Testimonials from Adult Children of Residents at Holiday by Atria Senior Living

Hear real stories from people who helped a parent make the move to their Holiday home.

"To see her turn around like this has been incredible. She's like a new person." - Jenna an Adult Child of a Holiday Resident

When an older adult begins to experience the challenges of aging, it’s most often the adult children who pitch in to help. They provide transportation to and from appointments and shop for groceries. They take over lawn care, housekeeping and home maintenance. They worry about their parent falling, feeling lonely, not eating nutritious foods for seniors or forgetting to turn off the stove.

If your family is considering all-inclusive senior living for a parent, you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve compiled these stories from adult children of Holiday residents to help you learn about the benefits of independent senior living from real people.

Five generations of Paul and Marlene’s family gathered at Holiday for the couple’s 63rd annual Thanksgiving dinner
Five generations of Paul and Marlene’s family gathered at Holiday for the couple’s 63rd annual Thanksgiving dinner.

Paul and Marlene benefit from outstanding staff plus optional care onsite.

Paul and Marlene have been married since 1960 and rarely spend time apart. In 2021, Marlene underwent knee surgery and had to recover in a rehabilitation facility for two months. Paul missed his wife terribly. During that time, his own health began to decline after he experienced a series of small strokes.

While visiting his wife in rehab, Paul told his daughter Diane, “I don’t think I can take care of her at home. I wish we had a place like this where we could be together.”

That gave Diane an idea.

Over the next few weeks, Diane toured no less than 15 independent senior living communities in the Greater Cincinnati area, interviewing staff and residents alike. She compared various aspects of each location, from the quality of the food to staff engagement and the overall feeling she got.

“It wasn’t a light decision,” said Diane.

“I ended up with Holiday because of what they offered. It was also very homelike,” she said.

“Cost was certainly part of the decision,” said Diane. “The personal care is an extra cost of course, but Holiday is a good value for the environment. It’s a lovely, well-maintained property with outstanding staff who truly care.”

“I was impressed how many staff members have worked there for 10 or 15 years,” said Diane. “Most of the other places I visited had higher turnover rates.”

Paul and Marlene were “thrilled.” They quickly made friends, gushed about the food, and according to Diane, “it was a beautiful transition!”

Then Paul suffered a few more significant strokes. Diane said if her parents were still living at home, her mother would have been put in a difficult situation.

“But because they were here, people knew them. They saw my dad every day and noticed he was acting differently. We were able to get quick medical care.”

“The community has a third-party care provider onsite, so you can have a level of support you wouldn’t have at some other independent living communities,” said Diane.

“I would have had to hire outside care and have them come in,” said Diane. “The reliability of that is not as good.”

“At Holiday, I can count on staff to let me know the minute anything goes wrong or seems off,” said Diane. “The communication is outstanding. Everyone has my number – even the dining room staff – and that helps me sleep better at night.”

As for Paul and Marlene, they are thriving. Marlene has made a complete recovery from knee surgery and walks on her own. Both benefit from daily fitness programs designed for seniors, join Bible study classes and enjoy parties and live music organized by the community. Paul rides his scooter to every meal, cracking jokes with residents and staff along the way. Marlene’s friends visit regularly for lunch and rave about the food.

In November, the couple hosted their 63rd consecutive Thanksgiving dinner at Holiday, welcoming five generations of family to the large craft room they had catered with all the traditional dishes.

“My dad said it was the best Thanksgiving he’s ever had,” said Diane.

Jenna, right, is happy to see her mother, Janice, thriving at Holiday.
Jenna, right, is happy to see her mother, Janice, thriving at Holiday.

Janice is nourished by delicious meals shared with good neighbors.

Jenna worried her mother Janice wouldn’t like her independent living apartment at Holiday.

Fortunately, her fears were unfounded the moment they stepped through the community’s doors. Staff greeted Janice with balloons, roses and a birthday cake to celebrate her upcoming 74th birthday.

