Sometimes you just need to invent your own holiday and that’s exactly what we did to recognize the amazing team members at our communities. We wanted to find a way to let them know that we appreciate all they do and that’s when it came to us. How about Thinking of You Day? A day to recognize their efforts and to let them know that the support crew in the Seattle office is, well, thinking of them?
We quickly decided that the best way to show the teams at our communities that we are thinking of them was with something delicious. So we concocted a plan to surprise them with a special lunch delivery. With 27 communities in six states, we had some logistics to work through to make it happen. We brought our brightest minds together and figured out a way to get the chow to each of our communities.
Merrill Gardens at The University chowing down!
The surprise went well and we hope our team members felt the appreciation that came with the meal! Our teams are the heart and soul of our communities and we recognize their commitment every day. Thinking of You Day just made it official. And who knows, maybe this holiday will really catch on!
“There is no give up in my dad…in his mind, he’s still that Olympic athlete,” says Laura Gambucci of her 87 year old father.
Her dad is Andre Gambucci, a hockey player who took up the game when he was four years old. He played college hockey for Colorado College where he also played football, finishing fourth in scoring nationally in 1952 with 16 touchdowns.
That was the year he was named to the U.S. Olympic hockey team which won the silver medal. Andre says the team faced controversy when they were criticized for their rough style of play. Body checking was legal but it was not commonly used by the European teams and opponents and spectators did not like that style of play.
Still, traveling to Oslo, Norway and winning a silver medal was quite the accomplishment. Following the Olympics, Andre stayed with the game, becoming a referee for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Laura says some of her fondest childhood memories are of traveling with her dad to hockey games.
Andre was also honored in 2010 when he was asked to be part of the Torch Run for the Salt Lake City Olympics.
Today, Andre lives at the Merrill Gardens community in Goodyear, Arizona and daughter Laura lives nearby. He loves sharing his Olympic experience with team members and other residents and we are thrilled to be able to tell his story.
You can watch the interview with Andre and Laura here.
A large crowd was on hand to help us officially kick off construction for our new community in Auburn, WA. On a beautiful spring afternoon officials from the City of Auburn and Merrill Gardens welcomed guests to the official groundbreaking for the independent living, assisted living and memory care community that will be open next summer.
Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus said the new community will bring true intergenerational living to downtown Auburn and praised the great cooperation from development partners Pillar Properties (Merrill Gardens sister company) and Teutsch Partners. Those two companies will oversee the construction of the community which is expected to last about 14 months.
Merrill Gardens President Dave Eskenazy said that while the building will be beautiful, the real magic will happen when team members are able to welcome residents to their new home.
Eskenazy led the crowd in the official dirt turning and with that the project is underway!
You can watch the video from the groundbreaking below.
Our newest community welcomed residents with a grand opening party that featured spectacular food prepared by a team of chefs from other Merrill Gardens communities who flew in for the event.
The chefs came together to prepare a feast for the 200 guests who attended the grand opening and they did an amazing job.
The Groves, A Merrill Gardens community is located is Goodyear, Arizona and guests got to tour the beautiful new community and see the private apartments and spacious common areas and outdoor spaces.
The grand opening event featured entertainment and a ceremonial ribbon cutting with representative from Goodyear.
Guests raved about the beautiful new community that will be home to over 150 senior residents. The community offers independent living, assisted living and memory care along with Merrill Gardens signature Anytime Dining program. Residents can dine on their own schedule and enjoy nutritious meals in the community dining room from 7am to 7pm with no set meal hours.
The grand opening was attended by Merrill Gardens president David Eskenazy who praised the community team for their hard work in bringing the community to life.
For more information about The Groves, call 623-208-5655 or click here. Check out our video from the grand opening below!
When it comes to life’s big questions, it helps to ask those with experience. And our residents have lots of experience! That’s why we have been visiting our communities and interviewing them about the things that really matter in life for our video series entitled Words from the Wise.
In our latest video we asked residents to reflect on their long lives and share what they believe you can do to be truly happy. Their answers are straight from the heart as they provide advice we can use every day. Its so easy to get tangled up in our daily struggles but watch the video and hear from people who know what really matters.
“If you want to find happiness, I’ll tell you the way. Don’t live for tomorrow until you live for today,” says Ed Stokes who was born in 1920.
We think that Ed, who lives at our community in Lafayette, California is a very wise man. He also believes that if you give out love, you’re going to receive twice as much. He is so right. We love you Ed!
