Helen Maurer moved to Park Place of Elmhurst in 2019. It was the perfect place for someone as strong and independent as Helen to simplify her life a bit, while still allowing her to enjoy the hobbies she loves: gardening, swimming, and painting. Linda Korbus, her daughter and a retired teacher, visited often, getting to know the campus and falling in love with the people.
Then the pandemic hit, and everything changed.
“I am so, so thankful for how Park Place is handling safety,” Linda says. “But this was such a change. One minute I’m there with my mom at the St. Patrick’s Day party, and the next minute it seemed like we were all told to shelter in place. It was just really sad. I was desperate to do something, but I didn’t know what that ‘something’ was.”
Linda continued to check in with her mom and looked for ways to make something good come from this pandemic. That sense of pur- pose started when a staff member asked her if she’d be willing to help with something important.
“Some of the Park Place residents needed help getting groceries,”
Linda explains. “It wasn’t safe for them to go grocery shop- ping, but they didn’t have nearby family who could go for them. I felt like I finally had found something to do.”
That was when the five miles between Linda’s home in Westchester and Park Place of Elmhurst became a nine-month journey. At first, she shopped twice a week for residents and once every two weeks for the Park Place store. Now, with more family volunteering to help others, she is going less often, but still regularly, dropping off items safely in the Park Place vestibule. While there’s not much opportunity for personal thank-yous from residents, she feels the gratitude of residents and their families.
“But I’m grateful, too,” Linda says. “This gives me something to fill my days. It gives me a purpose. I was feeling frantic just rattling around the house, but this gives me something meaningful to do.”
Meanwhile, both Linda and Helen are happy the move to Park Place happened before the pandemic. “I love it here,” Helen says. “I couldn’t think of a better place to be sheltering in place.”
Linda agrees. “Finding Park Place was a total God thing,” she says. “There are so many safeguards, but beyond the pandemic, this move was perfect. Mom always says, ‘This is the best place. This is where I belong.’”