February 23, 2015
By Adam Raider
Masonicare earned its reputation as a leading provider of healthcare
and retirement living options for seniors by providing outstanding
service. But in creating a welcoming community at Ashlar Village in
Wallingford, a dedicated staff is aided by residents who look out for
one another, volunteer their time and talents, and are charitable
towards those less fortunate.
Lydia Scott might call that being a good neighbor. We call it part of the Masonicare Experience.
Now in her fourth year as a Villager, Lydia stays active with yoga
classes, singing in her church choir, and volunteering at a local
elementary school helping students.
A retired teacher who earned her teaching degree from Harvard, she
laughs as she remembers how she and her classmates would descend upon
the library of that prestigious institution of higher learning carrying
children’s books, and the perplexed expressions on the faces of people
who didn’t realize the books were required reading.
Lydia came to the profession later than most. She was in her 40s when
she got her first teaching job. Prior to that, she focused on raising
two sons and a daughter with her late husband of 52 years, Dick, a
journalist who worked at the New Haven Register.
“The history of the Masonic Home and Hospital, which is now
Masonicare Health Center, was one of the things I exposed the kids to
when I taught third grade,” she recalls. “We’d take a bus tour there and
all over Wallingford to see the buildings and places that were
important. I loved it, although maybe the kids were sometimes rolling
their eyes. When I taught special education, I was itinerant – I
traveled around from school to school. I had some rough kids over the
years. Some of them were always in the police blotter, but they were
very good with me. They’d always say hi to me in the hallway and showed
Lydia and Dick sold their Wallingford home many years ago and moved
to a condominium in town. Not long after Dick passed away in 2009, Lydia
decided to relocate to Ashlar Village.
She was well aware of the organization’s Masonic roots. Her father
had been chaplain of his lodge in Lime Rock, Rhode Island, and she
belonged to the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls. But she
chose Ashlar Village over other retirement communities in the area
because of its excellent reputation and because she already had many
friends who lived there or elsewhere on the Masonicare campus.
“I never looked anyplace else,” she says. “It didn’t interest me. I
used to get calls from a friend who lived at Ashlar Village almost every
week after Dick passed away. She’d say, ‘Lydia, you’ve got to get over
here. You’ll love it.’ And she was right. I tell everyone how wonderful
it is here.”
Lydia regularly visits friends at the independent living apartments
on campus as well as those who have transitioned to long-term care at
Masonicare Health Center. There, she gets to see firsthand how all of
residents’ needs are met, regardless of their financial situations.
The Masonic Charity Foundation of Connecticut, Masonicare’s
philanthropic affiliate, is pleased to count Lydia among its donors.
Through their gifts, The Foundation is able to provide for the greatest
needs of the residents and patients of Masonicare when no other funding
source is available.
“I believe in helping those who really need help,” she says. “That’s
always been my way. I give what I can because I know that our gifts to
The Foundation are helping those residents who are on Medicaid.”