By Stacy Smith

It was a great adjustment, and a difficult time for Ms. Sarah “Sally” Scott, as she transitioned to life in a nursing home. She is a very independent person. She considers herself, “a little stubborn, and still full of life.”

Scott, age 83, made multiple failed attempts to return home to continue to live there with her husband, Randall Scott of 34 years. Several falls, difficulty finding dependable sitters, and the weight of her daughters’ worry resulted in their decision to make the best of her situation.

She has three children, two grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

“Today, I do not regret the decision to move to Westside Terrace Rehab First. As a married woman, being apart from the man I love added to my frustration. That anxiety was relieved when Randall decided to move into the nursing home with me. We discussed this at length during a Care Planning Conference with the staff. I remember feeling that we were going to be okay when Randall announced to the group that he would be happy anywhere as long as I was the first thing he saw in the morning and the last thing he would see at night,” said Sally Scott.

Scott now enjoys the peace of knowing that there is always someone to help as needed. She enjoys being able to share a room with her husband, enjoys being involved in daily activities, and enjoys attending church services, playing bingo, visiting other residents and making new residents feel welcome.

“I enjoy being an ambassador for life in the nursing home,” said Scott. “Living in the nursing home has helped me to learn patience, and to realize that it is okay to accept help. It has helped me to realize that my life is not over because I live in a nursing home. I have learned to be grateful that I am in a place where assistance is cheerfully provided.”

She attended college at Florida State University, and earned a nursing degree. Her first husband was in the military. As a nurse in a military family, Scott worked in many hospitals including in Germany, Texas, South Carolina, Florida, and Alabama.

“Many times, early in my career, I cared for soldiers who had ropes tied around their waists to keep their bodies intact until they could get to the hospital to get the help they needed,” explained Scott.

Ashley Parker, Social Services and Activity Director for Westside Terrace Rehab First, explained, “It was a difficult adjustment for Ms. Scott to realize that she needed more help than she was able to have in her home. Also, being apart was more than either she or her husband could bear. It has been more than two years now that the Scotts have lived at Westside Terrace. They are a beautiful couple, and a wonderful, welcoming example to other residents of love and of learning together to adapt to a change.”

“For many years, I worked as a nurse. Now, I am the one receiving care!” laughed Scott.

Editor’s note: This is the ninth story in a 10-part series about the finalists for the 2017 Ms. Alabama Nursing Home Pageant. On July 28, we’ll post a story about Ms. Woodland Village Rehab & Health Care Cleo McLeroy.

Stacy Smith, APR, is a freelance writer based in Birmingham, Alabama.

For more information about the pageant, click here.