Plenty of Time for Fun

Shirley Bliven attributes her outgoing nature to the years she worked for a major hotel chain. She’s a natural in her role as an unofficial ambassador for Hibiscus Court.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Shirley’s busy days include doing puzzles with Alex, Betty and Irene.

Three years ago, Shirley felt her husband, Frank, needed memory care, and began a search for the perfect home away from home where he could get the care he needed. After searching all over Brevard County, none of them felt right.
“I was very frustrated. I was afraid I wasn’t going to find the right place for Frank,” Shirley shares. “The other places were depressing.”
Then, she and her daughter stopped at Hibiscus Court.
“The minute we opened the door, it felt like home,” Shirley describes. “I told my daughter, This is where I want Dad to be.”
Frank initially lived in The Garden, Hibiscus Court’s memory care community, while Shirley maintained the residence she and Frank had shared. Frank thrived in his Garden apartment, and eventually he and Shirley moved into an assisted living apartment upstairs at Hibiscus Court.
“He was lonesome, so I gave up the residence we’d had and moved in with him three years ago,” Shirley recalls. “I’d been here four months when he passed away. I initially thought about going back to my apartment. Now, I’m happy that I didn’t because I have so many friends here, and I couldn’t be in a better place.”
Unlike other communities, “Hibiscus Court specializes in accommodating couples requiring different levels of care,” notes Alex Larson, community education director. “In Shirley’s case, her husband was able to enjoy activities in The Garden during the day, and in the evening, they came together and were able to live in their private apartment. We also accommodate residents who have pets. We currently have many furry friends living with us.”
Prospective neighbors and their families often meet Shirley while they tour the community, which is reminiscent of a resort-style hotel.
“Shirley has been kind enough to allow us to show families her beautiful apartment,” says Alex. “They love meeting Shirley and asking her questions that give them insight into all the wonderful things an assisted living community can be and specifically what Hibiscus Court is like.”

Maintaining Independence

People transitioning from a private home are often nervous because of prevailing confusion about what an assisted living community offers versus skilled nursing and rehab, Alex points out.
At Hibiscus Court, “the aim is to eat well and be cared for, be entertained, continue to have a social life, be independent and safely so.”
The community has nearly 80 residents, ranging in age from their late 50s to 103! Shirley is among those who don’t require much help with their daily routine but don’t wish to live alone.
“They give me my medications, and that’s about all,” she states. “I dress myself. I go to the dining room. I participate in many of the activities, both on the campus and in outings to concerts and shows and even the beach, to mention a few. I’m pretty independent, but I need to be here.”
As people grow older, factors such as nutrition, mental and physical activity, and social interaction become as important as medical care. The team at Hibiscus Court places great importance on those considerations.
“If you get tired of cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and worrying about day-to-day maintenance for your home, living at Hibiscus Court is a pretty good place to have a lot of fun,” Alex stresses.
“My favorite part is watching the residents form bonds and friendships. They look out for each other and include each other in everything that’s going on,” she continues. “It’s really quite remarkable to watch them sit and talk and laugh.”
People who aren’t as social are welcome to relax in their apartment, which includes a bedroom, bathroom and kitchenette that residents are free to decorate to their taste.
Shirley, who remains eager to experience all the activities and other benefits of Hibiscus Court, sums up what she loves about living there in one word: everything.
“Everybody is so pleasant and so helpful, and if you need assistance, they’re right there,” she enthuses. “I know I’m not alone because all I have to do is open my door, step out into the corridor and there’s a friend.”

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