Friendship Village's Labyrinth

Betty Sanders

Betty Sanders recognized the irony of her own advice. In 2014, Sanders was the resident manager for a retirement community in Lake Geneva. “It was a nice community,” she said. “I remember I was showing some people around, and I heard myself saying to them, ‘You should really think about moving now so that you’re able to enjoy it.’ They were actually younger than I was, and I suddenly thought, ‘why don’t I take my own advice?’” Sanders had toured Friendship Village Schaumburg years earlier and “fell in love with it.” She decided that’s where she would make her home, and she’s never looked back. “I really do love it. I have friends here and am in every type of activity and program imaginable. I do all kinds of things.”

Currently, Sanders is responsible for introducing a unique treasure at Friendship Village to her fellow residents. Four years ago, Friendship Senior Options Foundation supported the construction of the Secret Garden, a beautiful enclosed green space. It includes a labyrinth, which is perhaps the most extraordinary feature of the serene haven. “I’ve been fascinated by labyrinths for many years. They have an interesting history,” said Sanders. “They’ve been around for 4,000 years. No one knows where or when exactly they started, but they became particularly popular during the Crusades, for people who were unable to travel to the Holy Land. Labyrinths were sometimes called the Walk to Jerusalem. They have a long history.”

Sanders explained that there’s a resurgence of interest in labyrinths. “Things move so fast these days. There seems to be a high stress level. People don’t seem able to disconnect. Labyrinths are a great way to disconnect and meditate. You put your cell phone away and walk the labyrinth and think about whatever you may be praying for or whatever kind of questions you are seeking answers for. There’s no wrong way to walk a labyrinth.”

Over the past several months, Sanders held introductory sessions about the labyrinth for more than 70 Friendship Village residents.“Many people didn’t know about the existence of the labyrinth. I’ve been asked to continue the sessions, which I’ll probably do this fall.”

Additionally, Sanders is involved with the Friendship Village TV crew, and, with a nod to her former profession as a popular radio co-host (with her late husband Bob), does live interviews of various residents. She also loves the Laff a Minute improv class at Friendship Village. “It makes you think. You have to be fast and it encourages you to be a ham. I also attend the weekly current events program. It’s interesting.” Also high on her list of activities, is taking advantage of the beautiful indoor pool at Friendship Village. “I love to swim and I also play water volleyball,” she said.

“I chose to come to Friendship Village to really live. I want to do as much as I can, otherwise, what’s the point in being here where there are so many things you can do. I came here to live!” Sanders said.