Community of Caring at Oak Meadows

Oak Meadows staff and residents celebrate its 20th anniversary this month.
Lee Olson moved to Oak Meadows eight years ago and hasn't looked back.

Choosing a senior living facility is a big decision, and many local families find that Oak Meadows Senior Living fits the bill. With a 22-acre campus and a range of care options, this not-for-profit senior center is well-loved by its tenants and their families for its dedicated, caring staff and engaged community. As Oak Meadows prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary later this month, staff and tenants look back with gratitude and ahead with eagerness, grateful for the community they have built together.

When Lee Olson was looking for a new place to call home, Oak Meadows immediately stood out as special. She knew it was time to transition into independent living when her children started expressing worry about her safety living alone. “I have two daughters who live in Texas … and they were starting to call and say, ‘Now, Mom, are you sure you’re keeping your garage door closed? Do you do this? Do you do that?’ I think I felt I almost owed them a good night’s rest, because they were starting to worry about me being alone.”

That was nearly eight years ago and Olson hasn’t looked back since. “I know that I couldn’t have it one bit better,” she says. “I wake up smiling." She stays active day-to-day with crafts, games, chapel services, and treading the walking paths of Oak Meadows’ vast campus. And she’s not too far away from her daughter Maureen Provow, who lives in Woodbury.

Provow is also happy with her experience with Oak Meadows. She’s grateful for the proximity to Woodbury and says that she loves seeing her mother thriving. “One of my sisters compared it to college kids living in a dorm. They’re all the same age, and they all live together all the time. I thought it was a really good analogy,” she says.

The relationships that she’s developed throughout her time at Oak Meadows, Olson says, have been the highlight of her time there. “Everybody here went through the same thing you did, and that’s really comfortable,” she says. One of her closest friends is Arlene Studeman, who moved into her apartment at Oak Meadows around the same time as Olson. Both look forward to a monthly happy hour and enjoy spending evenings playing cards, dice and dominoes in the dining room with other friends.

Studeman echoes Olson’s praise for Oak Meadows’ pleasant and comfortable apartments, dedicated staff and active community. “I like it—I’m not sorry I moved here,” she says. It’s a sentiment that’s widely echoed among her fellow residents, too. “We’re all happy where we are right now.”

Her adult children are also pleased to see their mother doing so well. “Usually, I don’t call her until about 9:15 at night, because I know she won’t be back in her apartment until then,” says her daughter Diane Menton. “She’s very active.”

Studeman says that the people of Oak Meadows, both the staff and other residents, are like her second family. "It really is, more or less. You worry about everybody if they're gone, and you have fun spending time together.”

Oak Meadows will host its 20th anniversary celebration, which is free and open to the public, on June 14, from 4 to 8 p.m.