“That was it for me,” said Jenna. “I almost cried because I couldn’t believe how thoughtful that was. They didn’t have to do that, but they did.”

For years, Janice lived happily alone in rural Texas Hill Country, driving 12 miles into town several times a week to attend church, teach Bible study classes and meet with her quilting bee. She was very active and healthy.

But during a recent visit, Jenna noticed a decline in her mother’s well-being.

“She’d lost a lot of weight,” said Jenna. “Even the way she held herself and shuffled when she walked was different. She looked sad.”

Soon after, Janice fell and broke her wrist and was forced to drive herself to town using one hand.

That’s when Jenna took action. She moved her mother two and a half hours away to live with her and her husband so they could assess the situation.

“The longer she stayed with us, the more I noticed,” said Jenna. “She only weighed 110 pounds and was taking sleep medication meant to be taken for a short while only. She wasn’t eating much and definitely not drinking enough water.”

When Jenna took her mother to a doctor near her home in Round Rock, Janice was unable to produce a urine sample.

“It took 15 cups of water and six hours until we could get a proper urine sample,” said Jenna. Her mother was dehydrated and eating very little.

“I wondered if she needed assisted living,” said Jenna. “That’s how bad I thought it was.”

As it turned out, Janice had grown depressed after the death of her ex-husband. She stopped cooking because she was afraid of leaving the stove on and starting a fire. And drinking liquids just led to more trips to the bathroom, which Janice viewed as a burden.

“I think she thought, ‘I’m an old person and I don’t matter anymore. Nothing matters.’ She was giving up,” explained Jenna. “I think she was lonely.”

Just four weeks after moving to Holiday, Janice is 12 pounds heavier and a whole lot happier.

“The first day I noticed she was dressing up,” said Jenna. “She started wearing earrings and lipstick again, things she hadn’t done in a long, long time.”

Jenna said her mother loves sharing meals with residents her age as well as playing chair volleyball, bingo, attending Bible study and exercise classes.

“She loves mealtimes and having friends to talk with while she eats,” said Jenna. “She doesn’t have to worry about buying groceries and cooking. She used to be obsessed with safety and fires, but now all she needs to do is sit down and enjoy her meal.”

“To see her turn around like this has been incredible. She’s like a new person,” said Jenna. “I’ve already recommended Holiday to other people, absolutely.”

“I don’t think people hear these sorts of success stories often enough, so I’m glad to share mine.”

Barbara, right, poses with Holiday Engage Life coordinator, Millie Barrueta.
Barbara, right, poses with Holiday Engage Life coordinator, Millie Barrueta.

Barbara hit the jackpot when she found so many friends her age.

“Mom was a big gambler in her day, so she and dad moved out to Las Vegas 30 years ago,” said Doug. “She loves her bingo and her gambling. Keeps her mind sharp.”

At 92, Doug’s mother Barbara takes no medications, and until a few months ago, lived entirely on her own.

“Overall, Mom’s in very, very good shape,” said Doug. “She walks about 45 to 50 minutes every day. Always has. Rain, snow, sleet, she’s out there.”

One problem was that none of the neighbors in her Las Vegas apartment complex were anywhere near her age. Another was she could no longer drive.

Getting around town for groceries, hair appointments and bingo involved scheduling rides over the phone through the city’s Silver STAR bus system for seniors. Barbara is hearing impaired, so she struggles with using a phone. As a result, she was left stranded on several occasions when she missed her bus and couldn’t hear well enough to schedule a new ride over the phone.

“Mom doesn’t use a cell phone, so she’d call us in Atlanta asking what she should do,” said son Doug. His brother resides in Minneapolis, and his sister calls Denver home.

“My siblings and I had been trying to manage all this from afar, and it was really difficult,” said Doug. “And that’s with her being fully functioning.”

“She’s pretty independent, but we could tell she felt isolated, too,” said Doug. “It just made sense to get her more help.”

“So, my brother, my sister and I flew out to Vegas, and we went looking at facilities with my mom. We looked at about five or six we had whittled down.”

