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Your Tewksbury Today

People You Know: Ellen Eldridge of Peregrine's Landing at Tewksbury

Jun 11, 2015 10:33AM ● By Hollie Gonzalez
I drive by it just about every day.
Located at 2580 Main St., almost on the Tewksbury/Wilmington town line, Peregrine's Landing is situated just a bit back from the main road.  But what really is it?  I see the purple and orange balloons advertising tours, but I realize that I don't know much about it.  I am guessing that many of you don't either.
I decided to contact them and see if I could get a closer look and a little more information on what exactly Peregrine's Landing is.  When I pulled up, there was a nice gentleman outside waving at me and giving me a wonderful smile.  He pointed to the front door as if to guide my way.  I went inside and was so surprised to not only be greeted by a nice receptionist, but by the sounds of birds.
Yes, birds.
There is a beautiful custom made enclosure housing about a dozen small birds, maybe parakeets.  All fluttering about and chirping happily.  I look to my right and another lovely man tells me to go see the bunnies that the two resident rabbits just had.  Sure enough, there were four baby bunnies snuggling under their mother.
The atmosphere at Peregrine's is nothing short of inviting and comfortable.  At first I thought it looked like something from back in the day.  A lobby that has many table and chairs with a piano and record player, an area with couches and a TV and tin signs adorning the wall and a restaurant style dining area.
In walks Ellen Eldridge.  Bright, cheerful, bubbly.  She is the Community Relations Director.  As she leads me to her office, I still can't believe how inviting it is here.  I felt immediately comfortable and saw that many of the residents here appeared to feel the same.  Every one waved and smiled at me.  As we sat down in her office and began our conversation, Miley came strolling in to greet me too.
Who is Miley you ask?  Well he is the official Peregrine Landing Lab mix dog.  After a few sniffs and Miley's approval, we begin.
Hollie Gonzalez - What exactly is Peregrine's Landing?
Ellen Eldridge - It is an assisted living facility that specializes in memory care.  We work with all ages, not just seniors like many people traditionally think.  We help people who have short term and long term memory loss.  We offer a tremendous support system and have an outstanding staff.  We help people who have a hard time remembering, and work with them to remember the past and adjust comfortably to the present day.
HG - What do you offer residents in the way of health care and doctors?
EE - Well, we are an assisted living facility meaning there is nursing care from 7am to 11pm.  And they are on call from 11pm to 7am.  We have CNA's that live on the premises 24 hours a day.  All of our care givers are certified and have a lot of experience.  Our resident care director, Chris Weir has over 25 years in the nursing field.  We also offer a bus for transport to and from doctors appointments and any activities we may have planned.
HG - What does Peregrine offer for education and recreation for the residents?
EE - We are one of the only places that offer a chapel on site.  We have non-denominational religious programs, and a wonderful spiritual advisor named Paula.  We also have what is called Peregrine University.  It is a memory enhancing school within the facility.  We really try to encourage all of our residents to get involved in some way with the education and spiritual programs here.  It really helps with memory loss.  For example, if a person remembers that they used to hear their parents speak say French, from when they were younger, then we will try to have a class on the French language and we use it to try to stimulate their memory.  It is a great way to help them remember.  We have an on site restaurant that has breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The food is delicious here too.  We also take trips to the local malls, we have Bingo, and are in the process of installing an old school ice cream shoppe on site.  It will be complete with soda fountains and stools. 
HG - What should families know that might be considering placing a loved one here at Peregrine's Landing?
EE - Well first and foremost, they should be certain that an assisted living program is what they are really needing.  We offer to go to the persons home and give an assessment to determine if someone is ready for this type of program.  We make you aware of signs that you can look for or may have already seen.  It could be something like medication mis-management to something such as your loved one going to the supermarket they have been to a hundred times, then forgetting how to get back home.  We help families that have incurred a crisis and it may be a safety issue now.  We have to sit with the family members and talk about a persons history and find out what the stressors are in their loved ones life.  There are many aspects to assisted living.  Placing a loved one is one of the hardest things a family member may have to do.  We want the process to be easy and positive as well as comforting to not only the person making the decision, but to the person entering Peregrine's Landing as well.
HG - What is the difference between a nursing home and an assisted living facility?
EE - The care at a nursing home is at a higher equity and more restricted.  Our assisted living facility is largely based on your independence.  It is like any other apartment community.  Our residents can come and go as they please.  There are no curfews or restrictions on visitors.  We provide reminders to our residents and are here when they need our help remembering.
HG - How about the cost?
EE - The cost is tailored to that person's specific need and a care plan that encompasses all of that.  We offer tours so that you can come in and see exactly what we offer and what the rooms are like.  We also offer short term stays as well.  There are apartment rates from studios and suites.  Any one can call me for a tour at anytime, and visit our website for more information.
HG - What is it about Tewksbury that makes a good home for Peregrine's Landing?
EE - Our President Steve Bowman chose a great town.  It is the perfect community.  Location wise it is so close to 93 and 495, and offers easy access to so many stores in both Wilmington and Tewksbury.  Tewksbury has a great community too.
HG - Do you sponsor anything within the town?
EE - We are a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Elder Services of Merrimack Valley.  We would love to work more with the Tewksbury community.  Anyone can contact me to co-sponsor any Tewksbury event.  We would be happy to do it.
HG - Any upcoming events here at Peregrine's Landing?
EE -  We will be having a car show on June 28th from 11-3 and a tailgate party outside on the 26th with a BBQ and refreshments available to anyone who stops by.  If you need more information on any of the upcoming events, please call me at 978-657-0800.
HG - What do you want the people of Tewksbury to know about your facility?
EE- Well, for this question, I would like to defer to Joanne Keefe, our Resident Director.
Joanne Keefe - I want people to know four things.  1.) We are an assisted living community focusing on memory care. 2.) We definitely put an emphasis on spirituality. 3.) The staff here is extremely well trained.  And 4.) We are no longer the Pines or Emeritus.  I think that those prior names may have left a bad taste in some peoples mouth.  We are a completely new place.  Our facility is remarkably staffed and well trained.  We are clean and friendly and want your experience here with us to be one that completely excels above and beyond what you think of in an assisted living facility.  Your family is, and your loved ones are our top priority!
So that's it folks.  That is what Peregrine's Landing is, a warm inviting place to look into for your loved ones who may be needing memory care in a beautiful assisted living facility.  The birds, rabbits, staff and residents are all happy here, not to mention Miley.  As I make my way outside to see the freshly painted and delivered bus for the residents, I pass by the under construction ice cream shoppe.  I don't get to peak inside as it is not ready yet.  I might just have to come back with the kids to grab an old fashioned milkshake and reminisce with some of the residents. 
Quick 5 - Ellen Eldridge
Last thing I drank - Coffee
Favorite actress - Melissa McCarthy
Favorite Holiday - Christmas
Snakes or spiders - Snakes
Favorite vacation spot - Anywhere warm and tropical
(Hollie Gonzalez lives in Tewksbury with her husband and two children.  She is very passionate about her town.)
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