Carol Zandstra and her husband had lived in their home in Highland for many years. “I call it a ‘kid house’ because it was just a fun place to raise a family. We had a two-story on a lake, with all our bedrooms upstairs. We had a lot of get-togethers and holidays there. It was a fun place to have kids.”
Fifteen years ago, long after their children had left home, Carol’s husband had open heart surgery, and then some years later, was diagnosed with leukemia. “It got hard to live there,” Carol says. “Bedrooms upstairs meant we had to install a chair to help him up the stairs. The bathtub was too difficult for him to safely step into. One day he said, ‘We can’t keep fixing this house for me.’ That’s why we came to see Park Place.”
They both loved the model apartment they saw during the contsruction. “He was raised on a farm, and he liked the openness of the neighborhood,” Carol says. Her husband chose the particular apartment because of the two-bedroom, two-bathroom layout, and their garage being right across the hallway, with a ramp that made getting to the car easier.
They planned to move in when Park Place opened, but Carol’s husband passed away before they could move in. She decided to keep the same apartment, and she has no regrets. Her grandkids and daughter have stayed overnight in the spare bedroom, and she still uses that garage right across the hall.
“Even now sometimes, I’ll lay in bed, and a thunderstorm will wake me up, and I think, if I was home, I’d be worried about my sump pump running down in the basement. If I was all alone in my big house, and if I fell down, no one would know until they came and found me. Here’s there’s cords you can pull. Here, you’re safe.”
Carol has also taken advantage of the Park Place Health & Wellness Center, conveniently located next door for rehabilitation and skilled nursing services, after a surgery last summer. “I knew that was where I wanted to go,” she says. “I have everything right where I need it.”
And she appreciates that Park Place keeps retirement living simple. “You don’t have to worry about anything here. I don’t have to worry about water bills, the sump pump not working,” she says. “I used to shovel snow. I used to have to walk to the road for my mail—now it’s right outside my door. The garbage is right down the hallway. Everything is part of my monthly fee.”
Carol just turned 80 and is still active at her local church and with her family. In fact, she has dinner with her great-grandchildren on Tuesdays, and drives where she wants to go. But when she wants to let someone else do the driving, she takes the Park Place bus to the store or to an outing.
“You can be as active as you want here. It’s the best of both worlds—living in your own home, and letting someone else do most of the work,” she says. “I truly enjoy it.”