Touching Lives Stories
Linda’s Story: Loving Lacey Creek
First, get yourself a cup of coffee, this is a LONG letter. No worries, ALL GOOD! I just would rather you relax & ‘take in’ my words, as you read this instead of ‘glossing over’. My name is Linda Michiels. I am a sixty six (looks better in words 🙂 ) year old retired woman who has had WELL OVER 30 years of visiting nursing care & assisted living facilities. I have been involved in my church’s senior visiting programs that have taken me to at least a dozen of the surrounding facilities over this time. I put the number of years as to show that I have seen – and sadly NOT seen – changes over time to help you KNOW, my experience & somewhat knowledge of these types of facilities. With that introduction I move forward. I have recently, SEP. 22, 2020, helped a 90 year old dear friend of mine, and her husband move into LACEY CREEK in Downers Grove IL. They are Lloyd & Elizabeth. I have been a ‘helper’ to this couple for 20 years. They are a dear couple who live SOLELY on their Social Security. (Sadly, as many Americans, they lived paycheck to paycheck and never had retirement planning.) Anyways…. God connected me to this AMAZING, SAVING GRACE Haven of Lacey Creek. I could NOT believe such a place exists in THIS DAY & AGE! As I got my first tour of Lacey, I am sure I asked at least 6 times, “And this place is for people with minimal income????” I remember also, as we came upon current residents, EVERYONE looked sooooooooo HAPPY!! They looked in clothing, as my Elizabeth & Lloyd, yet their Spirits were ….JOYFUL! I! I was in total awe of the situation!
Fast forward to my journey in getting Lloyd & Elizabeth into this Haven. (I hope your coffee is still warm 🙂 ) I was sooo overwhelmed with PRAISE & GRATITUDE for the staff at your Lacey Creek facility I was not sure how to begin. From July 2020 to NOW, I have had ONLY the KINDEST & MOST PATIENT help with Lloyd & Elizabeth’s various situations. So. I begin with the beginning process and personnel. ‘The… APPLICATION’ … and the 1st Angel of Kindness I met, JASMIN, the move-in coordinator. OH. MY. GOSH! What a BEAUTIFUL, POSITIVE person to initially meet in getting set up with Lacey Creek. She was IMMENSELY helpful, HUGELY SUPPORTIVE and ENCOURAGING when I came upon various problems in getting needed documents. (87 & 90 yr olds with their ‘life’ of paperwork in bits & pieces in way too many boxes!) l KNOW I would have been in tears more if not for Jasmin’s understanding & caring patience. Truly, this young woman has a generously gracious Heart!!
Barnard, in finance, was my next met employee. Barnard worked WITH me until I clearly understood how Lloyd & Elizabeth’s finances were calculated and collected. I am a ‘numbers’ person & I take my responsibility very seriously, more so as they are not my Family! (Lloyd & Elizabeth’s children live out of state & are not close). Barnard is very polite and ALSO a patient person.
AnnMarie, Director of Nursing. NOT Your huggy person/ (keep reading!) She has a ‘shoot from the hip’, direct personality, which she NEEDS to be in her capacity and which I appreciated! She was great with Lloyd & Elizabeth’s entry health interview. Elizabeth is ‘cagey’, i.e. fibs a bit, and AnnMarie saw that right away. Sadly, Lloyd passed away on NOV. 25, 2020. AnnMarie IMMEDIATELY made sure Elizabeth received extra CNA visits throughout her day. She acknowledged to me her concern, as Elizabeth had only been living there 2 months and knew no one, more importantly no one knew Elizabeth, to maybe write her notes or cards. So. As her ACTIONS showed her Heart, I am totally ok with AnnMarie not being a huggy person. You should be also!! I also include here the CNA’s. I do not know their names. I DO know they have been wonderfully caring to Elizabeth. When Lloyd died, Elizabeth was sure she was going to have to leave. She was an anxious, nervous wreck. The CNA’s assured her over & over that this would NOT happen.
Rhonda Aumann, Lacey Creeks Administrator. Well. One walking through Lacey creek would not know Rhonda was the TOP PERSON! Rhonda is in the halls, covers the front desk, ANSWERS THE PHONE (!!), chats with the residents, i.e. a ‘hands on’ leader! When Lloyd died, Rhonda was not only watchful and attentive to Elizabeth, the first calls I had with Rhonda, she would begin with, “And how are YOU doing?” Her passion for people is evident in the gentle, caring manner with which she speaks to EVERYONE! Lloyd’s death created more paperwork for me – of which I am not familiar – so I have been calling Rhonda quite a bit. She ALWAYS, ALWAYS answers or returns my calls promptly and with seemingly UNENDING patience and genuine kindness. My Mom was in an Alzheimer’s care facility from 2000-2005.
