Resident Stories

We are blessed to be caring for and supporting the greatest generation of American pioneers and heroes. Please enjoy the resident stories we have below and then reach out to us to schedule a personal tour of our award-winning community.

Bob Rumsey - Assisted Living is Taking Care of Me

 

Every day, Bob Rumsey has a talk with his boss.

“I talk to God every day,” the 91-year-old resident of Rittenhouse Village at Michigan City, says. “He tells me to shape up, so I guess I better shape up.”
It’s moments of humility and humor like these that have powered the former football coach and assistant principal at times.

He’s been a resident of Rittenhouse Village for about 1-½ years. His wife of 70 years passed away in 2013.

“After 70 years of marriage, when you lose your partner, it’s like losing a part of yourself,” Rumsey says. “After my wife died, my son and my daughter eventually said, ‘Dad, you can’t live here anymore’ and it turns out they were making the right choice.”

Rumsey moved into the assisted living facility at Michigan City, but found it nothing like he expected. Instead of someone dogging his heels day and night, he receives only the care he needs.

“I’m in assisted living, but I can take care of all my personal needs and go to the dining hall for lunch, breakfast, and supper,” Rumsey says. “They check in on me, but they are caring people and really good at what they do.”

It’s a bit of a role reversal for Rumsey, who says that the staff must truly care about people to do the jobs they do. After all, he spent 38 years in the public education system in Michigan City, teaching and coaching kids for the love of education.

“I came here as a teacher and assistant football coach in 1964 at Elston High School, although basketball was the real big thing here,” Rumsey says. “When the second high school, Rogers, opened up, I was athletic director there for about four years, and then I returned to Elston as the assistant principal. I had a great career. I look back at it, and it had some high points and some low points, but I hope I touched some kids’ lives.”

Rumsey and his wife had two children, a son and a daughter. His daughter lives in Michigan City and he keeps up with her regularly. His son recently retired himself after spending 37 years as a chemical engineer for Exxon-Mobil.

“We have two great kids. They really look after the old man,” he says. “It’s been a blessed life, and God has been good to me. Sometimes you get a little bit lonely, but I call that ‘Feel Sorry for Bob Day’ and I make sure and remember all the good things in my life.”

The transition from living on his own to inside a community of residents and caretakers was the toughest part for Rumsey to overcome.

“It was a big change. I sold my car and I gave up my home. My life changed so much starting when my wife died, and that was tough,” Rumsey said. “But it was for the best, and I mostly take care of my own needs. I use a walker, but hey, when you’re almost 92, things change. There’s a great chef, a great medical staff, the housekeeping staff is very kind, and it’s just a great place.”

Wilma Dwight - Braving the Frontier

If you’ve ever wanted to experience what the frontier looked like when the United States of America was first being born, you can’t do much better than South Dakota.

Crazy Horse, the Oglala Lakota war chief held court there, winning the Battle of the Little Bighorn there in 1876. The town of Deadwood, home of the Black Hills Gold Rush, was once the most populous city west of the Mississippi River, and even now thrives because of its 1989 decision to legalize gambling to maintain the local history of the place.

Braving the frontier meant adapting to new circumstances, learning new skills, trusting people you’ve barely met, and believing that you’ve made the right decision, even if your heart and your head don’t always agree.

Wilma Dwight was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, in the 1920s, when the city had a meager 5,777 residents. She was raised there as it grew and grew, spending 53 years in the city in which it swelled into a population in the 40,000s.

Like her forefathers who first called South Dakota home, Dwight had a decision to make and a new frontier to conquer in the last few years - trading in the home she knew and the lifestyle she had maintained for one of assisted living, in a new state, a new city, with new people, and a new way of doing things.

“My husband passed away 12 years ago,” Dwight, now 96, says. “Eventually I started to need someone to help me do things. It was very hard to sell my home, to get rid of all those things, but eventually I knew it had to be done.”

The move was not just down the street, but almost 1,000 miles east of Rapid City to Michigan City, Indiana.  Fortunately for Dwight, she’s seldom far from family, as she and her husband had three children, who in turn have provided her with 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Not to mention that even 14 hours from where she grew up and lived most of her life, she has found friends from back home at the assisted living facility known as Rittenhouse Village at Michigan City.

“There are a lot of people here from South Dakota,” she says delightedly. “I’ve become very good friends with some of them, and it really means a lot to have someone you can connect to.”

While she may be closing in on a century of living, Dwight never shows it. She interacts with friends and staff and takes part in as many activities as she can on a regular basis.

“I like the workers, they do a very good job of helping us out with everything we do, and everything we can’t do anymore,” she said. “They have so many activities. We play bridge and all kinds of games. They have a program of shows and dancer and singers that are just wonderful, and we have parties and lots going on. Our activities director is very good. There’s always lots going on, we’re not lacking for anything.”

Jackie Hillsamer - The Wonderful Move

As a minister’s wife, Jackie Hillsamer loved the life she shared with her husband, moving around Indiana as the pastor’s wife at a host of United Methodist Churches.

When her husband died in 2005, they had retired back to Michigan City, and she figured she could go on in the same home alone until about a year ago.

“I wasn’t really able to stay alone anymore,” the 93-year-old resident of Rittenhouse Village at Michigan City, says. “Living alone so long, you don’t realize that you start going downhill fast over time. I wasn’t eating well or taking care of myself. When you live alone, you don’t even realize that it’s happening.”

When she moved in, she suddenly grasped how much time she had been spending alone, how little she was eating, and how she was, quite honestly wasting away.

“It’s been a wonderful move,” Hillsamer said. “I feel better, I look better, and I’m enjoying life here.”

Born and raised in Marion, Indiana, she was honored and motivated when her husband heard the call to the ministry 10 years into their marriage. The couple and their children moved to Dayton, Ohio, so he could go to seminary college, then back to Indiana where they ministered at six different churches over a total of 44 years.

They also raised five children, who never once had to be told to go to church. Hillsamer believes this distinction affected all of their future lives.

“We didn’t ever have to tell them, it’s like they knew that this was what we did as a family,” she says. “None of them went into the ministry, but two of my daughters became nurses and one of my sons became a doctor. They found ways to be in position to help people.”

Hillsamer has 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. In addition to the aforementioned medical staff full of children, one of her granddaughters graduates medical school this year, and a daughter-in-law is also a nurse.

Both her time as a minister’s wife and her time in Rittenhouse Village are an excellent reminder to Hillsamer that people the most important part of life.

“In church life, you got to see the best of people and you got to see the other side as well,” she says. “You realize that people are great.  There are all kinds of situations, but most of it makes for a very good life.”

Once her health and her appetite came back, Hillsamer began venturing out into her community and finding lots of people to get to know and activities to get involved in, even if she had to teach everyone about her favorite one.

“When I first started here, I would go down and everyone would be playing Uno, but my favorite game was gin rummy, so I’d just sit there and watch,” she recalls. “Finally one of the directors here said, ‘Well, I’ll play with you, but I don’t know the rules so you can teach me.’ It wasn’t long before someone else came along and wanted to try. Now we play it every day and have a couple of tables for it. It’s a good game, and it can keep your mind active because you have to think about it and have a strategy.”

She also partakes in bingo, jigsaw puzzles and ‘Sit and Be Fit’ exercise classes. The myriad of activities keep her busy and out of her apartment all day long.

“If you can’t be in your home, this is the next best place to be,” she says. “There are wonderful people here who are our carekeepers, they are very friendly and helpful. I’m 93 years old, but everyone tells me I don’t act 93. I tell them, I don’t know how a 93-year-old should act so I just am myself.”