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

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

So many people I’ve talked with over the years have a common misconception about Assisted Living: that it’s unaffordable for most people.

And when I really take a look at the life our residents have, eating at a restaurant every day, having someone on-call for your health needs, doing your laundry and cleaning your apartment. Having a calendar packed with parties and a wide range of social events, having a library, club room and movie theater… I get it. That kind of life seems pretty luxurious when I think about it that way.

But here’s the real truth. Almost everyone I talk to about moving into Assisted Living is so surprised to find out how affordable it actually is.

What causes that misunderstanding then? Well I’ll share it with you.

Too often people forget to take into account all of the monthly expenses that they DON’T HAVE ANYMORE when they join The Willows.

Thousands of dollars of monthly living expenses END when someone moves here. Food, mortgage, transportation, utilities, tv and phone, property taxes, yard maintenance, entertainment, fitness, cleaning…the list goes on and on.

“Well, who pays for these expenses then?” The Willows pays. They are all included in your rent when you move in. Along with the relief of not having to manage all of that anymore and the comfort of having someone at your call with the press of a button if you need anything.

I’ve actually met with seniors who found that it would cost them less to move into The Willows than their current living costs.

So if you have wanted to check out The Willows, or any Assisted Living facility for that matter, don’t let costs scare you. Just give me a call at 641 4851672 and I can walk you through how it works.

Love,

Jennifer Stanley

Executive Director

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

It took me years to find the right balance.

But I did it. And now I get to provide this balance to residents of The Willows. Here is what I mean…

…life is fragile, short. And that means we all should focus on the present moment, instead of the past or things we can’t change. Sometimes all we need is to be reminded of this and bingo, the sunshine of life appears.

As Executive Director of The Willows I am surrounded by what I call “Veterans of Life.” I get to spend my days with these wonderful people who have seen it all, and done it all. Yet these seniors are still so obviously kids inside. Sure, our bodies wear out, but our life doesn’t wear out. Youth and life are always inside of us.

These are the people who have learned to live in the moment, forgive others, not dwell on the past and to give the precious gift of time to others.

And this matches our slogan, “The WillowsLife.” It means a life where we recognize age, but we dwell on the happiness of our inner life. That is The WillowsLife.

Before I let you go, here is a secret. I lost my Grandmother when I was just 10, my Dad at 12 and my Mom at 18. In other words – I was super young. And it took me a long time to get over losing them. But I did, I found the balance.

And now, I see myself as a knight in armor, leading an army of “Veterans of Life” who live right here at The Willows of Marshalltown. And this army displays all of life’s best lessons, every day.

I am Jennifer. Feel free to call me anytime, whether you want a tour or to just visit. I look forward to that and my private number is 641-485-1672.

Love,

Jennifer
The Willows Executive Director

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

I mean, they have seen me working in health care for years now. They know I often work at all hours. But they also know that I love my job and that residents of The Willows are just like our own family.

In fact from time to time they suggest activities, trips or TV shows for our residents. To me that is super cool. “Mom how about this show for your residents…” It just melts my heart.

And my kids totally look forward to returning to The Willows to visit once Covid restrictions are lifted. I mean, it’s like they already know everyone at The Willows because it’s all I talk about when I am at home.

You know, I had worked in Assisted Living and Memory Care for a while before I joined The Willows, and that gave them a taste of Mom being Executive Director. But they’re still kids, and what kid doesn’t revel a bit in the freedom of Mom being away at work unexpectedly? Well, at least mine do.

Here’s another thing about our Willows Family. There are a lot of our residents who would have been great Executive Directors themselves if life had worked out that way. Our residents stop by my office regularly with ideas and suggestions…right down to letting me know about an idea for an outing, or, well if the beef stew was too salty at lunch.

I just love it, all of it. But nothing tops the help my kids give me. They love the Willows Family, and they love the way I love my job. Hmmm, I can’t wait to have them over for dinner and introduce you to them. Won’t that be fun? You betcha..

Love,

Jennifer
The Willows Executive Director

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

To me, cinnamon rolls are way more than just something to eat. They are something to love, something to savor.