With a feisty attitude and a zest for living, 100 year old Luella Shell is a force of nature. She does not let a little thing like getting older get in her way, though she did give up water skiing when she turned 80. She still loves to dance in her high heels and wear her favorite flashy purple outfits. Luella is always the life of the party and her exceptional outlook earned her the title of Most Inspirational Senior 2014 as voted on by the readers of Seniorhomes.com.
Luella truly knows how to embrace life and that’s why we wanted to feature her in our video series. We are so lucky to have Luella living with us at our Santa Maria, CA community where she is a true inspiration to other residents and our team members. As you can see from the video, she knows how to have a good time and she reminds us all to Enjoy More. Heck, she seems to have more energy than many people half her age!
We know you will enjoy Luella’s story and we encourage you to share with someone you know who could use some Words from the Wise!
When you look back at your life, what will have mattered most to you? What if we considered this possibility now? We decided to ask the people who live at Merrill Gardens to share their wisdom with us and we are so pleased to introduce our Words from the Wise video series. Through these interviews with residents, we celebrate their lifetime of experiences and the joy that’s possible at every stage of life.
Words from the Wise gives Merrill Gardens residents center stage as they share their insight with candor in our first video focusing on advice for young people. These seniors speak from the heart as they share what really matters.
We’ve traveled to our communities for the past few months to bring this video series to life. We asked lots of questions and it’s been truly enlightening. Talking to people who who were born in the 1920’s and giving them an opportunity to reflect on their lives and share what they have learned is a privilege. Its also been a whole lot of fun to set up our cameras, ask some questions and just see where it goes!
We hope these videos in some small way communicate the life stories and experiences of those who came before us. As they share their dearest thoughts and reflect on their lives, we can learn so much in return. Its such an honor for us to share these stories.
“My advice is… pick the way you are going to go and don’t be deterred. If its what you really want, stick up for it.. and do it.” Leta Mertes, born in 1923
“I have always been a great advocate of paying it forward. I think if we help our fellow human beings and require that they help someone down the line, that would go a long way in curing the ills that we have… if people would just take a better attitude towards each other.” Tom Tompkins, born in 1926
“You meet people from all walks of life, and you learn a lot about yourself by meeting other people. They come from all over the world, the country and everything like that… each one has a story to tell.” Joan and Vince Cangiano, born in 1926, married for 56 years For many of us, growing older is a scary thought and our society doesn’t always do a good job of honoring those who have come before us. We want our video series to shine a new light on the joy that comes from reflecting back on a life well lived. We think you will love getting to know the people we profile as much as we did!
Making new connections is important no matter what age you are. Residents at our communities in Willow Glen and Gilroy, California, had the chance to share some special connections recently when they gathered for a unique speed dating event.
Inspired by the new movie The Age of Love that follows the humorous and poignant adventures of thirty seniors in New York who sign up for a speed dating event, the Merrill Gardens residents enjoyed the chance to embark on new relationships. The day started with some of the ladies getting spruced up with the help of cosmetology school volunteers. The 20 women and 11 men enjoyed lunch together before getting down to the business of speed dating. They called it a friendship activity and the idea was to give the residents a fun way to get to know each other.
As you can see from the pictures, the event was a big success and a great way to make new connections. Participants said they liked the format that allowed them to meet so many people in such a short amount of time.
No word yet on whether any romances have bloomed as a result of the speed dating but we know some great new friendships were formed and that’s what really matters!All of the participants from both of the communities told us they had a wonderful time getting to know each other!
We welcomed our residents to their new home at our newest community in Lafayette, California with one heck of a party! We wish you could have joined us but click below to watch the video and it will feel just like you were there. Except that you did not get to taste the wonderful food our dining team put together!
We hate to brag but we think our new community is just beautiful and we are so pleased that residents feel the same way! We had a big crowd from the Lafayette area join us for the party and our team was just thrilled to show off our beautiful apartments and all the amenities at the community.
We are also excited to share this article from the local paper that profiles one couple that is settling into their new home very nicely. Click here to read about Lois and Marvin’s transition to our community.
If you would like more information about Merrill Gardens at Lafayette, visit our website here or give our team a call at 925-298-2779. We would love to give you a tour!
Our community in Santa Maria, CA threw quite a bash for a very special resident when she celebrated her 100th birthday.
Luella Shell was surrounded by her family and friends at her party as everyone marveled at her energy. Luella was named the Inspirational Senior of the Year for 2014 and spend just a few minutes with her and its easy to see why. She loves to dance and still wears her signature high heels.
The team members at Merrill Gardens at Santa Maria say that Luella always has a smile on her face and is an inspiration to them everyday.