Touching Lives Stories
Merle’s Story: Losing the Love of His Life and Finding Family Here
Merle loves Heritage Woods of Sterling so much that he likes to tell us that even if he hit the jackpot, he’d still live here.
“Why would I turn my back on Heritage Woods when they were there for me when I needed them?” he asks without hesitation.
Heritage Woods is his home.
We are his family.
When Merle lost his wife of 68 years, we paid our respects during Lucille’s funeral, and we’ve been there in the difficult days that have followed.
Our compassion was a reminder of what Merle said when they moved here, “If Lucille goes first or I go first, we will always have our home here.”
Through both happy and sad days, our community rallies around the residents who choose to call our community home.
For Merle, there have been more good days than bad.
“I don’t have an apartment here,” he said. “I have a home – a wonderful one-bedroom home.”
When he leaves his home, he can do his own laundry. He can go to our 5-star restaurant for meals.
If he is in the mood for a movie, our dining room can transform into a theatre. Merle can sit on our back patio to watch concerts, and if he gets hungry in the middle of the night, he can grab a midnight snack.
Merle has a lot of life yet to live, and he says he plans to enjoy every minute of it here at Heritage Woods.
Ruth’s Story: Finding “Heaven” at Heritage Woods
When you see Ruth, it’s hard not to notice her hat collection. Some people even call her the Hat Lady.
Since moving to our community three years ago, Ruth has taken on an active role at Heritage Woods. She and her family take our themed days and parties very serious.
Ruth goes out of her way to make everyone feel welcome whether it’s a good friend or a resident who doesn’t get out and about much.
She has played a large role in fostering community programs, and she is the brains behind our annual tea party, which is now in its third year. She pushed to have a Bible study class at Heritage Woods, and the group is now a strong presence in our building.
Many of our residents find comfort in Ruth’s faith. She tries to lift the burdens from others and encourages them to find peace with their problems. Ruth never pushes her beliefs on anyone, but she is a constant presence and lets everyone know that she is there if she is needed.
Part of Ruth’s caring nature comes from the 16 years she spent as a nurse. She has always had giving heart, positive attitude and concern for others – even when her own days weren’t so bright.
When new residents move in, Ruth takes them under her wing. She sits with them during meals, walks with them to programs and encourages them to get involved. Ruth shares that same kindness with our staff, family members and other guests.
Ruth makes a point to get to know people, and she takes an genuine interest in everyone she meets.
Her neighbors say Ruth has a loving and generous spirit; she is someone you want in your circle of friends.
Ruth’s love for Heritage Woods is so apparent that she has opened her home to outside groups for meetings and has had two of her friends move to our community.
Heritage Woods is home for this chapter of her life, and Ruth is very proud of it. Inside of her apartment, a wall of pictures shows off her seven grandchildren, 35 grandchildren, 65 great grandchildren, and while no picture yet, she anxiously awaits her first great-great grandchild’s picture.
When Ruth is not out visiting with others, she can be found reading, playing on her computer, talking on the phone or out running around with her family.
Ruth is such an integral part of our community. Our days are brighter because of her, the world is kinder because of her, life is a little easier because of her. We give her the assistance she needs, so she can have an active life and never miss an opportunity to share her kindness with others.
Pat’s Story: With Her Newfound Independence, She is a New Woman
Each day when Pat wakes up, she thanks her lucky stars for her freedom.
Before she moved in last year, Pat lived in a nursing home. She fell through the cracks and ended up in a place that was not a good fit for her.
Everyone deserves a warm place to call home. Pat doesn’t take her place at Heritage Woods for granted. These days, Pat says she finally feels like she is getting her life back.
The simple things bring her so much job. The snack bar and fresh fruit available at any time? She loves it. “Wow,” she says. “ What a luxury!”
Pat also enjoys homemade meals, the hospitality of our staff and the activities we offer. Her schedule is busy these days. She presides over our community council, attends morning exercise classes, goes to weekly devotionals and shops at the Caring Center.
With a heart of gold, Pat shares encouraging notes and thank you cards with residents, staff and volunteers.
Our community has given her much more than a place to call home. We’ve given her a community and helped her regain her independence.
“Heritage Woods has given me so much,” Pat said. “My sons feel better knowing I am safe. My church friends say I am a new woman. It is amazing to be able to open up my own account and write my own checks, to go out with others whenever I like and to choose how I spend my time.”
Pat says she’s finally found home again, and she’s “staying here forever!”