With a charming laugh, Edna Helber recalls that moving into Cottonwood Village was like moving into a first-class hotel. “At least that’s what it felt like,” she says eight years later, and it still feels that way.
The home was but two years old when Edna chose to make the move from her house in Claresholm. She had friends who lived there and spoke highly of the home as a small community, and at the time Edna needed that type of connectedness. She was always a social person, but her home had grown quite lonely after her husband passed away.
Edna was a girl of 10 when her family moved from Saskatchewan to a sprawling farm outside Claresholm in Southern Alberta. She lived on that farm for decades after she took it over from her parents with her husband. They eventually sold the farm some 10 years ago and bought a house in town. They were only there for a year or so when her husband passed.
“It was kind of lonely being by myself,” she says, and the move to Cottonwood Village made perfect sense at the time. As she looks back to the 10th anniversary party held there in mid-August, she considers the decision that changed her life in many respects. When she moved to Cottonwood Village, the relationships she discovered or reignited with people she’s known, in some cases most of her life, helped her get past the loneliness she felt at home. She quickly settled in her new surroundings and took part in everything the home had to offer.
“I went on all the trips and I never stayed home,” Edna says. “They called me the social butterfly.” Relationships, she points out, make all the difference and just as she was made to feel right at home when she arrived eight years ago, she strives to welcome new neighbours who choose to make Cottonwood Village their home.
And the home is proud to welcome the broader community for events as well. In some communities, a retirement home can seem isolated, but Edna says that isn’t the case in Claresholm. Residents and guests alike shared fine food and drink and entertainment during the anniversary celebrations, marking a decade of growth and friendship in the home Edna has grown to love.
That sense of community is perhaps the home’s greatest trait.
“I certainly have enjoyed being here,” Edna says, “and I hope to spend the rest of my life here.”