If home is where the heart is, Verena Long’s heart has found a new home at Savannah Court in Maitland. The 74-year-old German émigré lived many places since coming to the United States in 1960, but she says her life now at Savannah Court is as full and active as ever.
As a young adult, Verena spent time in the classroom teaching children French and German, but after eight years she left to raise her family. Her love for children and teaching continued throughout her life, and as Verena reached retirement age, she found herself in the classroom once again as a volunteer grandma at an elementary school in DeLand.
It was about that time Verena started noticing tremors in her hands. She fell several times in the classroom as well as at home. She was eventually diagnosed with early stages of Parkinson’s disease. By then Verena was living with her son, but over time it became apparent to her three adult children that their mom needed professional care in an environment that would allow Verena to thrive and enjoy her life.
“My daughter began looking for places,” Verena says. “After visiting many senior living facilities, she felt Savannah Court would best meet my needs. I took a tour and saw for myself how nice and well-managed everything was. I especially liked the outdoor garden area where you could take walks and sit and talk with people.”
Shortly after moving in, Verena fell again, but she credits the nurses and medical techs at Savannah Cove, Savannah Court’s skilled nursing and rehab center, for helping her walk and improve her handwriting. Six weeks later, with the help of medication and physical therapy, Verena was back in Savannah Court’s assisted living suites, surprising even her doctor with her progress.
Today, Verena enjoys an active and fulfilling lifestyle.
“I start each day with breakfast, then I go to group exercise,” Verena explains. “Before lunch, I play word games with some of the other residents. Sometimes we participate in sing-a-longs.
“And I love the great snacks, too,” Verena adds with a grin. “Especially the root beer floats.”
Sometimes Verena retires to her room to write or read, but it’s not long before she ventures out again for trivia games, a walk in the garden, or to teach German to some of the residents.
“I don’t have time to get bored or lonely,” Verena says. “It’s home now, and I’m part of a big family here.”