Featured Resident Stories: Family Togetherness, Support, and Loving Care
Your decision to move to a senior living community is ultimately YOURS, but you may find it helpful to involve family members in this all-important process regarding your future, making it rewarding and unifying for all of you. It’s a decision that will most likely impact them in some way, too.
Here, we’d like to share the stories of Dallas Retirement Village (DRV) resident Louise Winchell and her daughter Lisa, as well as former residents Margaret and Walter Boss and their niece Susan. We think you’ll find these residents and their DRV lifestyles inspiring.
Mother and Daughter Tackle Difficult Decision—Together
Louise Winchell, resident of Dallas Retirement Village since 2017, and her daughter Lisa Blythe have a rewarding story to tell of Louise’s journey to the community she now calls home. A situation that could’ve been an anxious experience for Louise and her children was approached methodically with grace, smart decision-making, and plenty of communication among all concerned. The result? Tremendous peace of mind for the entire family.
Louise, the oldest of six children, was born in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. She went to nursing school and worked as a nurse until retiring in 1993. She and her husband moved their family of four children to Huntington Beach, California, in 1964, where they lived until 1980 before moving to Dallas, Oregon. At that time, they bought five acres on the hilltop off Salt Creek Road and built a beautiful log home. Louise’s husband passed in 1994, and she bought a house in the Kingsborough Park neighborhood.
Living alone in her home—three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a huge yard—Louise found herself regularly visiting several of her friends who lived at Dallas Retirement Village. “I realized my friends did not have to worry about maintenance, upkeep, and yard work. And they weren’t isolated, either,” Louise says. “I always enjoyed visiting them as DRV is beautiful, with lots of opportunities to make friends and be social.”
This is Louise’s family.
Lisa Blythe, who lives in New Mexico, is one of Louise’s three daughters. Terri lives just a mile away from DRV and Louise’s son lives in Independence. Two granddaughters and one great-grandson live throughout the country, and Louise admits to not seeing them as much as she’d like. “I’m a long-time member of St. Phillips Church and count as family the numerous friends I have there,” says Louise.
Great support for a big decision.
In early 2017, Louise and her daughters began discussing DRV, as her home was becoming just too much work and responsibility to manage. “We went on a tour that spring,” says Louise. “We all loved the grounds, opportunities for socialization, and the idea of downsizing. I put myself on the waiting list for a one-bedroom apartment in independent living.” In just six months, Louise moved in. “It was all really Mom’s idea,” says Lisa. “But my sister Terri and I supported her all the way. To be honest, it was a huge transition for Mom, moving into a small apartment after living in large homes all her life, but she loves being on the second floor with a beautiful view outside of her window.”
Building on a whole new lifestyle.
Both mother and daughter agree that Louise’s life has changed since her move to DRV. “I think Mom is freer to just enjoy her days,” says Lisa. “She does not have much work or any maintenance she must do. I think she feels safer living here and more engaged with others—and this increases her sense of freedom and independence.”
“There are classes for her to participate in. She does not have to cook. She has cleaning assistance if she wants and socializes with others, which she did not have when living alone in her house. Now that she lives at DRV, her brothers tease her that, with all these amenities, she’s living quite the high life!”
“I play bingo and work on puzzles with my friends,” Louise says. “I like to take exercise classes as often as I can, and it’s nice to have neighbors close by—I love to visit. I’m so happy and feel this move has been a benefit to both my physical and emotional health.”
“Mom is blossoming,” says Lisa. “She and one of her friends spend a lot of time together—taking walks and day trips. I live so far away [so] it is nice to know that she is safe, happy, and lives where the grounds and buildings are gorgeous. If she needs anything, she has support. And I am so appreciative that the staff at DRV communicates with me regularly.”
Louise admits to being frustrated and tired of how the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of DRV residents. Lisa sees it in her Mom, too. “Mom’s growing a little restless with the stay-in-place orders, but the warmer weather has been a Godsend,” Lisa says. “I send an email for Mom every other week or so, and DRV sends me their internal Daily Chronicle, which Mom gets too. It keeps me in “the loop” as to what’s going on at DRV. I so appreciate Dallas Retirement Village for all they have done during COVID-19 to keep all residents healthy and safe.”