Cinnamon rolls stimulate our senses – smell, taste, touch and sight. But they are so much more than just that.

They also give us a feeling of wonder, a feeling of memories of home, of mom and dad and family…all around the table waiting excitedly for the cinnamon rolls.

Just the thought of cinnamon rolls melts our hearts with love, security and everything being right with the world.
Sure, we serve cinnamon rolls at The Willows of Marshalltown. But to us cinnamon rolls are even more than food.

As Executive Director at The Willows I make sure our community lives cinnamon rolls.

I try to make sure that both our staff and our decisions always pass the Cinnamon Roll Test. By that I don’t just mean we always want to do the right thing, but that we want to have people feel just right as well. As though they just came down to a warm kitchen of cinnamon rolls.

Sure, we have many rules and regulations to follow, they are important for safety and proper resident care. And we are always dedicated in following those guidelines and more.

But nothing on that “requirements list” keeps us from also being a Cinnamon Roll community.

Assisted Living. And Memory Care. These are our specialties.

Think of the new life of friends, memories and warmth that your senior Mom or Dad will begin to live when they join us.

It’s the cinnamon roll way of life. And I’m your cinnamon roll leader at our Cinnamon Roll Community.

Do we have room? Yes. And the first step is to call me, any time. Here is my cell 485-1672. Call me, and come take in the cinnamon roll life.

Love,

Jennifer Stanley
Executive Director

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

When I was a little girl growing up, my Mom always gave me lots of choices.

What to wear, what sports to play, what chores, and how clean to keep my room (well, that was not really a choice).

And life is that way. There are lots of choices.

My Mom also taught me that changing your mind was an OK thing. Give something a good try, and if it does not work, try something else. In fact that one was of immense help for me as I danced through high school and college, trying one thing and then another.

In my case there was a time when I was sure I would be a nurse forever. But then I changed my mind and pursued Management, finally getting a Master’s Degree. And now I am lucky to be able to use both of those skills in my job as Executive Director of The Willows.

I can bet you have had similar experiences in your life. Lots of choices, and a few changes mid stream. Call me some time and let’s swap stories. As you know, I love to visit. And my cell is 485-1672. I mean it, call anytime.

And oh yes, what about my headline about Shrimp Scampi for Breakfast? I figured that would get your attention.

Here at The Willows we believe in lots of choices too. And that means a large daily meal menu, not just “meatloaf on Monday.” And on our menu even has shrimp scampi. And, yes, you can even get it for breakfast.

And you know what? Some of our residents have even done that – smiling all the way.

Thanks Mom. Thanks for teaching me that choice is a good thing. What you taught me is at work here at The Willows every single day.

Love,

Jennifer Stanley

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

Photo of Jennifer Stanley

“I may not remember what we talk about….but I always remember how you make me feel.”

Here is a lesson I have learned for the adult children of parents with memory issues. It’s how your Mom or Dad feels that really matters to them.

Look, memory issues are now an established part of adult life. Memory issues that were once rare, are now common. And they bring adult children sadness and worry.
Why? Because we all remember the time we told Mom or Dad “I will always take care of you.” And now maybe that job has grown too large to do properly. Diet, medication, bathing, proper exercise, movement, and wandering can all become too much for one person to handle.

And yes, this causes guilt, because of the promise we made Mom or Dad years ago.

But here is the thing. Memory issues can quickly outstrip your ability to give Mom or Dad the care they need. And postponing professional care can actually cause more harm.

But your Mom or Dad will always remember how you make them feel. Which is the magical thing that I see happening here at The Willows. Mom or Dad are left feeling wonderful after your visit.

And that guilt you feel? It goes away, because you can see that care is professionally given 24/7, in a nurturing and engaging environment, specially designed for seniors with memory issues, and Mom or Dad are thriving.

On top of that, you can visit Mom or Dad as often as you like. And the love they feel from you during those visits…that is what stays with them. I see it all the time.

One of the most important parts of my job is this comfort I get to bring to families. I’m here to help, call me anytime at 641-485-1672.