He grew up milking dairy cows, slopping hogs, gathering eggs and husking corn. He ate homemade bread, meat raised and butchered at home and drank unpasteurized milk. Elmer went to church every Sunday and when Uncle Sam called him to unknown corners of the world during the war he did not hesitate.

Elmer married, went to college on the GI Bill, taught history to city kids, raised his children and had grandchildren and great grandchildren. He is imbedded with what is recognized as solid “Midwestern Values.” After celebrating sixty years of marriage and the loss of his wife, Elmer made the decision and moved to an Independent Living Community. His only expectation? He had to remain Elmer.

A Senior Living Community offers Elmer choices for maintaining and preserving his identity. He, like other Seniors, has spent a lifetime creating himself. In Senior Living residents discover activities, services and amenities addressing their talents and lifestyles. Communities are safe and have established routines such as daily social events and regular meal times. Someone else is in charge of the worries of home maintenance.

Elmer now has time for exercise routines recommended by his physician. The Fitness Room tracks his steps and has now hung his picture on the wall of fitness fame. He has stopped worrying about the cost of groceries and consumption of leftovers as there is an entire menu of fresh options on the restaurant menu and free ice cream 24/7. Peers enjoy sharing food and fellowship at mealtimes.

Being with others of similar values enables Elmer to be comfortable talking about his dreams and renewed purpose. Every farmer has an opinion on the weather and the price of corn. Staff even enjoys giving him a ribbing about his collection of toy John Deere tractors. Elmer is quite the card player and brags unconscionably about his winnings. Once he charmed a table of women with his memories of a post war Paris and the romance he found. He now has a constant companion at social events (you do remember Martha from previous blogs?) and enjoys sharing an evening at the theater with her…even if it is only a John Wayne movie. During the summer Elmer may be found digging in the dirt as his community has elevated flower beds. He’s sneaked in a few radishes but it feels so good, so alive to get his hands dirty and feel the sun on his shoulders.

The point of Elmer’s story is to illustrate how valuable life is and how, if we look in the right places, we will never lose our identities. Elmer is important. Each individual is important!

When beginning a search for the right place at the right time…make the right decision. Contact Bridge to Better Living®. We want you to be you!