5 years. In that 5 years, the administration changed 5 (FIVE!) times!! (Thank God – and I DID -the nursing staff in the Alzheimers unit did NOT change in the 5 years. They were extremely dedicated to this dear group of people) I KNOW many health facility administrators look at that position as just a temporary ‘move up’ to their next bigger paycheck. I cannot express sufficiently what an AMAZING person Rhonda Aumann is. Lacey Creek is incredibly blessed to have such a leader. Gardant is blessed! For myself and those involved in Lacey Creek, Rhonda represents to US how Gardant truly cares!!
I would be GREATLY remiss if I excluded this last, however FAR FROM LEAST employee, who also is a great
representative for the LOVE & CARING of Gardant. That is the front desk – definitely ‘front line’ – CAROL (NEVER
underestimate the VALUE, IMPORTANCE of a GREAT front receptionist!) My first visit to Lacey Creek, it was Carol who first
endeared me to Lacey. A few residents came to the lobby and ‘bee-lined’ to Carol’s desk. She sooooo kindly and
caringly gave each one time to chat with her. I just KNEW at that moment, THIS is where I wanted my dear Elizabeth
Well. I thank you for your time in reading this. (I hope you really did; and did not pass this to someone else.) It has taken me 4+ hours to put this together. THAT is how important it is to me to tell you all of this. May God Bless YOU and your company with continued success. KNOW there are sooooo many Hearts that are grateful for your work. I am just one who Believes in letting people KNOW when they have made God ‘Smile on them’; and I DO Believe God smiles on Gardant’s work in His world.
Most Sincerely, Linda Michiels
Lucille’s Story: Attitude of Gratitude
Lucille Perri moved into Lacey Creek in February of 2020. She did not know anyone when she moved in and did not have a lot time to adjust before our community was shut down due to COVID-19. Her opportunity to meet people and become involved at Lacey Creek was cut short. Lucille ended up being confined to her room for the unforeseeable future.
Lucille previously lived in a condo where she and the same group of ladies were neighbors for sixteen years. They had built a strong friendship with each other and were very close to each other. It was hard for Lucille to leave her very good friends to go to a new, unfamiliar place. At first, she was not happy here. She did not expect to move to a place like this. Lucille is a person who likes her schedule set in stone and says, “I am not the most social butterfly.” She also said that “when you get to be my age, most people don’t like changes, but Lacey Creek has allowed for variety in my schedule.”
Lacey Creek has grown on her and she has come out of her shell so much. Now she loves living here. By going to the activities, she gets accustomed to other people, gets introduced to new things and allows herself to be flexible with her schedule. Lucille now participates in almost every activity from Bingo, to crafts, to shopping at the Country Store. Lucille is thankful for the whole staff and looks for opportunities to help people when she can. She kept an attitude of gratitude all throughout COVID19. Lucille is very content with what she has, even though she is not in the most ideal situation. She has a very compassionate heart and treats everyone she comes across with kindness. She is encouraging, friendly and sweet. She is a great addition to our community and reminds us that we should not stop being kind to people during hard times.
Doris’ Story: Independent and Worry-free, She Found Home Sweet Home
Doris was living with her son and his family, and she felt like she was underfoot. She didn’t drive anymore, so she couldn’t help with dropping the kids off at school, and wasn’t keeping up with housework and meal prep like she used to. When her granddaughter pointed out construction beginning on Lacey Creek, Doris began thinking about moving.
“I never lived alone in my whole life,” Doris said. “I lived with my parents through high school, had roommates in college, and then got married and raised my family. This was finally a chance for me to be independent.”
That independence came to Doris at Lacey Creek. She moved in on the first day we opened and has been keeping busy ever since. She is the secretary for our Resident Council, records attendance during activities and welcomes new residents.
Doris is extremely social and enjoys attending activities. Her favorite things to do are baking, making crafts and decoupaging, playing games and attending parties and socials. You can find Doris sitting outside on the front patio in nice weather where she likes to greet visitors and chat with everyone who comes in.
Her worries here are few, and Doris loves that she doesn’t have to cook, clean or do laundry.
“Everyone here is friendly and helpful,” she says of the staff. “Lacey Creek is truly home sweet home!”