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Resident Stories: A Day in the Life Assisted Living in Godfrey


A Real-Life Love Story

Cedarhurst Assisted Living resident Shirley met Joe, the love of her life, in 1948. 

Their love story didn’t exactly start out as a love story. They met each other while they were both on dates with other people. Even though they were being respectful of their dates, Shirley admits that she and Joe really hit it off, and they couldn’t hide it. Joe couldn’t take his eyes off Shirley, and the next day, he asked her on a date. 

That was the start of their nearly 60-year, real-life love story that seemed like a fairy tale. Shirley went to secretarial school while Joe became a dentist, and the pair got married. Then, Joe built their beautiful dream house in Godfrey, Illinois, and they raised three children and enjoyed everything life had to offer. Both Shirley and her husband Joe became big parts of the Godfrey community.

Almost 10 years ago, Shirley lost her beloved Joe. She was living on her own after that, and she felt she was doing well. Still very active and into gardening and social activities, Shirley continued living in the house she loved, doing the things she loved, and spending time with the people she loves, including her five grandsons and six great-grandchildren.

Cedarhurst Resident Story - Shirley Emons


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The Challenge

A Fall and a Realization

By the time she reached the age of 91, Shirley still had the love for life and curiosity that she’d always had. She loved being with friends and family, playing cards, and learning new things. Although she was slowing down a bit and not able to do all of the things she once enjoyed—like making the change from outdoor gardening to raising succulents—Shirley still felt perfectly safe living in the home her Joe built for her.

But then, a near tragedy struck. While home alone, Shirley had a fall that required hospitalization. This understandably scared Shirley and her loved ones. When her family expressed that they were worried about her living on her own, Shirley had to agree. 

“I knew it was time to look at Cedarhurst,” she said. “I didn’t want to leave Godfrey, so thank goodness they have a community here.”


The Solution

New Adventures in a Safe Environment

While some families have a difficult time convincing their loved one that senior living is right for them, Shirley was all-in from the get-go. She knew that Cedarhurst had a vibrant assisted living community, and she looked forward to new adventures in an environment where she felt safe—and where her family knew that she was protected.

“After the fall, I knew it wasn’t safe for me to live by myself anymore,” Shirley said. “I agreed with my family, and we knew the best place for me was Cedarhurst.”

Although it wasn’t easy leaving the home she loved, Shirley was at peace with her decision and excited about this new phase of her life. She also didn’t want her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids to worry. 

“This community isn’t far from where our house is,” Shirley said. “I just love it in Godfrey, and I’d never want to leave. I’m happy here.”

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The Outcome

Living Her Best Life

Shirley’s fall may have slowed her down a bit, but it didn’t slow her down for long. By the end of her first month at Cedarhurst, Shirley felt right at home. She was so happy to make new friends and discover new things—living life the way she and Joe always had together.

One of the reasons Shirley is so happy at Cedarhurst is because she was able to bring so much of her home—and her Joe—to her new apartment. Joe had many hobbies and interests that ranged from flying planes to making beautiful wood furniture and watercolor painting. His art and his wood creations surround Shirley in her new apartment that she has decorated exactly how she wants. She adores showing off Joe’s beautiful watercolors, especially the one that is an abstract painting of their beloved home and the area surrounding it.

Being able to truly make her new apartment her own—and telling stories about each beautiful treasure that Joe left behind—is something Shirley loves. And at Cedarhurst, there’s always someone there to listen, whether it’s one of her new resident friends or the friendly staff. 

Another big plus for Shirley is that much of her family is close by, because she was able to move into a Cedarhurst community close to home. And for her great-grandchildren who live out of state? Shirley’s a tech-savvy great-grandma, and she uses her phone or iPad to communicate with them whenever she wants. 

The move to Cedarhurst Assisted Living didn’t cut off Shirley from the family time she was used to. She sees her loved ones now as often as she did when she lived in her home by herself, except now she has tons of new friends to keep her company when her family isn’t visiting. 

Shirley also enjoys all of the activities, services, and social opportunities living at Cedarhurst brings. She gets to live the exact lifestyle she wants, and she gets to kick up her heels and truly enjoy life thanks to the reassurance of knowing that help is always available when she needs it. 

She also appreciates that she doesn’t have to deal with the many household chores she had to do when she was living by herself. Shirley is glad to let the Cedarhurst staff take care of things like yard work, cleaning, cooking, and laundry—a major perk of the assisted living lifestyle. However, even though the staff at Cedarhurst will gladly change her bed linens, Shirley chooses to do that task herself. “As long as I’m able to do it, I’m going to do it,” she said with a grin.

Cedarhurst Assisted Living Resident-Story Godfrey Shirley The Future

The Future

Assisted Living Care That Grows with Seniors

The future for Shirley is filled with laughter, love, and peace of mind. She knows she’ll always be looked after, and that Cedarhurst care will always meet her needs, even when they change. 

Like all other senior living residents, seniors who are in assisted living may have growing needs as the days and years go by. Cedarhurst is there with a flexible program to suit each resident as they age in place. 

Cedarhurst’s specially trained staff keep a close eye on Shirley to make sure that when new care needs arise, those needs are met. They also help Shirley’s family understand what those changes will mean for everyone, covering everything from details about the necessary types of additional services or care, to budget expectations.

Looking forward, Shirley is happy for this phase of her life at Cedarhurst, and she appreciates how quickly everyone learned her name and how friendly everyone is. She said that even COVID-19 couldn’t dampen the spirit of the staff at Cedarhurst. 

“Even when they have the masks on, you can see the love in their eyes.”

We hope you enjoyed this little look into our senior living world. Our residents (and their families) help make Cedarhurst communities vibrant and warm, and we love sharing their loving, inspiring, and fascinating stories. There’s no such thing as a “typical” Cedarhurst resident. Each resident gets care that’s unique as they are.

See what Cedarhurst has to offer, and contact us with any questions or to schedule a tour.

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