The Maplewood team has faced many challenges in our 70-plus years of caring for seniors. Working together to create a special and unique nursing home has been difficult but also deeply rewarding. Seeing our residents thrive brings immense joy; knowing we make a difference in their lives is powerful motivation for the work we do. It’s also what helped us get through difficult times in the past. Knowing we’ve already made it through a lot together helps us keep going when we face new challenges, like COVID-19. We know that the work is worth it,
and we know we have what it takes.
Doing Something New
The Maplewood began in 1947, at a time when seniors did not have adequate choices for long-term care. They needed
somewhere they could both live and receive care. Hospitals were the default way to receive medical care, but they were
geared more towards short, post-surgery stays. Hospitals lacked the space to house seniors as they aged, especially when
care was needed over the course of months or years.
The Maplewood was created to solve that problem. Our vision was to offer seniors a place meant for living, one that provided more than just medical care. We wanted our residents to feel at home. We also needed to ensure that families would feel welcome when they visited, since family is such an important part of feeling at home.
Responding to Change
The Maplewood’s vision for senior living faced challenges almost immediately. The introduction of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, both of
which aimed to help seniors pay for care, changed the dynamic of the whole nursing industry. The programs were originally intended to offer
financial assistance, but they ended up subtly shifting the balance of the senior care ecosystem. Many organizations were faced with a new question. Instead of asking “what type of care does this person need or want?” there was immense pressure to ask “what type of care will Medicare and Medicaid pay for?” instead.
That challenged The Maplewood. The vision had been to care for the elderly, not to adopt someone else’s priorities. While most facilities shifted to a model driven by regulation, Maplewood stayed with a service model that is regulation compliant but driven by family and resident needs. It felt risky not following the crowd, but we knew this was the only way to achieve the dream we had been chasing for the past 20 years. The result was beyond what we had dared to hope: residents and families showed immense support. They felt at home at Maplewood and recommended it to friends, neighbors, coworkers, and acquaintances. Our reputation for doing things differently started to grow.
Building on the Vision
That support energized us and renewed our focus on the original vision. It also raised a question: why should nursing homes look like hospitals? Much of the discomfort that someone encountered when they moved from their home to a nursing home came from the fact that the nursing homes at the time were simply not that comfortable. We saw that The Maplewood could better serve seniors by making their environment feel more inviting and pleasant.
That inspiration lead to extensive remodeling and rebuilding in the 1970s. The Maplewood introduced private rooms (becoming the first nursing home to do so), dramatically increased the kitchen and dining areas, and created a dedicated physical therapy unit. These changes were only the first of many to come, but they set the tone of the organization. Welcoming rooms, delicious food, and plenty of fitness options made us stand out from the more impersonal facilities of some other nursing homes. More importantly, those amenities gave residents what they wanted: an inviting place to live.
The Maplewood has weathered plenty of storms. What kept us on course was a simple promise: residents come first. That promise is echoed in our “Distinctly Different” motto; we want to stand out by working harder and smarter to care for the seniors who call Maplewood home. When someone walks into the building, hears about us from a friend, or discovers our website, we want them to know that their needs will be our priority.
The Maplewood vision kept us focused, helped us navigate difficult decisions, and continually inspires us to look ahead to future growth. The way we respond to challenges—seeing them as opportunities to improve how we care for our residents—keeps us prepared for whatever
comes our way. Putting your loved ones first is in our DNA.