Mary Jenkins has lived at Park Place of Elmhurst since 2018, and she has enjoyed an active and social lifestyle, both within and outside the retirement community. So when the pandemic forced stay-at-home orders in Illinois, and visiting restrictions within Park Place, Mary’s life changed radically.
“It was difficult,” she says. “All of a sudden, I was alone.”
Mary considered a move to her daughter’s home, but in the end, Mary declined. “I didn’t think it was a good idea,” she says. “I knew I’d be safest at Park Place. Now I look at the numbers of positive cases at other retirement communities, and among people my age, and I know that I made the right choice.”
She believes the management of Park Place has been committed to the residents’ health and safety. “Our Executive Director has done a superb job trying to keep us on an even keel,” she says, “and our Life Enrichment program keeps our brains and bodies active in creative ways. They’ve done everything possible to make us comfortable.”
Beyond a special television channel that broadcasts exercise channels, movies, messages from the Chaplain, and special entertainment and educational program, Mary has enjoyed surprise treats dropped off by life enrichment staff, the traveling activity cart filled with games, books, and puzzles, and spending time cultivating her personal garden plot. She has also learned how to use Zoom, which gives her the chance to attend weekly meetings with her fellow Brookfield Zoo volunteers, go to a baby shower, and to see family.
“Is it easy? No,” she says frankly. “But I can’t complain. There’s no place I’d rather be than here at Park Place during this pandemic.”