August 19, 2015 // 2:02 PM

The Interview

Written by Scott Miller

We have a weekend Resident Services position open at the moment. Last week a woman stopped in for an interview and our conversation simply confirmed all the reasons I love being a part of Garden Spot Village. GSV is different. We hear people say that all the time. We regularly have people say, “we’ve visited fifteen retirement communities and there is nothing else like Garden Spot Village, this is by far the best retirement community we’ve seen.” For years I’ve tried to put my finger on what that is and I think I may be getting close. Our mission is to “Enrich the Lives of Older Adults as an Expression of Christ’s Love.” We work hard to fulfill that mission. We believe that lives are enriched when people have the opportunity to live with purpose. Purpose comes from serving and feeling like we’re making a contribution to the lives of others, the community and/or the world. It’s why we sponsor resident driven programs like “Making a Difference,” mission trips to Honduras and the Dominican Republic, why we build houses for homeless families, why we have a product incubator Vision and Design team (in personal care!) that tests product ideas for female heads of households in Bangladesh, to name a few! The undertaking and results of those types of initiatives give people’s lives meaning.

One of the many creations from the Mountain View Vision and Design Team.

The recurring result of our obsession with our mission is that we help people make the most of their post career years! We help people find new meaning in their lives. People who live say their life is far better than living anywhere else.

I asked the question, “why are you interested in this position?” Her answer: “A couple of years ago my husband and I downsized and moved to a rancher. I just retired. I was a nurse and I need something to do. I don’t want the stress of being a nurse and I’m tired of sitting around the house. My husband retired several years ago. Now we’re both “just” home and there’s nothing to do. Boy, am I ever glad he has a woodshop in the basement!” she said, rolling her eyes. “Do you know what I miss? I miss being around other people.”

The people here at GSV don’t have her problems; there is plenty to do and plenty of others to do it with. But it’s more than that. Her career had provided her life with meaning and purpose. She had a reason to get out of bed every morning. That’s no longer the case. Her days are now long and boring. It’s the modern day plague of retirement. She is searching for something that will infuse some meaning back into her life. She realized that a least of piece of that puzzle is cultivating relationships with others. Will she find what she is looking for? I don’t know. Her and her husband may end up being some of the growing number of people whose lives wither away because one or both of them can’t find something that provides meaning in their lives or because it’s easier to do nothing and simply drift through the years ahead.

Volunteer group to help the Mennonite Central Committee

What I do know is that the culture at Garden Spot Village is a culture of engagement. You don’t have to go responding to job listings on the internet and hope to find a low stress job, where you don’t have to work too hard and you can make friends. Garden Spot Village is not an “old people place.” There are people of all ages and they are actively engaged in life. If someone is looking for something to do at GSV there is a calendar full of opportunities. It they are looking for something more than that all they have to do is stop at Volunteer Services. If there isn’t an opportunity that interests them our volunteer services team goes about trying to find or create one that does.

As I described Garden Spot Village to her, she half-jokingly asked, “Where can I get an application?” Quickly followed by, “My husband will never want to leave our house,” and a touch of sadness echoed in her voice. I could tell in that moment she was feeling trapped. But that’s a topic for another blog.

She helped me realize that our mission “To Enrich the Lives of Older Adults as an Expression of Christ’s Love,” plays out by enabling people to make the most of their post career years. I love providing people with the opportunity to live a better life. It’s why I love being a part of Garden Spot Village.

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