One drive past the glorious grounds of St. Catherine’s Village and Barbara Dorr knew it was where she wanted to retire. Fast forward a few years and she and her husband Lee were fortunate to have the opportunity to move into independent living at the Life Plan Community in Madison, Mississippi.
Residents since 2011, Barbara and Lee have made the best of their experience at St. Catherine’s Village, even during a time when restrictions and guidelines have been put in place because of COVID-19.
“Activities may be much smaller…like fewer people in an exercise group or less attendance at church services…but they are still happening,” said Barbara. “And for now, we receive our meals to go rather than dine together but we still have the chance to interact. We believe in making the best of the situation. After all, we’re all in this together.”
Not one to stay cooped up and getting out early in the morning, Lee spends time in the resident garden. And he noted that both residents and staff take the mask mandate seriously and wear them consistently.
“We’re fortunate to have so much space outside. We can walk around the lake and still social distance. That’s a tremendous feature,” said Lee. “If we lived on our own, life would be very different.”
An active member of the St. Catherine’s Village community, Barbara is looking forward to having events reinstated. She has chaired the green team, volunteered for various committees and helped put together Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s programs. Lee also has participated in many activities like the history club and coffee groups. “Lots of folks here socialize more than I anticipated,” he said.
A long-time Mississippi resident, Barbara calls St. Catherine’s Village “the best place we could be. There’s nothing like it in Mississippi. The staff is outstanding…like a family.” While Barbara fell in love with St. Catherine’s Village immediately, it took Lee a little more convincing.
“When we first looked at St. Catherine’s Village, my wife sold me on it because we could move into a patio home,” he said. Prior to meeting Barbara, Lee had never been to the south let alone Mississippi. But more than 50 years later, he feels right at home. And as he deals with some heart issues he is “so glad we are here because of the continuum of care.”
One of Barbara’s claims to fame—she ran the Olympic torch. “AT&T, where I worked at the time, was bringing the torch from New York to Los Angeles for the 1994 Olympic games. As an AT&T Pioneer, I was asked to carry it for a portion of the route. So of course, I said yes!”
Today, the torch is on display in her independent living apartment. The couple have a residence with a balcony so they can enjoy the fresh Mississippi air. And Lee can do what he loves—cooking. As the chef in the family, he finds the kitchen convenient “for one…me.” Barbara jokingly agreed, “The only reason I have a kitchen is because it came with the apartment.”
The best thing about St. Catherine’s Village, according to the Dorrs, is that it is truly like no other place. Barbara invites people to come and visit—they have good people to show you around.
“Life really is better when it’s not lived alone,” she concluded.