The Branches: Keeping Seniors Connected To What Matters Most
This story was originally published in the Oct. 8 edition of the Framingham Patch.
The Branches of Framingham is a Benchmark community living experience for seniors that’s presently being built on Route 30 in Framingham with convenient access to the Mass Pike. The community is committed to keeping residents, their family members and associates connected to who and what matter most in their lives. They achieve these goals through their “commitment to elevating human connection,” a collaborative design and flexible floor plans that encourage social interaction.
Mohammed Ali, associate executive director of The Branches of Framingham, tells Patch more about the community’s unique approach to assisted living and memory care in this exclusive Patch one-on-one:
Patch: How long have you been doing business in town or how long has the organization you represent been around in the community?
Ali: Our parent company, Benchmark, is based in Waltham and has been building and managing senior living communities in Massachusetts and other parts of the Northeast for over 22 years. We have 28 open communities in Massachusetts, however, we are fairly new to the Metrowest area. Our sister community, The Branches of Marlboro, is slated to open next month. The Branches community living experience is based on an award-winning model that began two years ago in North Attleboro.
Patch: What attracted you to the line of work you’re in, and how did you get started?
Ali: I was raised in a culture where large extended families are valued and having the utmost respect for older people is taught and stressed from a very young age. Taking care of one’s parents and grandparents is not only expected, but it’s the norm. When I was in college working for a company that provided transportation services for seniors, I was struggling with where to focus my career. It was then that a lightbulb went off and I saw that serving seniors was my calling.
Patch: If you had to sum up your business mission to a stranger in five words, what would those words be?
Ali: Keeping seniors connected to what matters.
Patch: What’s the biggest challenge or most difficult moment you’ve faced in your job?
Ali: I develop very close relationships with residents and their families as if they are an extension of my own. When they pass or their circumstances change, that can be really hard. Suddenly, someone who has been such a big part of your life is no longer there and you miss the little things that made them who they are and what they brought to your own life and to the community as a whole.
Patch: What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Ali: Whether it’s seeing a resident enjoy a program or interacting with others, I’m most satisfied when I see our residents engaged in our community, taking advantage of everything we have to offer and seeing them living life, growing, learning and pursuing the things they are passionate about. The Branches offers endless possibilities and being able to provide the opportunity for our residents to explore them is what gets me out of bed every day.
Patch: How would you say your business or organization distinguishes itself from the others?
Ali: Our associates are called to care for our residents and keep them connected to who and what matters most in their lives. We believe it is our calling to make sure our resident’s next chapter is their best one by providing not just a means for them to age in place, but a vehicle for them to pursue the things they’ve always wanted to. Whether it’s learning a new skill, taking up a new hobby or reconnecting with a long lost relative, we believe it is our calling to make their dreams a reality. We are excited for people to learn more at our Welcome Center!
Patch: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given when it comes to success?
Ali: Socrates said, “The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.” I’ve always come back to this throughout my life and I’m especially reminded of it now. At The Branches we are redefining the aging experience for seniors and their families.
Patch: Are there any new projects or endeavors you’re working on that you’re extra excited about?
Ali: We are excited to unveil our entire community early next year where we’ll be offering assisted living and secure memory care. Services and amenities like all-day, restaurant-style dining, individualized care for those who need it, a beauty salon, fitness center and spacious outdoor patios are just a few of the many things we’ll be offering, EOEA certification pending.
Patch: Do you have any events coming up in your community?
Ali: This month we are excited to be giving people one of the first sneak peaks of our community, which is presently under construction. Every Saturday this month we are offering an open house at our Welcome Center from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Those who join us can take home a delicious pie and learn about our Charter Club program featuring special incentives.
Patch: How can Patch readers learn more about your work and business?
The Branches of Framingham