SPECIAL COVERAGE ON THE CORONAVIRUS  

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New Assisted Living Facility Opens In South Hingham

By Hingham Current Staff, Posted: July 22, 2020 

The Residence at Penniman Hill has opened their doors, and residents have begun moving in. The new assisted living facility, which is located at the site of the old Penniman Hill Farm on Whiting Street in South Hingham, had initially planned on opening in April; however, the onset of COVID caused delays as officials at the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA), the state agency that oversees senior care, worked to navigate the crisis and set guidelines.

In early March, an email was sent out to future residents informing them that staff at Penniman had begun moving into the new office space. Residents began reserving move-in slots and were told to "be on the lookout for information with regard to the global virus situation." Executive Director Jean Norte provided assurances. "We want to keep you well-informed and be sure that you know we are taking EVERY precaution to keep our residents & associates safe and protect our community," she said. A week later, Penniman announced that they had made a difficult decision. "It is with great disappointment report that due to current conditions and state of emergency declared by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we've been forced to delay the opening of our community," said Norte. "Moreover, our care professionals believe that introducing people who have been in many different and in some cases, uncontrolled environments under one roof -- with the additional contact with movers and the myriad people involved in opening a new building -- would be unwise."

Communication continued throughout the months of April, May and June, both by phone and email. LCB Senior Living, LLC, the owners of Penniman, even created a video as a tribute to employees in their other locations who were navigating the situation and "transforming it into something beautiful." "It's what they do every day, regardless of the circumstances," LCB said in an email, "but in the context of this crisis, it becomes something wholly different; something that many of us are in awe of." Other videos, like a virtual tour showing the inside of the "Reflections" memory care unit that was specifically designed for memory-impaired adults, were also shared with future residents.

The news that move-ins would begin came in early July. Initially, move-in paperwork and physicians' clearance forms were all that was required; however, in light of COVID, residents are now expected to provide 14 days of temperature readings and proof of a negative COVID test. A moving company has been identified as the only one that will be allowed to enter the building.

Residents began moving in on Monday, July 13th with time slots available on Monday through Thursday at either 10:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. Penniman is the third assisted living facility located in Hingham. Both Bridges by Epoch and Allerton House are located in North Hingham along the route 3A corridor.

Kristen Arute can be reached at kristen@hinghamcurrent.com.