When MaryLou Aukeman’s husband Owen and their sons designed and built the Royal Park campus decades ago, she knew one day she’d live at the campus herself. “There was no doubt,” MaryLou says. “My husband and I were both so in love with it here already.”
They moved to Royal Park Place, but when Owen’s health suddenly declined, they both made the move to Royal Atrium Inn to get the assistance they needed. After Owen passed away, MaryLou decided to stay at the Atrium. The staff keeps her family informed of everything, which gives them peace of mind.
“I like the security,” she says. “When I compare it with living by myself, I really appreciate the way they take good care of you. They even peek in at night just to make sure that you’re all right. That means a lot, that the staff cares so much and treats you so well. I’ve met a lot of new friends. Everybody’s happy here. And I am, too.”
She knows making a move to Assisted Living can be difficult. “It can be scary to move somewhere, especially if you don’t know anyone,” MaryLou says. “But there are so many activities every morning, and whoever wants to can come and meet people. You get a calendar of what’s going on, and it’s all very good. Maybe you want to do Sit and Stretch exercises. One of the most popular activities is bingo. They also show movies. There are really so many ways to meet people.”
But mealtime is also a great time for community. “I think friendships are made at the dinner table. That’s where we really get to know each other,” she says, and she loves the food. “My favorite breakfast is the baked French toast,” she says. “I also love the fish. But they have this barbecue sauce that they use on chicken that is very good. And then sometimes there’s pie for dessert—apple pie, lemon pie—and it tastes like it’s all home-cooked. Oh, and I can’t forget the cream puffs! They are delicious and huge! I sit at a table with three other ladies and we all seem to be in agreement that the food is very good.”
MaryLou is so grateful that the community her family built is now where she lives with her second family. She walks through the atrium, enjoying the glass roof and greenery, and she is thankful. “I guess it’s more than security, living here,” she says, smiling. “It’s family.”