A Perfect Palace: Assisted Living

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grandmother in assisted living“He always wants to go down to the first floor where all the ladies are sitting,” says Julia Diehl. The grandstander she describes is not her husband or her particularly flirtatious grandson. He is her miniature French poodle, Sammy. Sammy has been the light in Mrs. Diehl’s life for over six years now-but only recently has he made the transition from adored pup to resident sovereign.

Earlier this year, Mrs. Diehl decided to move to Mifflin Court Assisted Living in Shillington, PA. Her move was motivated by the desire to be closer to her lifelong friend, who lives in nearby Reading. “I had moved back to Allentown, where I grew up, after my husband died, but as family and friends passed away, I found myself alone,” Mrs. Diehl said. When her friend suggested that she move closer, she did not hesitate. She explains, “We’ve been friends for 51 years, and I’m very close to her daughter too. I knew they would take care of me.”

Mrs. Diehl also knew she would adjust quickly to a new community. An outgoing personality was essential in her line of work. She was a salesperson for her entire career. At age 16, Mrs. Diehl started as a sales clerk in a local department store. Later, her she opened a specialty store with her then-new husband and became an adept lingerie buyer.

When their store closed, she took her skills as a buyer to another department store, where she worked until her retirement. Working in the fashion industry offered unique opportunities. “It was fascinating work. For most of my career, I went to New York once a week-right down to the fabric markets, and I was always there for a couple of days for the opening of the season,” recalls Mrs. Diehl.

During her frequent trips to the city, she always made time to visit the theater and loved to sample the city’s many culinary delights. Back home, she spent her spare time designing and sewing much of her own wardrobe.

After retiring, Mrs. Diehl was able to devote more of her time to her pets. She notes, “I’ve always had dogs, but since retiring, I have had more time to spend with them.” Finding a retirement community that would appreciate her current, four-legged companion was essential.

Mrs. Diehl wanted to be closer to her friend, but it is only when she discovered that Mifflin Court welcomes dogs that she knew she was ready for a move. “The community allows dogs now, but Sammy is the first one here,” she says. Being first is just fine with Sammy, who “gets loads of attention.” Mrs. Diehl continues, “The community cat always runs away from him, but everyone else loves Sammy.”

Mrs. Diehl has no shortage of new friends either. “Everyone here is so nice and congenial. I have made lots of new friends,” she says. She and her new friends keep busy with a wide range of activities, including weekly entertainment in the community and local bus trips to a wide variety of destinations. Games, activities, and sewing classes are also on Mrs. Diehl’s schedule. Best of all, chores are not a part of her daily routine. She laughs as she says, “I don’t make the beds if I don’t want to. I just live here and enjoy it, and the maid service and all the staff take care of everything else.” She concludes, “This is the right place for me!”

Luckily, Sammy agrees wholeheartedly. “He practically drags me down to sitting room, so he can be with everyone,” she says. Mrs. Diehl has no problem obliging his demanding nature. After all, “Sammy is a king here,” she notes matter-of-factly. Sammy is certainly not objecting to the royal treatment, and Mrs. Diehl is happy to have found a community where they both feel at home. The king and his most loyal subject found the perfect palace.

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