Joseph and Bernice De Flora celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary a bit differently this year – practicing social distancing. With help from Christian Health Care Center (CHCC) team members, following New Jersey Department of Health regulations, they were able to connect in a special, albeit different way.
Joseph was raised in Lodi. Bernice grew up in Paterson. They met on a blind date arranged by one of her co-workers. Now the couple are both residents of CHCC in Wyckoff. Mr. De Flora, 91, lives at Heritage Manor East Nursing Home, CHCC’s memory-care neighborhood. Mrs. De Flora, 90, lives at Hillcrest, CHCC’s pre-assisted living community. The residences are just a short distance from each other.
“Our family is very happy that they are on the same campus,” says Janice Tuohy, one of the De Flora’s six children. “It’s comforting to know that they are physically close to one another.”
“CHCC is a unique community for couples with varied needs,” says Steve Dumke, LNHA, FACHE, Executive Vice President and COO of Christian Health Care Center. “We offer residence options for every level: independent living, pre-assisted living, assisted living, skilled nursing, special-care skilled nursing, and memory support. This enables couples like the De Floras to age in place together on the same campus. It greatly enhances quality of life for the seniors, and offers peace of mind for their families.”
At Hillcrest, residents have their own private studio, along with the benefit of three restaurant-style meals; safe, socially distant activities; and the security of 24-hour staff presence. At Heritage Manor East, residents benefit from skilled-nursing care; specialized, safe programming based on individual needs; and ample meal options.
Mrs. De Flora moved to CHCC a year ago following inpatient short-term rehabilitation. Her children recognized that Hillcrest’s supportive environment would be ideal for their mother.
“We live locally, so we were familiar with Christian Health Care Center,” Mrs. Tuohy says. “I visited other residences, but knew that Hillcrest would be perfect for mom. I like Hillcrest so much that I would move here!”
Mr. De Flora continued to live in their Waldwick house with assistance from an aide and his children, but the Navy veteran missed his wife. Soon, his own needs warranted a higher level of care, so he moved to Heritage Manor East.
To mark their anniversary, CHCC team members arranged for a socially distant celebration to ensure the couples health and safety. The festivity was complete with flowers, cake, congratulatory banners, and nostalgic music.
“I more than appreciate the party,” says Mr. De Flora, who sang along with Mario Lanza to “Because” as his bride appeared.
“Arranging this celebration for them was amazing!” Mrs. Tuohy says. “It reinforces that our parents are well-cared-for here.”