An Exciting Life for one Assisted Living Resident
When describing her life experiences thus far, Muriel ‘Sandy’ Solberg can often be heard using the word “fantastic.” And the time she has spent as a resident of The Maples of Towson is certainly no exception as Sandy finds herself surrounded by an array of individuals with their own unique histories.
One of Sandy’s favorite memories growing up in Minneapolis, Minn. was seeing Roosevelt when he campaigned in her hometown and St. Paul in the 1930s. “He was in an open car with his wife and we just thought it was so exciting,” she said.
After graduating high school, she worked for the Dayton Company for over two years, a job she was thankful to have as Americans were overcoming the Depression. When WWII started, however, she enlisted in the Navy at age 20 with the help of her father and left her hometown for boot camp.
“Here I was this little girl getting out of Minnesota for the first time and I was in New York City,” Sandy said with a smile. Through the Navy, she was able to attend college in Millersville, Ga. and was eventually assigned to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station where she handled payroll for all of the sailors and seamen.
There, she met Donald, an accountant who was also in the Navy. They married in her hometown and had two daughters. Over the years, he worked for the Internal Revenue Service and later started his own business. Sandy enjoyed working for him while the couple frequently made trips to their house in Ocean City, NJ.
It was almost overnight that Sandy said she noticed a change in Donald. “One time he got lost driving somewhere he’d been hundreds of times,” she said. In addition to showing signs of dementia, he had experienced falling incidents, for which he had to receive minor surgery.
When Donald passed away, Sandy stayed at their home for a year and half before deciding to make a transition. With the help of her daughters who visited often, she found The Maples of Towson, an assisted living community that could offer her a maintenance-free lifestyle and a more active environment.
“Fortunately, even in this bad market, our house sold right away,” said Sandy. “When I arrived here, it was so much better than being alone in a big house.”
It was especially important for Sandy to meet other people, since at the age of 88, she said she is now either too far away from her friends or has outlived most of them. With a smaller size of 70 to 80 residents at The Maples, she has found it that much easier getting to know her peers.
“Some of them are absolutely fascinating. We have someone here that was captured in WWII and was a prisoner in one of Hitler’s concentration camps,” she said. “We’re all from different parts of the Union and have somehow come to The Maples.”
As she enjoys interacting with her fellow residents, she also takes advantage of seeing her family, who will come and stay with her, or take her to Ocean City for a few days. The opportunity to venture off-campus is something she especially appreciates, since the community’s convenient location to Towson Plaza and the library was among the perks that appealed to Sandy and her family.
When she is not venturing out to the local restaurants and shops, Sandy, who enjoys sewing and playing the piano, has the flexibility of being as active at The Maples as she chooses. “I have so much to do writing letters, but I’m getting into the activities more and I’ve watched a few performances,” she said.
Most importantly, she can participate in the variety of stimulating activities knowing she has access to a full range of care options. At The Maples, the team of care providers works closely with residents, families and health care professionals to develop personalized service plans based on an individual’s needs, desires and abilities. Residents can also receive assistance with activities of daily living or take advantage of other onsite medical services such as diagnostic services and physical therapies.
In addition to comprehensive care, Sandy enjoys numerous amenities which include three daily meals, housekeeping, laundry services and a state-of-the-art emergency call system. She can also be seen utilizing the beauty shop or reading in the small library where people have contributed various books.
“You don’t have to cook or clean, and after cooking so long, I don’t miss it at all,” she said. “I’ve heard about other people not as happy with how the staff takes care of them in other retirement homes; I’m very satisfied here.”
From seeing a future president to her service in the Navy, there is no question Sandy has led an eventful life. Among those experiences she can look back fondly on is her decision to take the next step and look into a new housing option. While this is a transition others often find difficult, Sandy can say that with the supportive and stimulating environment she has found at The Maples, life continues to be fascinating.
“So far, I’m very happy,” she said.