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Gaining independence thanks to assisted living: Eileen’s story

Meeting people where they are at is important to us at Presbyterian Homes & Services. That’s why, in a recent interview with a resident named Eileen, we felt blessed to hear her inspiring testimony. After moving to assisted living, Eileen gained independence — and peace of mind.

Life Enrichment Director Gretchen Tieu and Eileen at EagleCrest in Roseville Minnesota
From left: Life Enrichment Director Gretchen Tieu and Eileen at EagleCrest in Roseville, MN
Three years ago, Eileen moved to an assisted living apartment at EagleCrest in Roseville, MN. Now asked what she has gained, she pauses and answers in one word, “Peace.”

Before she moved to assisted living, Eileen began feeling unsafe at home alone.
Eileen explains she decided to move “because I was not able to feed myself anymore.” With a condition that affects the use of her hands, Eileen also could no longer drive.

She described feeling anxious at home alone, after her husband passed away. “I had to ask people for rides all the time,” she said.

That’s when a visit to the nurse resulted in a life-changing conversation. Eileen recalls, “My nurse put her hand on my knee and said, ‘Eileen, it’s time you seek alternate housing.’”

Eileen has a life goal to provide loving service to others.
The news felt shocking to Eileen. All her life, she has been focused on what she could do for others. She was a minister’s wife and, in addition to raising two children of their own, she and her husband fostered nine others. Eileen also taught first grade, sang solos at church and volunteered at the hospital.

Still, Eileen says she “never fussed” about the transition to assisted living and gave time to adjusting. It wasn’t long before she began to feel comfortable again and explore how to contribute to her new community.

At home at EagleCrest, Eileen felt safe again … so she began to experiment.
Much to her surprise, shortly after moving, Eileen made an important discovery that immediately boosted her independence. With the use of an assistive device, she gained use of her hands just long enough to enjoy mealtime by herself. Now she dines without assistance and freely enjoys the company of neighbors!

Now Eileen welcomes new neighbors as an ambassador.
With a heart overflowing with gratitude, Eileen introduces herself to new residents of EagleCrest. She encourages them to get connected by engaging in the variety of activities the community has to offer.

That’s when she tells her one-liner. “I attends ALL activities but two: the men’s club and Catholic services, because I am neither.” 😉

Life Enrichment Director Gretchen Tieu says of Eileen, “You really get what you put into it, and Eileen puts everything out there.” Turning to Eileen, Gretchen thanks her for volunteering in so many ways and adds with a smile of gratitude, “You’re a big contributor to our community.

Eileen with artwork of first day of heavenPeace of mind helps Eileen focus on living her best life.
Eileen can now live more fully because she has peace. She reflects, “It allows me to go to everything I want to go to. To do what I want to do.”

But there’s one event she won’t miss — and it’s not happening at EagleCrest. “Sometimes staff come and ask me to go to something and I say, ‘No, I’m watching the Twins!’”

Eileen lives with hope for full and lasting freedom and independence one day.
In her peaceful, light-filled apartment, Eileen holds a beloved framed print titled “First Day in Heaven” by artist Kerolos Safwat. “When I see Jesus,” says Eileen with hearty laughter, “the first thing I’m going to do is look at my hands, and I’m going to sing!”

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

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