Two to three times a week during lunch, I walk around the dining room at Parkvue Place and chat with our residents. I recently took an informal survey, asking our residents to offer their insights about the joys and challenges of moving to Parkvue Place. I asked three questions to create a framework for discussion: 1) what factors influenced your decision to move; 2) what do you miss most about leaving your home; and 3) now that you are settled, what gives you joy living in our community?
Reasons for Moving Vary
Our residents offered amazingly diverse insights. Many acknowledged that their children encouraged them to move and some actively participated in the transition. Others shared that their move was precipitated by a healthcare crisis that limited their ability to return home after a hospital stay. Some women lamented that the cost of utilities, taxes, routine upkeep and maintenance of their homes had become too expensive. One resident quietly announced that she woke up one morning and knew it was time to move from her home into an apartment. One very pleased resident, Jose, loves to share that he toured Parkvue and was so pleased with our Aquatic Center that he and his wife made the move here to enjoy the amenities.
Sense of Loss
For many, the move from their home was wrapped within a deep sense of loss. Although Parkvue allows pets, one resident’s large dog moved in with her son so that he would have the freedom of a fenced-in yard. Some moved closer to their children, yet miss their former neighbors, friends and communities. A few residents commented that they missed aspects of nature that surrounded their homes. One person loved to sit on a sunporch that overlooked a wooded ravine. Another had a beautiful lake view. One was a birdwatcher and missed this activity. Although Parkvue has laundry areas on each floor, some miss the convenience of an apartment washer and dryer.
Talking with residents as they have moved to Parkvue, I have found that it takes about three to six months for them to settle in and adapt to their new life. Many appreciate the luxury of not cooking meals, preferring to eat in the dining room one, two or three times daily. Residents commented that their apartment size is more manageable, especially with regular housekeeping services.
The move to our community has reconnected old friends and even family members. Many teachers have rekindled past friendships. We have musicians who gather once a month to sing hymns and old classic favorites. A group of residents has a monthly book club, while others meet for Bible study. Consistently, the residents appreciate the renewing of old relationships and the building of new ones. Some continue exercise on the walking path, while others appreciate a morning swim or participate in water yoga. Becoming table mates has enlivened meal conversations and offers new perspectives. Scheduled outings, community activities, movies and Sunday worship in our chapel all create opportunities to connect with others in a meaningful way.
Residents begin a new path after moving into our community. I stand in awe of those who consistently seek to learn, grow, pursue activities and build relationships that create fresh opportunities to experience abundant life.
Unique Life Paths
Lewis Richmond, the author of Aging as a Spiritual Practice, A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older, writes about an active 105-year-old woman named Sarah. He asked her, “What is the deepest lesson you’ve learned in your life?” She offered an interesting response:
This is my life and I have no other.
Her response is a reminder that since childhood, each person has traveled a unique path through life, arrived at this day and is challenged to continue the journey forward.
As you age, what are your hopes, dreams or vision for the future? What are your priorities? Is it important to continue to build relationships, be closer to family or enjoy the company of others? Would you like to remain active, independent and connected to a larger community that builds new friendships and creates a network of support?
Please consider our residents’ reflections on the joys and challenges of their move to Parkvue Community. May you begin each day with a sense of anticipation and a willingness to experience a sense of wholeness and peace on your life journey. Blessings!