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Marion’s Heart of Gold

March 28, 2024 A Day in the Life

Marion Johnson, a resident at Parkland West Bedford, for 70 years has been knitting and donating her creations to those in need. It all started with hats and mittens for the local food bank, but soon evolved into creating “comfort dolls” and tiny hats for premature babies at the Children’s Hospital.

Marion’s dedication to helping others knows no bounds. “I’m always looking for places to donate,” Marion says. “I started with my church, but it was only once a year, and it wasn’t enough, so I approached the Children’s Hospital, and they asked for hats or comfort dolls.”

When Marion ventures out into the community, she sometimes spots babies clutching one of her dolls, or people approach her, mentioning that they received a knitted hat from her. “I met a lady who had her baby prematurely that I made a hat for, and she said that her daughter grew up and brought the hat everywhere she went. It is now framed and on her wall at home,” Marion says, with a smile.

When Marion isn’t engaged in activities or events at Parkland West Bedford, she picks up her needles and starts knitting. “It usually takes me two days to make the dolls. I usually pick it up when I’m hanging out with friends or when I’m relaxing in my apartment.” When Marion knits in the lobby, residents often approach her, asking about her creations or seeking tips on knitting. “I sometimes will teach other residents how to knit. Sometimes, they will come up to me to donate yarn or needles for me.”

Knitting and her new friends at Parkland have helped her cope with her grief after losing her husband in 2023. “She has a good heart. She’s very strong, and her faith keeps her strong,” says her best friend, Anne. “Anne and Mel are my rock, my new family. When I was sick for a month, Anne came to visit me twice a day to make sure I was okay.” When Marion and her husband moved in, Mel and Anne introduced themselves in the dining room and have supported Marion ever since.

“Before I moved into Parkland, I thought retirement homes were like hospitals, but they aren’t. I got all my own furniture and antiques in my beautiful apartment, and I can do whatever I want. I always say, I feel so secure, I feel safe, I’m warm, and there is a lot of food,” Marion says. Parkland offers residents peace of mind with everything included, such as meals, housekeeping, laundry, and daily programming. If residents want anything extra, the friendly team members will make sure they get it. “If I wanted something extra for dinner, the kitchen would provide me with it.”

Parkland believes that community plays a vital role in healthy living during your senior years. The team members and residents ensure that new seniors feel at home. With numerous areas to socialize, residents can be as busy or as relaxed as they’d like. “I love bingo and the men are teaching me how to play pool. I want to do it all and try new things,” Marion says.

“Don’t think about what it’s going to be like, just come and take a look,” Marion advises those considering moving in. “The team couldn’t be better. They make sure I’m down for dinner, they bring me hot tea with lemon to my apartment, and they make sure I’m okay.”

Interested in learning more about life at Parkland West Bedford and the benefits of aging in place? Book your personalized tour and see how you can live a healthy and active lifestyle at Parkland.