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​​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 me respect.”


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.”​

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