Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

But somehow the playing field always seems to shift again, doesn’t it?

The only constant that seems to stay is change.

Take Marshalltown for example. Remember Skate Town? The Mall? Stones Restaurant? All those buildings taken out by the tornado and derecho?

We dealt with those changes. They weren’t easy, but we’re Marshalltown Strong, so we got through it. And you know, every change we weathered; they all made us stronger.

Growing older is another change we all face. Grocery bags get heavier to carry, the stairs get harder and our memory takes some vacations.

Should we be surprised? Heck no. Should we be fearful? Of course not. Because we will weather these changes like all the rest and come out stronger for it.

I know, it’s easier said than done, right? But you know what? Aging just happens to be my specialty. A big part of my work every day is bringing understanding and confidence to the elderly in our community and helping them and their adult children navigate this next change in life.

Everyone who is aging or has aging parents needs an experienced advisor. Trying to figure this out on your own can lead to many missteps that could otherwise be avoided. This is one of life’s most crucial times and you need an experienced teammate.

Call me some time. My cell phone is – 4851672 – I’m here to help. We can chat on the phone, or you can have a coffee here at The Willows and I can answer any questions you might have and hey, you can meet some of our wonderful residents while you’re at it.

Because you know what? This change doesn’t have to be scary, in fact, it just might be the next great adventure, and I can be your guide.

Love,

Jennifer Stanley
Executive Director
The Willows of Marshalltown

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

I was born just a few weeks before my Mom graduated from high school. Right here in Marshalltown.

While I’m sure that raising me so young couldn’t have been easy, my Mom always had a wisdom beyond her years and she built a strong roadmap for me.

My Mom taught me that it was OK to be a kid and not grow up too fast, but she also showed me how to set goals and then achieve them, she encouraged me without pressuring me, she loved me, she cared for me, she supported me in everything.

Far too soon, at 36 years of age, I lost her. I was only 18 and my stepdad had passed just before her. My younger sister, brother and I were on our own.

During that incredibly difficult time, I began to realize that even though she was gone, the roadmap she left was still part of me. She had shown me how to have a servant’s heart, how to care for others, how to find strength and purpose. I used those lessons to pull myself up and support my siblings, to raise a family of my own, to get my master’s degree and to work hard and rise through the ranks.

And as I lead a business now, I realize that My Mom had also implanted the seeds I needed to be an anchor for hundreds of seniors. Seniors need much the same things our families do; they need love, care, attention, and someone to support them. Which is how my staff and I try to run The Willows, like this is our family. So when I go to work every day, I get to make her proud by living her legacy.

Thank you Mom, for teaching me how to lead with my heart.

I miss you every day and I love you so much.

Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms.

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Just kidding.

You really should call me.

Whether you are an adult senior, or the relative of an adult senior.

I can help.

Because I know what you’re going through. At most stages along the way we have had someone to teach us how to get through the next step in our life with the most comfort and success. But as we get older those people to fill that role become fewer and fewer.

But you know what? The senior stage of your life can be as successful and enjoyable as when you or your Mom and Dad were young.

The funny thing is, after awhile we become “senior” to most everyone in our lives. And when that happens, who is going to teach us how to transform old age into something wonderful? I mean, when you were in high school and college do you ever remember a class on how to best serve your parents when they become seniors?

Most likely you haven’t, because the world has a way of emphasizing youth and ignoring senior life.

But that will all change when you contact me. Because seniors are my life.

Seniors are who I have been serving for decades. I know how to navigate this phase like the back of my hand. And I can pass on these special skills or suggestions to adult children or to seniors themselves.

So maybe you should call me. My cell is 641-485-1672.

You might wonder; what will that be like? We’ll just talk. I want to hear about your experience. The Willows is about helping seniors thrive in this next chapter of life, whether that means you move in with us, or take another route.

You know, on second thought, do call me, you can never do that too soon. 485-1672.Love,

Jennifer Stanley

Executive Director

The Willows of Marshalltown

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Parenthood is such a trip.

Parenthood ranges from your kids totally needing you…up to the point where you (the parent) totally need them. This is life. It’s about coming full circle.

You know what? That shift is often not an easy one, even though it sounds so natural on paper. As parents, we are often wired to ignore our own needs and put our kids needs first. Chances are, if you’re a parent, you’ve been doing this for years. So when life comes full circle, parents often have a really hard time recognizing: “hey, I’m the one that needs a little help now.”

