"The Atrium is - and always has been - very family-oriented, which is what impressed me most when my mom wanted to move here following a harsh, snowy winter when she missed being with people her own age," said Van Emburg, a retired social worker who worked in the psychiatric field. "There is not one day my mom was unhappy living at The Atrium. What a wonderful feeling, as a daughter, to know that she was able to enjoy such happiness in her later years."
Since 2003, Van Emburg, who is 70, has been experiencing this same contentment while sharing her personal and professional experiences with her Atrium neighbors. A former Christian educator, she hosts a weekly prayer group and leads memorial services to help those who have lost a family member or friend with the grieving process. Van Emburg also enjoys sharing her extensive doll collection with a Victorian-era holiday display and spearheads the annual tree-decorating festivities.
"It is a wonderful experience to see my neighbors do the simplest of things to help others, from encouraging someone to join an activity or welcoming new residents into the fold. These kind gestures are beautiful, and I like being a part of this community of people whose talents and experiences are fascinating,"
It was her own talent for silk floral arranging that led Van Emburg to The Atrium. Just prior to her daughter's wedding, for which she was handling all of the bouquets and centerpieces, she was hospitalized. At the time, Van Emburg's husband had been seriously ill and she was providing round-the-clock care. "I realized I needed respite and, after being discharged from the hospital, I enrolled in The Atrium's Short-Term Stay Program, which offered me a temporary lease option and healthcare services to regain my strength," she explained.
Following Van Emburg's recovery, her husband broke his hip and required long-term skilled nursing care at The Allendale Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Center, located on the same campus as The Atrium. After his passing, Van Emburg did not want to return home to her Mahwah condominium. "I took the happy memories of our life together with me and joined my family here at The Atrium," she said. "Now, much like myself, when my daughter visits, she feels like this is her extended family too."
Known for its home-like, family atmosphere, The Atrium and Allendale Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Center, as well as the Community's assisted living residence Carlton Court, encourage relatives and friends to visit, participate in activities or celebrations or dine with their loved ones. Many also volunteer to lead discussion groups or planned events.
"Our open-door visiting policy is embraced by everyone at The Atrium and Allendale Community for Mature Living because we understand today's demanding schedules require flexibility,"
The Atrium, located at 85 Harreton Road in Allendale, N.J., is conveniently accessible from Route 17 South. A private driveway off the highway offers immediate access to the senior community. The Atrium, which provides senior residential living with supportive services, is part of The Allendale Community for Mature Living campus, which also offers the Senior Social Club, an adult day program at The Atrium.
Photo caption: Learle Van Emburg, right, first learned about The Atrium when her mother became a resident in 1995. Today, The Atrium is Van Emburg's home and she covets her unofficial role as "head of household." Recently, Van Emburg and Joyce Ochs, left, were honored by Mary Stampleman, ADC, Director of Therapeutic Recreation and Community Relations at The Atrium, center, with The Atrium Volunteer of the Year awards for their outreach to others.
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About The Allendale Community for Mature Living: The Allendale Community for Mature Living is located on 12 acres in a scenic, quiet suburban neighborhood, with direct access to Route 17 South. The physician-owned Community offers three levels of residency and a continuum of care on campus: The Atrium, where independent seniors enjoy residential living; Carlton Court, which offers assisted living; and The Allendale Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Center, a skilled nursing facility focusing on rehabilitation. In addition, the Community offers the Senior Social Club, an adult day program that provides a variety of dynamic activities. For more information about The Allendale Community for Mature Living, call (201) 825-0660 or visit its web site at www.allendalecommunity.com.