Interview with Kathryn H., daughter of resident Donna H.
Q: What was your mother’s situation before she moved to assisted living at Willow Brook at Delaware Run?
A: My Mom couldn’t live alone anymore because she had fallen several times, so she moved in with me. That worked until she began having health issues. We lived together in Delaware, but I work full-time in Columbus, so when I’d get a call that something was wrong, I’d have to drop everything and run home. I realized I couldn’t be a full-time caregiver and full-time worker. I did schedule home healthcare workers, but sometimes they’d call off. It was a constant scramble, and I was always worried.
Q: Why did you pick Willow Brook at Delaware Run?
A: We looked at several places, but nothing compared to Willow Brook. Willow Brook is “extra.” The care level is very good, and I knew she’d get the social interaction and mental stimulation she needed as well as the physical care. Willow Brook is the full package.
Q: How is your mother doing in assisted living compared to when she lived alone or with you?
A: Great! My mom says she’s happier at Willow Brook than she’s been in 10 years. When she lost her mobility, she’d be at the house all by herself unless a friend stopped by. At Willow Brook, she enjoys going to all the programs and eating in the restaurant with her friends. She loves the staff, too. It’s like a little family for her.
Q: How do you like Delaware Run?
A: It’s delightful. The staff are really friendly and caring. And it’s convenient for me because I live close by.
Q: How has your life changed since your mother came to live at Willow Brook?
A: It is such a huge relief. I don’t have to panic anymore when I get a call because I know if there’s a problem, Willow Brook will take care of it. Her happiness and physical well being are not all on my shoulders. I love coming to visit her and spending time together and seeing her so happy.
Donna, 82, taught school for 40 years and enjoyed retirement for many years. But then she began having healthcare problems. She fell and didn’t feel safe. She had to leave her condo and move into her daughter’s home.
“I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was just existing,” Donna says. “I used to get up, have breakfast and then sit in the family room. I didn’t start living until my daughter came home from work at night. It was lonely.”
Like many frail seniors at home, Donna felt isolated and wasn’t eating well. Having to use a walker made food preparation hard, and even heating dishes in the microwave was difficult.
“I’m living life again,” Donna says. “I’m living with people who care about me. It’s a warm cozy, feeling.”
Concerned about her safety and well being, she and her daughter arranged a tour of Willow Brook at Delaware Run, owned by Willow Brook Christian Communities, a not-for-profit organization providing senior housing and healthcare options.
Her timing was good: Delaware Run had just expanded its Assisted Living services and opened a new wing with private rooms, suites, a physician’s office and an outpatient therapy practice.
Donna liked what she saw — a room with a beautiful courtyard view, a restaurant with a fireplace and delicious food she could order off a menu. She saw residents enjoying activities and noticed everyone was friendly. She decided to move into Delaware Run in July.
Since then, her zest has returned. “I’m living life again,” she says. “I’m living with people who care about me. It’s a warm cozy, feeling. I’m happier here than I’ve been in 10 years.”
Donna has made new friends, including a veteran who is an expert on Abraham Lincoln, and she dines with a group every night. “We know each other so well we can order off the menu for each other.
And we laugh. Oh, how we laugh.”
She participates in the writers’ group and enjoys concerts, but she also relishes her quiet time. “I have privacy, but I can get help when I need it.”
What’s the best thing about her new home? “The staff. Everyone is so considerate and patient. They go out of their way to be helpful. I feel fortunate to have people who take such good care of us.”
Donna furnished her room with her favorite belongings: an oak roll-top desk her husband had refinished, a painting by her best friend in high school, a needlepoint piece made by fellow teachers, and a framed print of the 2003 Ohio State championship game.
‘I have everything I need,” Donna says. “It all came together for me, and I want others to have the same wonderful life I have here.”