New Life in Assisted Living — one resident’s experience

Many people find that moving to a retirement or assisted living community gives them new opportunities, new freedoms. They expected “less,” and found more. The transformation can be amazing. What follows is the story of one woman’s experience when she moved in to Royal Atrium Inn, our assisted living community in Zeeland, Michigan:

I didn’t know who I was. I had started life as an only daughter. Then I was a sister. Then I was a student, and after high school I became a wife (for 70 years!). Motherhood followed, and grandmother-hood, and great grandmother-hood! For most of my life, my only title was “Mrs.”

Then my husband died, and I had to rediscover myself. What was my purpose for living? What are my likes and dislikes? What skills do I have? What activities do I enjoy?

My journey of self-discovery began with the road trip from South Carolina to Michigan. I felt like a five-year-old again! The winding road, uphill and down, felt like a roller coaster, and I was delighted. I hadn’t seen a cow or a horse for almost 15 years, but in Michigan they dotted the landscape. The good, black dirt and the beautiful farmland made me think of picking strawberries when I was a girl, and selling them at the roadside.

We finally reached Zeeland, and we pulled in to Royal Atrium Inn. The nursing aides made me feel right at home. The meals were full of fresh farm vegetables, followed by fresh baked pie. People called me by my first name, and it sounded like music to me. I felt young again!

I have been busy and happy since the first week here. I’ve watched sailboat races at the beach, had picnic lunches with my family, driven on a one-way bridge, and participated in a community fishing tournament! (In fact, my great-granddaughter won second prize for the second-longest fish!)

Last September, my family celebrated my 90th birthday, and I had two turkey legs. All through my growing-up years, the turkey legs had been set aside, saying, “Those are for Grandma.” Now they were for me!

In November, the snowy view from my bay window was so pretty, it made me want to go out and make snow angels.

In December, the “new me” bought a pink Christmas tree and placed it in the window. It stayed there until after New Year’s. My daughter and I attended a concert next door at Royal Park Place, my first concert. And my family helped me celebrate at the Royal Atrium Inn Christmas Party.

This past year I went to the Tulip Festival, the Kite Festival, and the Atlantic Ocean. Some of these were things I had never done before; others were things I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do again.

After a year here at Royal Atrium Inn, I am still discovering myself. There are so many ways to make my life exciting, and it’s fun to have my children and grandchildren discover me with me! I thank God for my beautiful family, His beautiful creation, and the beautiful opportunities that each new day brings. I love my new life at Royal Atrium Inn!

Want to give your parents new opportunities, new freedoms, new life? Contact the Providence Life Services community near you to start the process of exploration!

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