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“Do Yourself a Favor and Don’t Wait Too Long to Move Here” A Conversation with a Melrose Meadows Res

Lucy Murphy knows more than a little bit when it comes to senior living. After all, she used to be a consultant to nursing homes back in the day, so she understands what makes a community great. Which is why we’re so lucky and happy to have her as a dedicated and essential part of our Melrose Meadows community–and why she’s a great example of what it means to play an active part in making your senior years great.

Lucy, a retired dietician, reviews the upcoming season’s menu with Culinary Coordinator Jim Siewert.

“My husband and I moved to Melrose when we needed to be near a medical center for our health,” she says. Prior to her move to Melrose Meadows, she and her husband lived in the lovely little community of Chillicothe, MO. “It just made sense to move here because my daughter and her family live in Iowa City and she’s on staff at a nearby hospital. Melrose had everything we were looking for, so we decided to make it our home.”

Although they loved their Chillicothe community, Lucy and her husband knew years ago that they would eventually move to a senior living community near one of their children. “When my mother was alive, she lived near St. Louis, which was 250 miles away from our town,” she says. “She loved visiting our little town, but she absolutely refused to move there. My husband and I ended up having to put lots of miles on the car going back and forth to look after her needs. I promised myself way back then that I would never expect my children to do that for us.”

While moving to a senior living community wasn’t a difficult decision for Lucy and her husband, there were aspects that were still hard, especially the “giving up” part of moving away. “It all came down to our stuff and our friends,” she says. “Your stuff, though, is just stuff. I don’t care how valuable it is; in the end, it’s just stuff. Leaving your friends, church and community is what’s a lot harder to leave behind. But you have to realize that in this life, we have steps we need to take, and we have to accept what the years have brought on in order to move forward.”

In other words, it’s all about accepting life as it comes. And Lucy’s positive attitude and “moving forward” approach to life has served her well at Melrose Meadows. Any day of the week, you’ll find her involved in something, whether it’s heading to the University of Iowa attending a class at “Senior College” (this month it’s a music appreciation class lead by the symphony director), being a pen pal to a local second grader, volunteering as a practice patient for a medical student or leading her “Coffee and Chat” circle that she founded five years ago.

“The opportunities that we have at Melrose are wonderful,” Lucy says. (She especially loves that she’s able to get out and do things, thanks to Melrose’s transportation services.) “Iowa City is such a diverse population, and because we have the colleges here, we get a lot of contact with younger people. A lot of our servers here at Melrose either go to the nearby high school or are attending college, and it’s so fun and rejuvenating to be around their energy, hear their stories and get to know them.

Lucy gets some help prepping her raised garden bed from high school volunteer Casey Marvin.

Consultant Lucy gives Melrose an A+ for…well, everything. “It’s an excellent facility. When I was a consultant, I saw so many places with high turnover. Here, we have a stable staff with excellent activities and caring ways. It’s a smaller community, so we all become like family. We know each other, trust each other and care for each other and that makes it so nice.”

Resident Lucy says Melrose is like the excitement of moving into a college dorm. “You come here and you don’t know anybody, and you find out you have a lot in common with so many people. There are just such interesting people here, and the staff is so great at helping you get out and do the things you want to do and find opportunities.”

When asked what she would tell others who are considering moving to a community like Melrose, but aren’t sure if now is the right time, Lucy doesn’t hesitate.

“Don’t wait too long,” she says. “Do it when you can make friends, participate in activities and can get out and do things.” She speaks of her friend who just recently moved into a senior living community, but waited until her health was at a point when it was almost too late for her to participate in community life. “If you wait until you’re not able to get out and make friends or get around, you’ll miss out on building those connections.”

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