertainment. It was another successful event with over 500 seniors in attendance! The annual conference has been a tradition in the Middlesex and Worcester District since 1980, and has been hosted by predecessors of Senator Eldridge’s, such as former Congressman Chet Atkins, former Governor Paul Cellucci, former Secretary of Environmental Affairs Robert Durand, and former State Senator Pam Resor. The conference featured a variety of interactive workshops that covered a wide scope of topics such as health care, financial planning, fitness activities, nutrition tips, assisted and independent living.