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Coffee and conversation: Volunteers connect with residents at Providence of Zeeland

ZEELAND, Mich. (August 2015) — Ed and Hester Berghorst have been coming to the Providence of Zeeland coffee shop every Wednesday for more than eight years. They don’t make the trip just for their afternoon cup of joe — they volunteer, serving coffee and doughnuts to residents and visitors. But mostly, they take the time to chat with old friends and new faces alike. “It’s something to do, and we like it,” Ed said. “We like meeting the people.” Ed has lived in Zeeland all his life, and Hester is from next-door Holland. Lifelong friends and some family members of theirs have gone through Providence. In fact, Ed’s brother and sister-in-law were residents when Hester first started volunteering her time at the coffee shop. “The Berghorsts are very sweet and loving individuals,” said Julie Hutton, Life Enrichment Director. “They are the same age as our residents and are going through similar health issues. This allows them to connect with our residents on a whole different level. They are absolutely a blessing to our home.” The coffee shop at Providence is open from 2-4 p.m. each weekday, manned by different volunteers. “Volunteers are extremely valuable to our residents and our home,” […]

Amphicar makes a splash for Royal Park Place residents

ZEELAND, Mich. (July 2015) — She thought she was going for a boat ride, so Corry Hoekstra was a little surprised when her friends directed her into a car. She figured out her mix-up when the car drove straight across the lawn — and into Lake Macatawa. Hoekstra was riding in an Amphicar, which can be driven on land and in the water. It’s the only vehicle for which you need both auto and boat registration. “I thought it was a boat ride, and I was really excited about it,” Hoekstra said. “When we got there, I only saw a beautiful little car. But we drove it right into the lake! We could put our hands in the water; it was so much fun.” A group of fast friends The amphibious vehicle is owned by Ed Koops of Holland. His sister, Joyce Sluiter, wanted friends from her retirement community, Royal Park Place in Zeeland, to experience a ride in the unusual car. She mentioned the possibility to Hoekstra and two other women, Gert Gruppen, and Jean Sneller. It wasn’t the first time they had planned an outing together. “We’ve been friends since I moved in, a year and a half ago […]

Donation helps resident blossom at Emerald Meadows

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (July 2015) — Beautiful flowers have been blooming all summer at Emerald Meadows, thanks to a generous donation from Bos Greenhouse and Farms. Cheryl Edge, a foster daughter of Dorothy and the late Bill Bos, Sr., lives at the community. Before he passed away, Bos, Sr., told the family to give Edge – who has been diagnosed with dementia — anything she wanted. And since she had grown up around the flowers and loved the farm, the family decided it would be good for her to see something familiar. “We thought it would be good therapy for Cheryl,” said Gerald Mercer, whose wife, Deb, was also a foster daughter in the Bos family. “We thought it would be good for the other residents who enjoy flowers, too — it brightens their day.” Last year, it was Emerald Meadows staff members who filled the grounds with flowers, but this year, they left the job in the capable hands of the Bos and Mercer families. Gerald and his sisters did much of the planting, using more than 25 flats of donated flowers, in all colors and varieties. This was not the first donation Emerald Meadows received from Bos Greenhouse — they also provided […]

Opening soon — affordable senior housing at Arbor Place of Lisle

LISLE, Ill. (July 2015) — Momentum is building for the planned opening of Arbor Place of Lisle: the structure is now fully enclosed, work has begun on building finishes inside and out, and leasing has officially kicked off for the 80-unit, age-restricted, affordable senior living community being developed by Providence and Ryan Companies US, Inc. Arbor Place is expected to start welcoming residents in August. “We are passionate about providing quality senior housing to all who need it, regardless of income,” said Providence CFO, Bill De Young. The development is the second project for the Providence-Ryan partnership; they also teamed up to build Thomas Place Orland Park, a similar affordable senior living community that was completed in 2013. Arbor Place of Lisle comprises 60 one-bedroom apartments and 20 two-bedroom apartments. Each includes a bathroom, a full-sized kitchen with modern cabinetry and appliances, window treatments and walk-in closets. Many of the units also will include balconies. All apartments have affordable rents, and heat is included in the price. The units are also being equipped with an above-average features-and-amenities package. Lease applications for Arbor Place are now being accepted. For more information about Arbor Place of Lisle or to fill out an […]

Veterans honored on trip to capital

ZEELAND, Mich., and HOMER GLEN, Ill. (July 2015) — Two Providence Life Services residents recently traveled on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization that flies veterans to see the war memorials built in their honor. Read about the veterans’ experiences below. Elmer Witte Elmer Witte, a 92-year old resident of Victorian Village in Homer Glen, Ill., was a B-29 bomber in World War II. His daughter first mentioned the honor flight to him, and encouraged him to go on the one-day visit to the nation’s capital. But for Elmer, the highlight of the trip didn’t come in Washington, D.C., — it was in nearby Chantilly, Virginia. That’s where he saw the Enola Gay, which is on display at the World War II Aviation exhibition station at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Elmer had seen the aircraft before — on Tinian in August of 1945. He was driving a gunner around the island in a Jeep when they came upon the Enola Gay — and something mysterious near it, covered and guarded by military police. “I joked to the gunner that they must have gotten a shipment of booze,” Elmer said. “I had no idea they had the atom bomb — it was the day before they dropped it.” […]