Resident Spotlights

Gaining independence: Linda’s story of thriving in a community of friendly neighbors



image of Linda at Fairway KnollMeeting the needs of people where they are at is important to us at Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS). That’s why we felt blessed to hear Linda’s inspiring testimony. After choosing PHS, Linda gained independence in a supportive community – and now helps others.

Moving to Fairway Knoll in Germantown, Wis., was the “best choice,” according to Linda, a resident of three years.

Linda easily recalls that life-changing day. It was July 24, 2018, she says, when she walked through the newly opened doors of Fairway Knoll. “I bawled my eyes out,” she said.

They were tears of joy. I felt relief. I no longer had the fear of being alone.

Now in a supportive community, Linda says she’s gained more and more freedom — after enduring trauma and isolation. “It’s so different. You feel free here,” she notes.

Feeling anxious has given way to feeling at home. Linda finds her handicap-accessible apartment “calming, peaceful and relaxing.”

A community of caring neighbors makes the biggest difference to her sense of belonging. “It’s the camaraderie,” she notes. “I don’t care who it is – whoever has a hardship or is sick, we all will hear about it and then offer our support. Now where in the world are you gonna go where everybody is concerned?”

Jill Vitale-Aussem, author of Disrupting the Status Quo of Senior Living: A Mindshift, writes, “All of us, no matter what our age, have a basic need to belong and to be part of something.” Linda’s experience reveals the truth in these words.

Linda has since grown into a variety of volunteer roles on campus — an important goal she had in mind from the beginning.

For example, as a resident ambassador, Linda opens the circle of belonging to new neighbors. She starts the relationship with empathy and explains, “I always sympathize with them and say, ‘I can remember those days when I first moved in here. I felt totally lost.’” From there, she lets her new neighbor set the pace. “I get calls and knocks on my door,” she says.

Recently Linda helped a newcomer with eyesight challenges. Linda said, “I went through the resident handbook by reading aloud to her – one section at a time.” Offering tours once a week also helped this resident learn the community piece by piece.

“Those I’ve helped have become my friends,” Linda says. “They tell me I did a really good job, and that makes me feel good.”

Considering a change, but not sure where to start? If you’re exploring care options for yourself or a loved one, search Find a Community. Ready with questions? Connect with a Housing Counselor today.



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