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Community Life, Resident Spotlights

GreenFields Residents and Staff Truly are Family

It was a test, an extremely difficult test, but one that was passed with flying colors.

Carolyn and Eugene Lemaire were happily married for 71 years. The residents of GreenFields of Geneva made the decision to move to the senior living community even before it opened more than 11 years ago. “We became Charter Members, deciding to move in sight unseen because the building wasn’t completely built yet,” said Carolyn. “We had the opportunity to help with the design of our apartment. I was an art teacher for many years, so this really appealed to me.”

When Eugene passed away at the age of 93 this past May, Carolyn said, “It was kind of a test. People asked if I was going to move.” It was a logical question. Her children have moved out of the area, and she has no relatives in the area.

But family is not always related by blood.

“One of the best things about GreenFields is that it’s small enough to get to know everybody. We’ve been close friends with the people who moved in when we did, and ever since,” said Carolyn. “Everybody here is like family, so I’m in a good place,”

Carolyn, who is active at GreenFields and volunteers as a marketing ambassador, often hears prospective residents say they’re not ready to move in. “I am emphatic that you want to be healthy when you move in. You get to enjoy all of the amenities and make friends. Good friends,” she said.

Over the years, Eugene had earned the name ‘Banana Man.’ While grocery shopping several years ago, he bought bananas for fellow residents. Sometimes he bought in excess of 100/week. When he started feeling unwell, five of his friends at GreenFields stepped in and took over his banana gift giving.

An essential part of the relationships formed at GreenFields includes the staff.

Shortly after Eugene died, Carolyn said, she came downstairs for breakfast, knowing that seeing everyone would be difficult. “Cassie has been a server here since the very beginning. She and my husband had made really good friends. He took a liking to her. Cassie saw me that morning; her eyes were red from crying. That was a really emotional thing. And it made me remember how much the staff really cares about the residents.”

“The Lemaires have been a beloved part of the GreenFields community since the very beginning. Everyone talks about ‘family’ but here, our residents and staff truly are family, and watch out and care for each other,” said Tony Madl, Executive Director.

Carolyn said that in the lovely community, feeling like the residents and staff are family, she is confident that she’s in a good place. “We have had 11 really happy years here. It was a great decision to make and a great time to make it,” she said.

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