“At the end of the day, my mom is an old country girl. She doesn’t need anything highfalutin. She just needs someplace comfortable, I guess is the best way to put it. We let her make the decision. We found Holiday to be a perfect fit. Mom knew the minute she walked in.”

“I think the fact that we were able to get her into an environment where she’s made friends, and she can go up to bingo, and she can go sit for meals three times a day and have conversations… it’s been terrific.”

Doug and his siblings said they rest easier knowing that if their mom needs anything at all, she can talk to someone at the front desk and get help. They credit the community’s Engage Life coordinator with putting the family at ease from the start.

“Mom’s a pretty good judge of character, and she trusted Millie right away,” said Doug.

“Since she’s lived at Holiday, she’s a lot more spirited,” said Doug. “She’s not calling us every five minutes complaining about this or that. She’s happy.”

Doug said that along with the good food, the affordability was a big factor.

“I feel like Mom is in a solid place she loves. That’s huge to us.”

Lisa, left, smiles for the camera with mother Kira at Holiday.
Lisa, left, smiles for the camera with mother Kira at Holiday.

Kira loves living closer to family and sharing good times with new friends.

Lisa’s mother Kira is a survivor. As a Polish refugee who immigrated to the United States after World War II, she is fluent in five languages and worked for Steelcase, a global manufacturing company, while raising seven children. Kira has led a vibrant, fascinating and fiercely independent life.

But at 86, Kira could no longer manage well on her own. She didn’t drive, and family noticed she wasn’t taking proper care of her health or her finances. Often, Kira’s only meal of the day was a single hot dog.

“She lived about 40 miles south, and we really wanted her here in Grand Rapids so she could be close to family, to her grandkids and great-grandkids,” said Lisa. “So we started looking around.”

Lisa visited several senior living communities in the area. When she walked into Holiday, she knew.

“The atmosphere felt right,” said Lisa. “My dad has been gone for about 12 years now, but this is the kind of environment he always provided for Mom – luxury, affordable luxury. It’s very comfortable and feels like home.”

But Kira wasn’t sold on the idea.

“She was really struggling with having to move out of her long-time home and cried a lot during our visit,” said Lisa. “She was terrified.”

During a tour of the community, residents joined Kira and encouraged her. They described what it was like living there and urged her to give it a try. Kira and Lisa ended up staying to join a “Positivi-Tea” party, and as Lisa said, that was it. Kira signed a lease and never looked back.

“She loves it there and is so glad she made the move,” said Lisa.

“I can’t imagine my mom anywhere else. The residents look out for each other. The staff looks out for everybody. And they all know me. They let me know when there’s something that needs tending to with my mom,” said Lisa.

“I feel like it’s a very safe environment, which, besides staff treating people with dignity, is the number one issue for me.”

When she’s not busy with her beloved bingo, Kira loves swapping stories with fellow Steelcase retirees who live at Holiday. She enjoys the variety of community activities and has made friends.

And Lisa, who is visually impaired, is thrilled to have her mother close by for visits.

“I just jump on a city bus and I can spend the day there,” said Lisa. “It’s been good for both of us.”

Lisa said the staff are so kind that they “don’t work” at the community, they “love there.”

“They care about every one of the residents,” said Lisa. “And they show respect to family members. Every other place we visited, I didn’t get that feeling. So the deciding factor here was more of a feeling.”

Knowing care was available onsite, if needed, was another perk. After Kira’s recent stay in the hospital, Lisa was able to easily arrange care for her through a third-party care provider inside the building.

“Her medications were really confusing,” said Lisa. “But I didn’t have to go calling around and looking for someone to help with that. I just walked over and talked to the care team about managing her meds. And they’re always available, which is really important.”

“It’s peace of mind for our family, without a doubt,” said Lisa. “I guess that’s what I mean about feeling like mom’s safe.”

If your family is considering senior living for an aging family member that offers plenty of things to do for retirees, we can help. Find a Holiday by Atria community near you and schedule a visit today.

Top Articles