Harriet Weiss’s Story

For many people, change is hard. Five years ago, Larry and Harriet Weiss made the life-changing decision to move to Rochester to be closer to family. With Larry’s health failing, their daughter Ilene urged them to consider moving. The Weiss’s made multiple trips back and forth from Yonkers to Rochester to look for a place to live locally. “My daughter Ilene mentioned she found the perfect place, but I didn’t buy it,” states Harriet, who lived in an apartment in Yonkers for over 40 years with Larry. “We had very high expectations, but when we visited we felt as if we were home.”

Shortly after Harriet and Larry settled into their new home in Chili, Larry’s Alzheimer’s worsened. “I always swore I would never put him in a [nursing] home,” says Harriet. However, Larry’s current health situation warranted a change in her thinking. With the help of her daughter, Harriet looked at a few nursing homes in the area before deciding on St. John’s Home. “The first thing that struck me when I got of the elevator was that there was no smell,” recalls Harriet. “It was very clean.”

Over the next several years, Harriet would often visit Larry on the Lilac neighborhood. “He received such great care,” says Harriet. With first hand experience of the caring and friendly staff, Harriet chose St. John’s for rehabilitation following her knee replacement in 2017. When Harriet fully recovered, she returned home, only to find herself driving to St. John’s every day to see her husband.

In October of 2018, Larry passed away. “After that, my life sort of went downhill – I didn’t realize that every day I was going to St. John’s to visit him,” says Harriet.

Harriet with Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Leslie Buzzell

When Harriet needed a second knee replacement in December 2018, she returned to St. John’s for rehabilitation. “I felt like I was going home,” explains Harriet. She spent 3 ½ weeks at St. John’s Home and received physical therapy and occupational therapy 5-6 days per week.  “I looked forward to Sundays,” Harriet says smiling. In between therapy sessions, Harriet was able to enjoy holiday activities such as cookie decorating, ugly sweater parties, trivia, happy hour, and more. “There was always plenty going on,” recalls Harriet.

After three weeks in rehab, Harriet moved back home to her apartment in Chili, where she was greeted by her cat Sherlock. “I really didn’t want to leave St. John’s,” explains Harriet. “Between the friendly staff, the people, and the food – it’s hard to pick just one thing that I will miss.” Harriet received in-home care (PT and OT) shortly after returning home. She has enjoyed gaining most of her independence back and looks forward to driving again. “Once the doctor gives me the okay, I’m outta here!”

As for Harriet’s days at St. John’s, they are far from over. She hopes to be well enough to drive again and has expressed interest in becoming a volunteer. “St. John’s has done so much for not only me, but Larry as well. I really want to return the favor,” concludes Harriet.