Don and Mary’s Story

Don shares, “I love it here. It’s a little village, where hallways have street names and we can go to the library and the gym, just like any town! Every morning right after breakfast I do my NuStep program in the gym and work on my fitness. I trust everyone here. They know that I want to die here—the doctors and nurses know that and there is a list of what I want my doctors to know over at the nursing station. I also love the work we do with the RIA.”

“I’m part of the New Old Friend program where I meet medical students and just talk. Emily is my New Old Friend now, and we meet once a month. I’m positively proud that she’s considering Geriatric Medicine because of meeting me. I think that it helps young students and future doctors see older people differently. I also talk to graduate engineering students with the RIA and they even get me speaking at local schools and have students come and see us here. All because of the RIA.”

And Mary continues, “I was very pleased to be part of the Caregiver Think Tank with the RIA. The RIA has given our life a new direction, a direction we never would have taken. One student met me and Don and told us that we were a really optimistic and happy couple. That was pretty beautiful. It touches my heart because these young people are listening to our experiences. We feel really valued here. The people here are kind and they want to help. I’m also happy to help. I donate to the RIA because I’m impressed with the work they do. Research on aging is really important, so that we can create the best way of life for men like Don. And it’s urgent too, isn’t it? The system is strained now with our age group, how can they cope with the upcoming baby boomers? I feel good knowing that I’m doing my part.”

Don lives in the Village at University Gates, the long-term care home connected to the RIA building. He and his wife Mary have taken part in a number of RIA initiatives and have become fast friends of the RIA.