The Branches of Marlboro: Keeping Seniors Connected to What Matters

This news story by Bonnie Adams was originally published in the Community Advocate on October 1, 2019.

The Branches of Marlboro

For many seniors who are interested in downsizing or finding a new residence for the next stage of their lives, the choices can be overwhelming. There is a lot to consider –location, the physical space, what amenities are available, transportation to and from appointments and errands, and so much more. For those in the Marlborough area or family nearby, there is a wonderful new option – The Branches of Marlboro.

The new community, located at 421 Bolton St. (Route 85), will officially open in mid-November. The Branches of Marlboro is Waltham-based Benchmark’s 61st senior living community, 30th in Massachusetts and their first in the Metrowest region. The company, the largest senior living provider in New England, is in the midst of building a nearly identical community in Framingham as well, which is scheduled to open January, 2020.

And while the company itself is large, every one of its associates, from the leadership to the associates who work daily at each community, are invested 100 percent in every resident’s happiness, according to Kelly Arnao, senior executive director of The Branches communities. “We hire people who are ‘called to care’” she said. “We know our residents and are committed to helping them stay connected to who and what matters most in their lives.”

Arnao said one of the many things that sets Branches apart from other senior living communities is that it has a collaborative design intended to encourage social interaction. “This is a social model, not a medical model,” she said. “Our mission is to elevate the human connection. We ask our residents, ‘What do you want the next stage of your life to be like?’”

The team at each community routinely conducts discovery sessions and routinely talks to their residents, as well as their families, to determine what they like and, just as importantly, what they don’t. “We truly listen to them and design life experiences and care for each individual,” Arnao said.

The staff strives to connect residents not only to one another but also the outside community as well,” said Marie Vitale, programming director for The Branches of Marlboro. “We encourage them to share their talents and interests not only with each other, but also others in the greater communities we serve, such as school children, which is one of the many benefits of being situated in between the elementary, middle and high schools in Marlborough. Teaching other residents your skills as well as perhaps learning new ones yourself is really important.”

The new Marlborough community will feature 57 apartments accommodating 104 residents. The model is based on Benchmark’s The Branches of North Attleboro, an award-winning assisted living and memory care community which opened in 2017.

Apartments have custom-built bureaus, tables and counters that are designed to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. Bathrooms are also spacious. The community is comprised of apartments with flexible floor plans for a range of budgets—studios, one bedrooms and shared two bedrooms (each with a full sized bath) with a shared space entry in the middle and separate bedrooms for couples, relatives or roommates.

The Branches of Marlboro also has a memory care component designed for residents with Alzheimer’s, memory loss, or other forms of dementia. Using research-based programming, they help residents engage in physical, social, intellectual, emotional, purposeful and spiritual wellness.

A number of amenities will also be featured at the Marlborough site, including a spacious outdoor patio with farmer’s porch, outdoor fireplace, beauty salon, library, fitness center and bistro featuring all-day restaurant-style dining. A large family kitchen will allow residents to host special gatherings or just enjoy cooking for themselves.

The community will stress individuality with customized care plans providing assistance with daily living activities for those who need it, such as bathing or dressing, that also offer flexibility for changes a resident may encounter as they age or their health status changes.

“The biggest issue can sometimes be ‘fear of the unknown.’ Many times people are afraid – they have a preconceived image in their minds. Then when they see the possibilities they are excited,” Rob Guinard, director of community relations for The Branches of Marlboro, added.

Benchmark also provides a financial concierge who can help families navigate the different types of resources that may be available, including accessing veteran’s benefits and short-term bridge loans while waiting for a home to be sold or other assets to be freed up.

The Marlboro community is estimated to employ 100 people, ranging from directors to nursing and support staff.

“We are thrilled at the reception we have gotten from the greater Marlborough community already,” Vitale said. “Everyone has been so warm and welcoming. We can’t wait to become even more connected.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact the community at (508) 318-6837 or visit

The Branches of Marlboro