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When Marcia and Stanley Phillips decided to move to Gainesville for retirement, they chose the university town for its cultural focus and natural beauty. Marcia enjoyed kayaking on the nearby waterways, joining friends for book club and volunteering at Florida Museum’s Butterfly Rainforest.

Sadly, after 55 years of marriage Stanley passed away in 2009. “I quickly learned that dad did everything for mom,” Marcia’s daughter, Nanci, explained.

The sandwich generation

Nanci discovered that her mother was comfortable with her father making most of the day-to-day decisions, so in his absence, the decision-making became Nanci’s responsibility. “I became my dad,” Nanci said. Busy running her own public relations firm and raising a daughter with her husband, Nanci found herself in the “sandwich generation,” a time when adults care for their own children and their elderly parents.

“After dad passed away, I realized the enormity of everything,” Nanci said. “I had to learn about health insurance and deal with household issues.” Despite a supportive husband, Nanci felt the stress of being in the “sandwich generation” begin to build.

She also understood that the upkeep of her parents’ large home was too much to manage. “I knew that now was the time to take advantage of all the conveniences and amenities of a retirement community,” Nanci explained. Although Marcia needed time to adjust to the idea, mother and daughter agreed The Village at Gainesville was the right choice, and Marcia moved into an independent living apartment several months later.

Evolving needs

A social butterfly, Marcia quickly made friends, joined a mahjong group and took advantage of the amenities at The Village at Gainesville. However, when Marcia’s health needs changed over time, her doctor recommended assisted living for help with daily living needs, and soon after, Marcia and Nanci toured The Village at Gainesville’s assisted living apartments.

“At first, I offered to move mom back to our home,” Nanci said. “But she said to me, ‘This is where my community is.’” Nanci found the transition from independent living to assisted living easy. “The staff was amazing to work with,” Nanci said.

Even in assisted living, Marcia still attends concerts on campus, plays mahjong with her friends and goes to the grocery and drug store using The Village at Gainesville’s free transportation service.

Less stress and more fun

Nanci can breathe easier knowing that nurses oversee management of her mom’s medications—and Marcia’s own physician is available to see her at the on-site primary physician clinic. “The care of mom is a team effort,” Nanci shared. “With The Village at Gainesville, I now have a partner and it helps me to be a daughter again.”

Moreover, at 86, Marcia values her social circle at The Village and enjoys eating three meals a day in the dining room with a group of friends. And Nanci appreciates the opportunities her mom has for socialization and the abundance of life-enriching activities.

Last year, Andrae Ware, Assisted Living Activities Supervisor, arranged for Nanci to debut the movie, “The Last Resort,” to her mother and family members. The documentary spotlights the work of photographers Andy Sweet (Marcia’s nephew) and Gary Monroe, and it depicts the snowbirds who settled in Miami Beach in the 1950s and 60s. Andrae found the film so interesting that he added it to the assisted living activities calendar. As an added bonus, Ellen Sweet Moss, the photographer’s sister (who was also featured in the documentary), introduced the movie to the rest of the assisted living residents.

Nanci admits her mother loved sharing her nephew’s work with her friends and neighbors. As for Nanci, she cherishes the personal connection she and her mother have with the staff.

“It’s such a blessing having mom at The Village at Gainesville.”

If you want the very best for your parent or loved one, consider The Village at Gainesville, a senior living rental community that offers independent living, assisted living and memory support. Contact us online or call us at 352-548-3507 to learn more about our variety of residential options.