Niece Reflects on Loving Care for Aunt and Uncle
Annually during the five years prior to their move to Dallas Retirement Village (DRV) in August 2012, Margaret and Walter Boss visited their niece Susan Doellinger and her husband Reverend Paul Doellinger in Monmouth. They stayed for about three weeks each year before returning to their independent living home in a retirement community in Ohio. During this time, they visited retirement communities in the greater Salem area, including Monmouth, Dallas, Salem, Mt. Angel, and Sublimity. Independent living at Dallas Retirement Village was the final answer to their search. Their story tells how a very smart decision enabled Margaret and Walter to live a rewarding chapter of their lives in peace and security.
Margaret and Walter were smart “shoppers” and had outlined specific criteria for what would be their new home. Their objective was to find a community with several levels of care, close to the Doellingers, and within their financial ability. Susan encouraged her aunt and uncle to visit DRV. “Living in Monmouth, my husband and I had always heard good things about DRV from people who had family members as residents there. When Walter and Margaret visited us, DRV was always on their itinerary. They enjoyed the community very much.”
“This big decision took them a couple of years,” Susan continues, “but all their objectives were met at DRV. All their furnishings fit into their new independent living apartment, the dining area was convenient, and everything was very neat and clean. They liked that it was affordable, close to us, convenient to West Valley Hospital and the church they preferred in Dallas—important to Walter, a retired Lutheran minister.”
Living the DRV lifestyle.
“Dallas Retirement Village became a beautiful, caring Christian community for my aunt and uncle,” says Susan. “They really enjoyed living independently in Apartment 206 and cherished all of the friendships they shared. DRV offers a lot of activities [and] is located in a nice surrounding community with a hospital and shopping nearby. Walter and Margaret loved the dining room—the food is plentiful and good, and they always appreciated the dining staff who are attentive and helpful. All the servers knew Walter and Margaret by name after only a couple of days and even remembered from day-to-day what kind of tea they liked!”
As things changed . . .
Margaret and Walter had the valuable forethought to consider only a community that offers all levels of care. Within the resident-centered environment of Dallas Retirement Village, the security, well-being, and peace of mind for residents and their families are top of mind. “All the staff of DRV definitely gets high marks,” says Susan. “There were many times when we had medical emergencies for Margaret and Walter and had to call 911. Each time the staff was there for support, no matter the hour of night or day. Every time there was a fall, I was notified immediately.”
“After Walter died in December, 2015, Margaret continued to enjoy living in her independent living apartment. But in July, 2019, Margaret’s physical needs required that she move to Assisted Living. We were very grateful to the staff for bringing her needs to our attention and also for facilitating her move in a timely manner. Everyone was so helpful!”
A special thanks to a special staff.
During Margaret’s nine months in Assisted Living, her health continued to slowly decline. Susan shares her gratitude to the CNAs and nurses who helped Margaret and assisted her with tasks of daily living during this time. “We particularly want to thank Jill Simmons, whose personal touch, cheerful attitude, and religious faith encouraged and helped Margaret so much,” Susan says. “Everyone at DRV helped in so many ways. We appreciated the regular three-month staff care conferences to assess Margaret’s level of need, Christina who greeted us cheerfully as we entered, all the nurses who administered Margaret’s medications, the chaplain who helped meet her spiritual needs, the maintenance staff who hung her 60 pictures, and the housekeepers who kept her room so neat. We are especially grateful for those who assisted Margaret in her last hour on March 5th. Their presence with her at that time meant so much!”
After eight years since Margaret and Walter moved to Dallas Retirement Village, Susan continues to refer friends and neighbors to the community. “And someday (hopefully, quite a few years from now) we ourselves will very likely end up moving to Dallas Retirement Village,” Susan says.
Staying in touch . . .
Dallas Retirement Village’s faith-based, resident-centered approach to serving Louise, Margaret, Walter, and all their residents makes the community unique. We’d like to share this lifestyle with you—and your family. Contact us online to indicate your interest and we’ll stay in touch, keeping you informed of news and events at Dallas Retirement Village. In the meantime, you can learn more about Dallas Retirement Village and what it would be like to live here by visiting our website.