Today we share a story in our Better Together series about how the generous hospitality of a resident has led her friends to move into her community.
When Janet LaPlante was first introduced to Dickson Hollow in Menomonee Falls, Wis., it was no more than an office in a trailer and a big pile of soil. Janet and her husband Loyal reserved a senior independent apartment months before the doors opened. “My husband wasn’t well,” Janet remembered, “so our daughter encouraged us to move where we would have support.”
When they moved in November 2015, Janet and Loyal were among the earliest residents to move to Dickson Hollow. Sadly, Loyal passed away in 2017 and Janet faced her future — but not alone.
Since then, with Janet’s encouragement, eight of her friends have moved to Dickson Hollow — some of whom she has known since childhood. Dickson Hollow Housing Counselor Dena Kugel says, “Janet is a wonderful advocate for Dickson Hollow, always telling friends where she lives, how happy she is and why they should move in.”
Janet is humble about her influence, saying, “I simply invited them to my apartment and showed them around the place. They were impressed and moved in.”
Dena says that Janet is the perfect example of Dickson Hollow’s “Good Friends = Great Neighbors” initiative. This ambassador program encourages and equips residents to reach out to friends and introduce them to Dickson Hollow.
Janet isn’t shy about how much she loves living at Dickson Hollow. She says, “I’ve had a good relationship with the staff over the years. We have a lot of activities, and we’re doing something all the time.” She’s particularly glad that Brookfield Lutheran Church, where she has been a member for more than 50 years, leads a monthly worship service at Dickson Hollow.
Janet frequently invites friends and other prospective residents through the door of her fourth floor apartment that overlooks the surrounding woods. She tells them, “I chose this apartment because I like the view and enjoy watching the birds.”
Janet says that being together with her friends at Dickson Hollow has a positive impact on her and them. She exclaims, “It’s wonderful! We see each other all the time. We’ve picked up our bridge game, we exercise together and share meals regularly."
As a Dickson Hollow ambassador, Janet welcomes not only her friends, but other newcomers to the community. She explains, “Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve tried to get to know people’s names and help them feel like they belong.”
Find out how you or an older adult in your life can pursue purpose and joy at a PHS community in Minnesota, Iowa or Wisconsin. Visit our Find a Community page.
Read more about resident ambassadors.