From the Big Easy to The Windy City, Southern Charm Midwest Style

Lyn and Phil will always be Southerners at heart, but the Midwest has become their true heartland.

The couple moved to The Oaks a year and a half ago to be closer to their daughter and grandkids, but also because they wanted a life enriched with friends, a sense of community, and a place where home doesn’t include routine maintenance and yardwork. They want to spend their retirement together focused on what matters most…and interests them both.

Phil retired from active duty in the Air Force and worked for Pan Am as a mechanic for several decades. Living around the country as his career progressed, he and Lyn appreciated the opportunity to experience life across the U.S., but when they were ready to settle into retirement, they wanted to be part of a community where they could put down roots, build friendships, and be close to family.

After researching several senior living communities, they found The Oaks and knew they were home. “During our first visit, strangers waved hello, greeted us, and encouraged us to move in,” Phil said. “On our tour, we felt welcomed and instantly had a sense of belonging and friendship that was unexpected but very much what we were looking for; It was perfect for the next chapter of our life.”

Lyn and Phil enjoy having people over, so they needed a home that was roomy and comfortable enough to entertain family and friends. When they decided on The Oaks, they were happy not to have to give up a favorite hobby, cooking, because The Oaks offers the best of both worlds – eat at home or in the lively dining room with other residents. “One of the benefits of living here is not having to cook every day, but when you want to do it for your daughter and grandkids, it’s easy and there’s plenty of room,” Lyn said.

“But don’t get me wrong,” she added, “the dining room is one of our favorite parts of the community. The chef is just a jewel.” She and Phil have even worked with him to create southern dishes like jambalaya, with a gumbo up next, using a family recipe and Lyn’s “dash of this and dash of that” mix of ingredients.

The Oaks offered all the amenities Lyn and Phil were looking for, and some they weren’t.

Midwest winters were not a concern, as The Oaks provides transportation to local destinations, festivals, and shopping outlets, as well as entertainment venues. As for healthcare, they have the choice of onsite medical resources, or they can take advantage of transportation and go to their own doctors’ offices for appointments. “It was important to have this flexibility and convenience,” Phil added.

The range of activities also means there are plenty of options onsite or venturing out with friends.

Phil loves meeting the guys for a game of poker or a round of golf, while Lyn is happy gathering with her ladies for card games and crafts. She loves the seasonal sessions where they make wreaths, ornaments, and other decorations depending on the holiday.

Lyn and Phil also take advantage of the spiritual life offered at The Oaks. Sacred Heart Chapel is unique, as it’s a full-size chapel just for the residents and is supported by volunteers who organize a wide range of activities, liturgies, and lectures to support the spiritual needs of all our residents.

It’s safe to say these two are living their best life!  

“Their Louisiana roots bring a fun energy to our community with events like Mardi Gras, complete with beads, masks, and food used to celebrate Fat Tuesday,” said Executive Director Joan Peterson. “We’re lucky to have residents like Lyn and Phil who are willing to share their experiences with the rest of the community residents.”

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