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Living close to her mom makes it easier for them to attend Happy Hour together, every Wednesday night without fail. “My mom makes sure nothing interferes with her Wednesday schedule,” said Nancy Hornay, who moved to one of the garden homes at Friendship Village senior living community with her husband Jerry, last fall. Across the street in the main building, is Nancy’s mother Kay Harlow, who at 104 years old is going strong and involved in virtually every possible program and activity. “Everyone knows her at Friendship Village. She’s sort of like the Friendship Village mayor,” said Nancy.
Nancy and Jerry, who waited for three years for a garden home to become available, said that it was well worth the wait. The sprawling two-bedroom with a den home has an open floor plan, high ceilings, upscale amenities and patio. “I liked the idea of having my flowers and outdoor space and enough room to entertain,” said Nancy, adding that Jerry uses the den as his man-cave.
Nancy and Jerry had worked in hospital administration in the Chicago North Shore area for many years until 1988. “We were literally one of those couples who woke up one morning, and both said, ‘I hate my job.’ We called in sick, drove to Saugatuck, Michigan, found an old building from 1860 that had been a lumberman’s boarding house. We bought it. We converted it into a six-room bed and breakfast and ran it for 11 years. We loved it,” she said. Kay accompanied them, living in an on-site apartment.
In 1999, Nancy said, “we retired again and moved to Del Webb community in Huntley.” Kay lived in a small unit down the street from them. After Kay’s 101st birthday in 2016, she moved to Friendship Village.
Nancy said that around that same time, she and Jerry decided that they didn’t want to depend on their five children to worry and take care of them as they aged. “We looked at several retirement communities. Del Webb has a lot of communities come on site and give presentations. We liked Friendship Village the best,” she said. The fact that Friendship Village is a Life Plan Community offering all levels of care should their needs change, was very important in their decision-making. Nancy added that some people are intimidated by the size of the senior living community, “but we really liked that. There are so many choices and opportunities, and you’re able to be as involved as you’d like.”
For Nancy and Jerry, that means very involved. “I volunteer for everything. I go to Briarwood Healthcare Center to visit some of the residents, I’m an ambassador for new residents in independent living, and I help out wherever anyone needs me. There are wonderful cooking classes in the teaching kitchen at the new Mosaic Restaurant,” she said. “Jerry plays bridge several times a week and swims in Friendship Village’s aquatic center. He also sings in the Friendship Village Choir. Together we attend performances and presentations and have gone on outings including to a recent Cubs game.”
Nancy visits with her mom every day. She said that while she and her mom have established their own circle of friends, they run into each other often at programs. “That’s absolutely fun,” Nancy said, adding, “My mom likes to go on the outings to casinos. I usually accompany her, but the one time I didn’t, she won $210. I learned about that from everyone else on the trip.”
Commenting on the staff at Friendship Village, Nancy said. “I find everybody without exception, to be professional, friendly, and responsible. They really take care of everything without delay.”
Nancy said that she and Jerry have settled in well in their new home. “Every day that goes by we’re more and more sure that we made a great decision!”