Years ago, the Brian and Bruce Boomsma family, along with the Lotton and Philippe families, donated 14 acres of land in St. John to Providence Life Services. Land was also donated for a Christian school, which became Crown Point Christian School, and for a church, with the dream that it would be the ideal area for intergenerational relationships, and to foster those relationships within the home, school, and family.
“We’ve always loved Providence,” Mariellen Boomsma says, “and my husband and I hoped that a senior community in Indiana would be a place our parents could live, a safe place in line with the style of care we’d seen at the other Providence communities.”
When the community broke ground in 2014, Mariellen’s parents, Millie and Jim Van Prooyen, were among the first to choose the style of apartment they wanted and put down a deposit to reserve a spot. But when the doors opened in 2016, Jim just wasn’t ready to move, so they stayed at their home in Schererville, a few blocks from Mariellen. The large family home was bigger than they needed, and a lot of work to keep up, but it also held emotional significance to all of them, and it was hard to leave.
Over the next few years, Millie saw many of her friends move in. Whenever Millie visited, she remarked on the fun programs and the caring staff, but even though she was ready to move, her husband wasn’t. Then, after Jim passed away in January, Millie knew what she wanted to do.
“One morning I woke up, and I just knew it was time. I called Mariellen and said, ‘Honey, I’m ready to move to Park Place.’ After that, everything fell into place.”
The very apartment Millie and her husband had hoped for was available, and in three weeks, Mariellen and her daughter had decorated and furnished the apartment, making it ready for Millie’s move. It’s a move that the family is thrilled about.
“It was a blessing to have a place that we could know that she was cared for and loved and safe, under the watchful eye of the staff here,” Mariellen says. “It was a relief that we wouldn’t have to worry about her falling or being lonely.”
“The stress is gone. I have so much peace here,” Millie says. “I love my apartment. It’s so warm and cozy. I feel so at home here. And I don’t have to cook dinner!”
Millie’s beautiful piano moved from her family home into the Social Room at Park Place, where she often plays for residents. She stays active and joins in on numerous activities: bingo, hymn sing, aerobic drumming, and much more.
“I’m impressed with the programs Park Place puts on every day,” she says. “They do such a wonderful job of keeping people interested, with so much to do. I’ve made so many friends here.”
Today, as Millie sits in her spacious apartment, decorated impeccably by her daughters and granddaughters, she reflects on the full circle that life has taken. “My granddaughter bought my house,” she says, “and that makes me so happy that the home that was such a special part of my family will still be a part of future family memories.”
Mariellen, Millie, and the rest of the family are an example of the bond of family, the strength of love, and the beauty of relationships that stretch beyond the brick-and-mortar walls of a house. “It just feels right.” Millie says. “I’m at home here, because Park Place is an extension of my family.”
Mariellen agrees. “My mom is so loved here at Park Place,” she says. “We’re all thrilled.”