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Why we live here: Neola and Jack O'Neal

Years ago, Neola and Jack O'Neal had helped care for several of their aging family members. They were glad to help, but it also started them thinking about what they would do when they were older. Would they rely on their children or neighbors if they needed extra assistance?

Rather than put the decision on their own family, the O'Neals did their own research in advance to find a senior living community that offered a variety of options for the unknowable future. Salina Presbyterian Manor fit the bill perfectly.

"We looked at different facilities and Presbyterian Manor was the best because of what it offered – we could both be here," Neola said.

Their planning paid off. When Jack was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, Neola was able to care for him at home for about four years. But then they both realized they needed more than she could give on her own. Jack moved to the healthcare neighborhood at Salina Presbyterian Manor three and a half years ago. Neola drove back and forth daily to be with him for about six months. Then, when an apartment was ready, she moved here, too.

"I wanted to be here so I could be with Jack a lot. I felt it would be the right thing and a good thing for both of us," Neola said.

"I found the move wasn't all that difficult. After Jack wasn't in our home anymore, that became less valuable to me, and all the stuff was even less important. Jack was my highest priority. I'm thankful I can be here with him."

Neola spends most of her time with Jack. She appreciates that they can be together and that Jack can receive good health care. For herself, Neola said it's a relief not to have to keep up her own house and yard. And she feels safe here.

Even though she is in the independent living neighborhood, Neola can get help when she needs it, too. Once, when she had a 24-hour bug, people came to check on her. And she knew she could have meals brought to her if necessary.

"I find this to be a very friendly place, not just the staff and administration, but the people who live here are very friendly and made me feel welcome from the get-go," Neola said.

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