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“It's like having...a warm hug.”

In January, 2007, Myrna made a move to one of the Independent Living Centre of Waterloo Region’s Assisted Living Projects—and she hasn’t looked back since. 

"It makes me feel more like myself,” Myrna says of her independent lifestyle.  “I was always independent and had my fingers in so many pies, and since I moved in here I’m able to continue to do that.  I love it.” 

Myrna has thrived over the last five and a half years, but independent living wasn’t always the norm for her.  After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1997, Myrna sold her home and moved in with her daughter in 2002.  Three years later, she decided to move out of her daughter’s home in order to give her more space to focus on her young family.  However, the only environment that met her needs at the time was a single-room suite in a retirement community.  While Myrna had indeed retired from a long and diverse career at Conestoga College, she was far too young to be living where she was—especially for two years. 

Aside from being immensely expensive, daily life in the retirement community was also not ideal.  “I’m used to showering every day, and having a bath in the evening,” Myrna mentions as an example.  While living in the retirement community, she was permitted to shower only once per week, and had no control over what she could eat and when.

But as luck would have it, Myrna got a call in late 2006 to tell her that one of ILCWR’s Assisted Living apartments had become available.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

“It’s nice to be in with other people my age,” Myrna says.  And having the additional space provided by her apartment gives her more room for working on jigsaw puzzles, crocheting, and hosting friends and family who visit almost daily, including her grandchildren and step-grandchildren.  It’s clear that, for Myrna, independent living is the best fit possible. 

“I get to choose what I’m going to eat myself, I plan my own meals, and I’m able to have some of my antiques around me, which feels good,” she says thoughtfully.  “It’s like having…a warm hug.”

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