Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Broadway Mesa Village, a senior living community in Mesa, Arizona, became the setting for an inspiring tale of community strength. Three family members of residents at the community—Judy, Cathy, and Tricia—initiated their volunteer journeys, intending to spend more time with their loved ones during the pandemic. Little did they know that their volunteerism would blossom into something profound.
Volunteering Amidst Pandemic Restrictions for Family Connection
All three volunteers, who collaborate with the Life Enrichment Director, Teresa Hadley, independently came up with the idea to start volunteering during the pandemic. This allowed them to spend more quality time with their parents or in-laws, given the tighter visitation restrictions in place to safeguard residents from the virus.
Beyond Volunteering: Lifelong Friendships Form
Tragically, Judy and Cathy faced the loss of their parents, who were residents of the community. Despite their grief, both continued volunteering, having formed close bonds with other residents.
“You just become attached to them,” Judy explains. She developed strong friendships with two women who were fellow residents with her mother. “Now you have to become my second Mom,” she said to one of them after her mother passed away.
Cathy, having moved both parents to Broadway Mesa due to needing professional care for their health issues, continues to volunteer, driven by the tight bonds she formed. She expresses a particular fondness for residents known for being “gruff,” appreciating their honesty. “You make friendships here—you really do.”
Tricia, the third volunteer, echoes this sentiment, returning for the friendships she cultivated. Beyond merely seeing her in-laws, she values the opportunity to engage with individuals who have led fascinating lives.
A Strong Sense of Community: “A Second Home”
Cathy and her sister initially struggled to find a suitable senior living community for their parents until they discovered Broadway Mesa Village. The homelike atmosphere appealed to her mother, dispelling preconceptions of a cold, nursing home environment. Cathy, once wary of senior living communities, credits her volunteering experience at Broadway Mesa for changing her perspective and diminishing her fear of death. She describes it as a place “where you’ll be treated with dignity.”
Moreover, Cathy appreciates the abundance of life enrichment activities. Inspired, she organized a blackjack game that became a cherished activity in the community. Even though her father no longer resides there, she continues to lead the game, emphasizing that Broadway Mesa feels like a “second home.”
A Silver Lining to the Pandemic
These heartwarming stories from volunteers stand out as a silver lining amid the challenges of the pandemic, underscoring the extraordinary community spirit at Broadway Mesa. The word “community” in “senior living community” is fitting, as this is a place where deep connections flourish in a welcoming, homelike atmosphere.