Arline Levine always felt at home when visiting Aviva – A Campus for Senior Life. Each time she walked through the retirement community she saw familiar faces, chatted with long-time friends, and felt at ease. She loved Aviva, but she knew it wasn’t time for that kind of change.

Why would Arline need to move? She had always been independent, driving to and from Sarasota’s playhouses where she volunteered, picking up groceries at the local Publix, and seeing to the needs of her home. She wasn’t ready.

Mark Levine, one of Arline’s two sons, viewed his mom through a different perspective. His mom had always been fiercely independent as an active member of the Sarasota community. Her tenacity and her warmth made it easy for here to be a part of all the things she loved to do. Yet, Mark began to notice changes in his mom, both in body and spirit. She simply wasn’t enjoying herself the way she had in recent years. It was time to talk about the future.

Over the next two years, Mark and his brother Robert, found ways to approach the subject of moving with their mom. “I wasn’t ready” says Arline when asked about those early conversations. “I never questioned that one day I would move to Aviva, but facing that decision then was out of the question.”

As Arline’s sons tried to approach the subject with her, Arline began to pick up on things happening in her own life that weren’t what she wanted. She found herself dreading the idea of cooking for only herself, felt uneasy when she was alone and was bored of the everyday routine.

Mark began to notice that the changes in his mom were no longer subtle. “I remember visiting her and seeing that she had grown very thin, it seemed like she and her world were shrinking.” After that visit, Arline agreed that it may be time to start looking at communities but asserted that she was still six months or more away from moving.

That June, Arline, Mark and his wife Sherri, began to look at communities in Sarasota and in Ft. Myers where Mark lives. “As a son and a caregiver, the idea of having your parents a few minutes away is a huge burden lifted off your shoulders. But, at the end of the day we knew that decision had to be made by our mom.”

For Arline, her future community needed to meet her personal lifestyle. She wanted to be active, to fill her days with her interests; go on trips to the theater, have the opportunity to exercise, and be part of a supportive community. Aviva checked off every box on her list.

The plan for Arline was straightforward. Her house would be put on the market and she would work with Aviva to find the apartment she loved, even if it took six months to find the perfect fit. That all changed when Hurricane Irma barreled up the west coast of Florida. For hundreds of seniors like Arline, the storm came as a realization. Suddenly the fear of being alone became a tangible threat.

As the storm grew even closer, Mark made the decision to contact Aviva in hopes of finding a lifeline for his mom during the storm or even a place to shelter.

 “I knew that Aviva was going to make accommodations for me but what I received was beyond any expectation. They moved me in to a furnished apartment, provided meals, kept activities going, and helped to keep our families updated the entire time. Then when I noticed that the campus had sheltered staff members and their families, something just seemed to click for me.” Less than a month after Hurricane Irma, Arline moved into her new home at Aviva.

“As an adult child, you want to know that your parent is happy and safe. When I would call mom and she didn’t pick up the phone, I would grow concerned. Now if I call and she doesn’t answer I know it’s because she is out and about doing something that she loves. That feeling of relief, knowing that my mom is having the time of her life, I can’t even begin to express what that feels like.”

For Arline, moving to Aviva was like moving home. The decision to move wasn’t about giving up her sense of independence, it was about finding her community and never having to feel alone again.

“At the end of the night, when I am exhausted and head to bed, I get such a rush of pride. It isn’t because of my health or the fact that I’m getting older that makes me so tired. I’m tired every night because I have spent the day doing something that is fun and something that I want to do.”

Aviva- A Campus for Senior Life is more than just a community, it is a lifestyle. As Sarasota’s premier senior living rental community we want to invite you to experience the possibilities! Contact us online or call 941-225-8369 to schedule a tour.