Sadly too many seniors are in that habit of ignoring their needs when they get older, answering “I’m fine” to every question kids ask about how they are doing.

When this comes up, what they really need to hear is; there is no shame in needing help and support. They need you to tell them that ageing is OK. They need to know that you know they always tried to do the best thing for you. And now you want to do the same for them.

It takes a special understanding to guide folks through that shift in the circle. I know, it’s a big part of what I do as the Executive Director of The Willows.

When parents come to live at The Willows with us, we work through it with them; that strange new experience of needing help. It’s a delicate thing but our team is well trained to guide seniors and their adult children through it. We work together so they are able to enjoy this new part of the circle where they come first.

That phase is right around the corner.

I can help, call me at 4851672.

Jennifer Stanley
Executive Director
The Willows of Marshalltown

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Lets face it, a lifetime is full of work. Going to school, part time jobs, then a career, then raising a family, then helping with grandkids, you name it.

And when we are you’re young, you really have no idea what becoming a “grown up” entails. I mean, remember your classmates who thought that as soon as their kids turned 18 their life would become a vacation? How wrong they were.

But once a person becomes a senior and joins us here at The Willows, or another fine facility, a little bell goes off. I call it the “it’s time for me to have fun” bell.

It marks a wonderful new phase of life and we see it every day.

And it is different for everyone. For some seniors having fun consists largely of being alone, reading books and watching TV. And who is to say that is not having fun? Especially for someone who spent their life constantly interacting with others.

Many seniors look at this as the time to finally get in some fitness activity. Who cares how old you are…it still makes a whale of a difference in how you feel.

Which hobby have you been either ignoring or always wanting to try? Writing short stories, playing cards, doing puzzles, even shooting pool…these are all things we see our residents enjoying every day.

Look, I understand how we all want to live in the home where we raised our kids. But why? That can be lonely, it can be even downright dangerous because of fall danger.

So I hear every week from residents “I am so much happier now. I have come out of my shell. I have made new friends and taken up new hobbies. I never thought this would happen.”

I so look forward to meeting you. Us being friends comes first. So let’s do that, let’s become friends.

Call me any time at 485-1672. I mean it, any time. Let’s unfold that new phase of life for you, or for Mom or Dad.

Love,

Jennifer Stanley

Executive Director

The Willows of Marshalltown

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

I have two great kids, 11 year old Emerson and 16 year old Gabe. And sure, they are kids, just like we were once. They have their good days and their bad ones.

But, one day at a time, I see patterns emerge in them that are familiar, inspiring, and ones I know I need to keep shooting for myself.

For example, both of them set goals and work to achieve them. Both of them understand that hard work is what gets results. Both of them have their hobbies – Emerson lives for dance, and Gabe loves his fishing and hunting. And watching them with their interests, hobbies and goals, I get to remember how important all those things are to add richness to life.

The biggest thing I see in my kids is their hearts. They love having fun. They care for their friends, they care for me and they care for each other. And caring for others has been a cornerstone in this family of mine for our whole life. And still is today.

Being Executive Director of The Willows, it’s a big part of the culture I strive to create with my team here too; to work hard, be caring, and set goals to move forward and always be the best we can be, but also make sure you take time for fun. And this team and these residents, they’re just like my kids; boy do they love to have fun!! It really makes this place feel like home.

If that is what home feels like to you too, maybe you or your loved one would like to join in the fun here at The Willows. Give me a call if you’re interested. Here’s my cell number, it is 485-1672.

Call me any time.

Jennifer Stanley

Executive Director

The Willows of Marshalltown

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Holidays are about expanding our hearts. They’re for making new memories and treasuring the old ones. And these new memories, in turn, cause hearts to grow even more.

Holidays are an overflow of love. It’s what makes holidays so magical and why we look forward to them with warmth and anticipation.

Holidays give adult children a chance to repay their parents for all the love and care they gave them year after year.

Holidays are also an important time to look out for Mom and Dad. Do they prepare the same nourishing meals for themselves that they gave you when you were kids? Are Mom and Dad able to keep their house spic and span like they used to? Does Dad still get out to shovel snow or care for the yard with a spring in his step, or do you notice these things are more challenging for them?

In this way, holidays let us really make sure Mom and Dad are doing OK.

And let’s not forget the love that is shown by the exchange of holiday gifts. But as we grow up, we begin to realize it isn’t the gifts exchanged that matter, but the love and care that is shared and appreciated.

