Touching Lives Stories
Bud & Caryl: We’re in This Together
There came a time in their lives when Bud wanted things to be easier for his high school sweetheart Caryl. They spoke with their four children and the decision was made to move into Heritage Woods of McHenry.
Moving during a pandemic wasn’t the easiest thing to do, and Bud & Caryl hadn’t seen their actual apartment until the day they moved in. When they opened the door, Bud & Caryl knew it was the perfect room because the community’s American Flag was visible right outside their apartment window. Bud is a Navy veteran, so this is extra meaningful to him.
Bud and Caryl met at Barrington High School and went to 2 proms together. In 1957, they were married. Bud joined the Navy, and Caryl was able to follow his stationing and moved to Rhode Island during his active service. Upon return to Illinois, Bud ran the family business, and Caryl worked there for a time as well. They share 4 children, 12 grandchildren and 2 great-granddaughters.
Living here at the community has been wonderful. Caryl no longer has the chores of shopping, cooking and cleaning so they are able to just “relax and enjoy their togetherness”. Being able to be together in a community was the most important thing. Bud thought he’d miss Caryl’s cooking the most, but he stated that the food is pretty great here! He’s just happy that his bride can enjoy retirement, too.
When asked what’s the secret to their long marriage? Lots of hugs and hand holding. Good advice.
We’re happy you are both here!
Samantha’s Story: A Promise to Her Daughter for the Ideal Home
People are faced with difficult times throughout their lives. As we get older, dealing with these difficult times can be a little more of a challenge.
Samantha was challenged when she found out that her daughter was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Samantha’s daughter needed her mother to care for her full time, so the ladies rented a two-bedroom apartment in town.
Times were not easy. Samantha was her daughter’s one and only caregiver. She took her daughter to all the necessary appointments and treatments. “Watching your own daughter’s health fail is not something any mother should have to do.”
Even though her daughter’s health was declining, she wanted her mother to make her a promise. She wanted her mother to promise that she would find a place to live where she would not be alone. Samantha, herself, will admit that she tends to isolate herself. Her daughter needed to know that she would find a place to live that would offer her help and security and where she could be around people her own age.
One month after her daughter’s passing, Samantha started her search for the perfect place to call home. A place that met her need of privacy but also met the needs that she promised her daughter. Samantha’s first impression of Heritage Woods was that it was clean. She was impressed with all the services the community offered.
Samantha has lived at Heritage Woods for about two months now. She said even during this pandemic and the quarantine, she does not feel alone and knows that she will get the help she needs. Samantha “Thanks God” that she found Heritage Woods. Not only can she be safe and have her privacy, but she knows her daughter would be pleased that she is never going to truly be alone.
Art and Denise’s Story: Letting Love Bloom at Heritage Woods
The transition to assisted living community is different for everyone. It can harder for some people to give up their home and independence than it is for others. Other people realize that they have lived the way wanted; they embrace the fact that they are older and need others to help care for them.
Denise was one of those residents who was not pleased when it was time to leave her home. She became depressed and filled with anxiety. It was hard for her family to see Denise this way. During mealtimes, we noticed that she loved to be social and talk with other residents. But once meals were over, that ended. She went back to her apartment. She didn’t attend activities and kept to herself. The same routine went on for months, and that worried her loved ones.
Then, she met Art. He was extremely social and embraced the idea of supportive living. Art loved to talk with other residents, play bingo and attend happy hour events. At one point, several ladies at our community were vying for his attention. One day, he sat at the same table as Denise. The discovered they had a lot in common. After a few more meals together, people started to talk.
They both caught wind of the whispers and thought it would be funny to meet up before lunch and walk into the dining room holding hands. That was the beginning of something special.
Art and Denise are now a couple, and they do everything together. Their relationship has empowered Denise to start living her life again. It has been special for Art, too. He told us he never thought he could feel this happy again. They have become our community’s “it” couple. They mingle, attend activities, and occasionally go out to enjoy dinner with their families.
As they continue to enjoy their time together, Art and Denise have shown us that love happens when you least expect it – even at Heritage Woods of McHenry.
Jim’s Story: Accepting Love, Kindness and Assistance From Friends
At the insistence of his family, Jim moved to Heritage Woods in 2013.
Jim is a “man’s man.” He is a retired officer from the Chicago Police Department and a retired rancher, so a senior living community was not what he had in mind. Jim was not without health issues, but he wanted to manage his diabetes and some forgetfulness on his own.
Slowly, Jim settled into his new environment. It did not take long for him to start reaping the benefits of all the excellent care he was receiving from the staff at his new community.
Jim was feeling so well that he decided that he no longer needed the supportive living lifestyle and decided to give it a go in a private subsidized senior apartment complex. Our staff was sad and tried to talk him out of moving, but we decided to support him in his decision.
We did not hear from Jim for almost a year. Then, he showed up at our building with his heart on his sleeve and told us he wanted to come back. Jim, looking a little disheveled, pale and much thinner, began the process of getting on our waitlist.
Later, Jim admitted that it was not as easy as he thought it would be living on his own again. He realized with age and his health concerns, he could not manage it all alone. Of course, we welcomed him back with open arms.
Now that Jim has been back with us for a few years now, he is healthy and receiving all of the services he needs. He has many friends in the building and even has a better relationship with his family.
Life is not about doing it all on your own; it is about accepting the love, kindness and caring others that want to share with you.
Frank’s Story: Three Meals a Day, a Place to Call Home and Dignity Restored
When people think about how they will live their lives, they envision how everything will turn out. They will grow old with their partner, live in the house they shared together until it is time for them to leave this Earth. Well, that is not everyone’s story. We all go through transitions. Births, deaths, health issues, divorce, and losses are all a normal part of life.
For some people, even one of these transitions can be devastating, and it can be hard to get your head above water again. It’s even harder if you are older and find yourself without a support system.
That is what happened to Frank, a resident at Heritage Woods since early 2016.
He had always been a happy person and rolled with the punches until he faced one of life’s difficult transitions.
His mother got sick. He put all of his time, effort and money into his mother’s care. Eventually, he found himself without any money, without a home, and sadly, in the end, without his mother.
Depending on friends, church members and senior services, Frank really had nowhere else to turn. Although grateful, Frank used these support systems to sustain himself. Lunch at senior services and sleeping on a church member’s couch was not way to live.
With the help and support of a concerned friend, Frank was introduced to the concept of supportive living. Frank wasn’t sure about the idea at first, but after a few visits, he was ready to move.
Now, Frank is a thriving member of our community. With a place to call home, three meals a day, and a roof over his head, his dignity has been restored.