For many years, Carrol and Wayne Grabill were living on their own, despite Carrol’s health conditions. But when Wayne was diagnosed with lung cancer and began spending time in the hospital, Carrol was alone a great deal of the time, and she couldn’t do everything for herself. Her son Tom became concerned, and he wanted the assurance that she could have people around her 24 hours a day, should something happen. He began the search then for a senior living community, and he found Royal Park Place.
“I chose Royal Park Place because it was a beautiful setting with great accommodations,” Tom says. “The staff was friendly, and it was close to where I live in Zeeland. But the most important element was affordability.”
He was pleased to see that both of his parents loved Royal Park Place, despite their very different personalities. “My mom was an extrovert. My dad was an introvert. They both had what they were looking for,” he says. “Mom could visit with other friends, she could be in charge of the library, and she could satisfy her deep need for relational connection. Dad could go in their apartment and watch TV and sports and whatever he felt most comfortable doing. And all of this was so much better than them living on their own.”
After Wayne passed away, the community was a great comfort to Carroll. “My mom transitioned smoothly into that grief process because she had a supportive community around her that loved her and cared for her,” he says. “She adjusted well because there were other widows in this place that she could meet with and talk with and be consoled by. Also, she was a nurse and she loved to take care of people. Having people here to care for helped mom adapt after dad’s passing and continue to move on.”
Tom says Carroll loved the staff. “Mom was the president of Community Manager Jeff Zylstra’s fan club. She just appreciated the hard work that he put in to run this place, especially during the pandemic. He cares for the residents and acknowledges them, and that provided a sense of security and comfort for her,” he says. “She also talked an awful lot about the chef, how good of a cook he was and how special the meals were, and that made her day special as well.”
Even though Carrol has passed away, Royal Park is still family to Tom, and he’ll always treasure the special way the staff treated his parents. “My mother had so many friendships here, from residents just sitting at the tables and joining in the laughter and fun and camaraderie, to just walking down the hall or going to some of the social activities that were a part of Royal Park Place,” Tom says. “Mom felt loved, appreciated, and accepted here, and she thrived in that environment.”