John Lewis’ passion for ministry through the Presbyterian Church in downtown Hamilton has led to a natural connection to Community First Solutions: many of his congregation live at Berkeley Square or Westover.

“They asked me to be on the board, and as it has grown, more and more church members are living here,” said John. “It was a natural fit, since I’m over here all the time anyway.”

His mother and father moved to the area in 2015, and John immediately knew where to recommend that they live; Margaret Lewis, John’s mother, still lives in an independent living neighborhood at Berkeley Square.

We were amazed by how quickly we got to know the neighbors: it was instant, with everybody taking care of everybody.

Margaret’s close friends, even years later, are only a few steps away in her neighborhood or a quick trip up to assisted living, and the community feel adds a ray of sunshine to ordinary daily life.

“There are so many bonds and friendships made in the independent community,” explained John. “When they graduate to assisted living, because they are so close, the friendships and relationships can still stay together. They go to lunch at the Coach House or go to a speaker or a movie, and they never lose that. They see each other at the town hall meetings and monthly dinners and holidays. Those kinds of events allow people to be next-door neighbors still.”

Margaret has made many happy memories since moving to Ohio, including celebrating her 100th birthday in Berkeley Square’s Theobald Hall, with almost 200 people in attendance. 

Behind the scenes, Margaret’s caregivers from Colonial at Home and other Community First services help her remain independent and give John great peace of mind.

I have daily help from Community First, the woman who works with me from Colonial at Home. She’s just a miracle. This year, she was named among the hundred most influential women in the city. We have a bond because we are both from the deep south. She comes with me two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon, she’s terrific.

The FLEET transportation makes it easy for Margaret to get where she needs to go, and John can take time from his workday to meet up with Margaret at appointments without worrying whether she has reliable transport. These and other services have created a range of ringing endorsements from John’s church community.

“The constant comment I get at church is ‘why didn’t I move there sooner?’” said John.

Margaret’s sense of humor is infectious, and she usually keeps those around her laughing along; it’s clear that she and John share an amazing bond, though she’s happy that he can also assist others at Berkeley Square and Westover.

“Everybody here ought to have a son right at their fingertips, but I can’t work that out for everyone,” said Margaret. “A minister is supposed to be like a son to all those who need it, I suppose.”

John is grateful for the team approach that assures him that Margaret never lacks care and companionship.

It provides real peace of mind to know that someone will be over there every day; everything is running and clean and meals are provided. If something doesn’t look right, they’ll let me know. You wouldn’t believe the stress they take off us. It’s such a comfort, I don’t know how I’d do it without it.

John and Margaret are a great example of how Community First Solutions provides the health and wellness resources that help families create great memories and spend more quality time together.