Because feeling loved and cared for, is always the best memory.

And among all the gifts, one of the best ones for Mom and Dad is finding ways to help out and show you care when you notice they need a little extra help with things.

And with that, I can be your helper this holiday season. I specialize in aging and helping to care for Mom and Dad.

Call me after the holidays if you find you have questions and let’s chat. My personal number is: 485-1672.

Love,

Jennifer Stanley
Executive Director
The Willows of Marshalltown

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Senior Citizens and unconditional love. They go hand in hand. Unconditional love and Senior Citizens.

Unconditional love means you love someone no matter what. The same way we love our children. No matter what, we love them. Meaning if they are less than perfect in their actions now and then, well, we love them anyway. After all, our own parents gave us this very same unconditional love.

Here at The Willows we are pretty good at spotting which job applicants have the capacity for unconditional love for seniors, or at least the potential for that. And then once hired they learn from others on the job – about showing and giving unconditional love.

Does it always work? Usually. And when unconditional love does not come easily to someone it is always obvious to both of us.

But the unconditional love is the constant and the culture we strive for. Not loving a resident because they always have a great day or a smile on their face, but loving them, and serving them no matter what. Unconditionally.

And now for our thanks to you, the adult children of our residents and the citizens of Marshalltown. THANK YOU for loving us back. THANK YOU for realizing that we too thrive on love, your love, your appreciation for the work we do.

And we’re not the only ones! The world thrives on love, it fuels us and lifts us up and quite literally makes the world go ‘round. If you take the extra time to share your love and appreciation, thank you. You make this world a better place.

Whether it is the grocery bagger, someone who holds a door open, or delivers a package. Let’s share some more love with each other and make life that much brighter.

Love,

Jennifer Stanley
Executive Director
The Willows of Marshalltown

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

We all love our Moms and Dads. After all, they raised us. They thought of us constantly, they put up with us when we were teenagers, and they sacrificed for us.

Just like you sacrifice for your own kids.

But Moms and Dads get older. And with aging, the decline in our facilities can creep up on us. And you know what? Your parents don’t want to show you these declines. They don’t want us to make a fuss because they are used to being the ones taking care of everyone.

So if you are a son or daughter of aging parents, please keep a look out. Let your folks know that it is ok for these things to slip, it’s normal to need a little help.

Showing your love and your attention to how they are doing makes all the difference. Because if they are not doing well, there are solutions, but sometimes they need a nudge to accept the help.

“But Jennifer, what should I watch out for?” Here are a few things:

Are Mom and Dad eating OK? Are there dirty dishes piled in the sink? Can they maneuver their stairs? Are they taking their prescription medications? Are they keeping up with their laundry, can they still drive safely? Have they fallen lately? Things like that.

If you’re anything like me, life is busy! And you might not even live nearby. Yet these are things you just can’t keep track of with a phone call, even a daily one. You, or someone you love and trust, has to visit your folks in person to really see.

Call me if this topic is ringing a bell. Everyone needs an experienced buddy, and that can be me. Call anytime, my cell is 485-1672.

Love,

Jennifer Stanley

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

One thing I love is that people I don’t even know call me. Out of the blue. Just to talk. Can you believe that?

No real agenda, they just want to get to know me… as a person, not as an executive trying to sell them something.

And that’s how it should be with a family owned business like The Willows…easy, casual and personal in a way you don’t often find in business anymore.

In fact, for Assisted Living and Memory Care communities, being family owned is getting more and more rare – as corporations often run a dozen or more communities.

I love that we are family owned. Sure, we have our guidelines, but with requests for important or special things that can make life a little easier or smoother for our residents, I don’t have to run up a corporate ladder and wait weeks for a response. I can call Ben or Mira Daniels (our owners). They always answer and we always come up with a solution together. No long chain of command and no waiting forever.

And you know why? Because this family built this place to put residents first. They had seen firsthand that when a senior community is owned or managed by a big corporation, the residents are too often seen as a number instead of a human being. And their passion to change that and bring the close, personal care back to seniors, is what inspired them to build this place. And it shows! I love that and so do our residents.

So give me a call. At 641 4851672, that’s my personal cell. And let’s get to know each other. Let’s bring back the personal into our lives. Because family matters, and we’re all family at The Willows.

I can’t wait, talk to you soon.

Love,

Jennifer Stanley