Power to the People

Residents create culture inside assisted living community.

As the residents of Garden Court at The Inn at Hawthorne Village of Brandon gather in the dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day, one resident in particular – Peggie Prey – is all ears.

Peggie Prey’s career in the Nebraska state legislature prepared her for her role as a representative of Garden Court residents at Hawthorne Village of Brandon.

Peggie Prey

That’s because her fellow Garden Court residents are not just friends and neighbors. They’re constituents.

Peggie, 78, spent more than 30 years serving the citizens of Nebraska as an editor and proofreader in the state legislature, where she prepared bills for committee review and an eventual vote. Now, she represents the citizens of the Garden Court community.

“Garden Court is our memory care neighborhood here at The Inn assisted living, and Peggie is one of our most active members of it because she has that administrative-type personality,” says Kristen Calta, the assisted living administrator at Hawthorne Village of Brandon.

“Peggie attends our resident council meetings, where she expresses her opinions and those of our other residents regarding any issues they may have, or to share positive comments, which helps our residents have a say in their activities, food choices and many other things related to their residency in Garden Court.”

A native of Nebraska, Peggie moved to Hawthorne Village of Brandon about a year ago to be closer to her daughter Jodi, a first-grade school teacher. She says the role she has taken on as a representative of her new community is one that came naturally to her.

“I joke that I was picked for this because I have a big mouth,” Peggie says with a chuckle. “But the truth of the
matter is, I feel very comfortable expressing the concerns that some of the people have here because I listen closely to what they have to say.

“Anytime the residents get together, even if they’re just relaxing out on the patio, I visit with them, and a lot of them have ideas about things they used to do that they’d like to do again, and other things that maybe we haven’t done that they’d like to do.”

The desire of some residents to take group trips to specific places outside of the Hawthorne Village community, changes to the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus and additions to the activity schedule are among the proposals Peggie has submitted.

“We let our residents know well in advance when we’re having a resident council meeting, because we want as many participants there as possible,” Kristen explains. “It’s an open invitation to all residents.

“But Peggie has done a really good job of speaking for the community as a whole and expressing its views. And it’s very important for us to get that feedback because it’s the residents’ choices that make all the difference in an
assisted living community.

“When someone comes to an assisted living community, it’s a big change, and they tend to think they have no more control over their lives, so there’s often a negative connotation to it. But truly, it’s all about promoting their independence.

“What we strive to do at The Inn at Hawthorne Village is take the nuisances of daily living out of the picture. We’ll cook and clean for you and take care of all those little things that are just chores so that you can relax, indulge and share your life stories with new people.

“That’s the part of assisted living that people don’t often see, but once they come into our community and take a tour or step over the line and make that transition, they usually come around to say, Wow, this place is pretty amazing.”

More Than Meets the Eye

Located just east of Tampa, Hawthorne Village of Brandon is a not-for-profit, full-service retirement community composed of three separate facilities. Each specializes in its own specific aspect of carefree retirement living and wellness.

For seniors who are looking for maximum independence and privacy, The Estates offers the opportunity to live an active and independent lifestyle in an exquisite apartment home nestled inside a carefree, amenity-filled setting.

For seniors who want to live independently but need assistance during the day or night, Hawthorne Inn provides highly trained professionals who can offer medication assistance as well as aid with basic daily activities such as bathing, dressing and grooming.

And for seniors such as Peggie who require specialized memory care, Hawthorne Village offers Garden Court, where staff members are trained in activity-based programs designed to minimize the negative effects of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Hawthorne Village of Brandon also offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation therapies on an inpatient and outpatient basis through its Bounce Back Rehab® program, which is designed to help seniors recovering from major illness or trauma regain function and mobility.

“It’s Just What She Needed”

Peggie arrived at Hawthorne Village about a year ago. At the time, she was still recovering from hip replacement surgery. As a result, she spent a lot of her transition period working with the skilled therapists at Bounce Back Rehab for outpatient therapy, then continued her wellness journey with AJ’s Fitness Center, its on-campus, state-of-the-art fitness and rehab program.

Peggie Prey’s career in the Nebraska state legislature prepared her for her role as a representative of Garden Court residents at Hawthorne Village of Brandon.

Hawthorne Village of Brandon

“My mom was in a newer rehab facility in Nebraska before we moved her here, but that facility wasn’t really equipped for what she needed,” Jodi says. “The facility here is great, and she’s really doing well because of it. It’s just what she needed.”

Peggie gives the rehab center high marks as well, adding that “I have a really nice physical therapist who likes to talk football, which I like. He’s not a [University of] Nebraska fan like I am, but we talk football and I enjoy that.”

Peggie says she also enjoys the various activities that Garden Court residents are encouraged to participate in, the trips the residents make outside the community and the freedom she has to make her new home feel like, well, home.

“My daughter and son-in-law went out of their way to find a place for me that would feel like home, and that’s exactly what I have here,” Peggie says. “I have a nice, big apartment, and the whole family helped me decorate it.

“I love that, and I love that I can go have lunch or dinner with a friend somewhere or spend the weekend with my daughter and the kids, and that they can come here and visit me anytime they want.

“And, of course, I love that I have a voice – that everyone here has a voice – in how we live here and what we do inside and outside of the community. I think that part is very important. It’s part of what makes Hawthorne Village of Brandon special.”

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