By Tara Gary
What do you do when emergency responders begin to know you on a first-name basis? Retired Lieutenant Colonel Larry White and his wife Shirley were living in a 55+ community in Tampa, Florida when Mr. White started having health complications, resulting in numerous falls and need of emergency assistance. They came to the conclusion that something had to change and decided to seek assisted living options.
Larry and Shirley met as teenagers at a Salvation Army summer camp. While Mr. White was attending LSU he was part of the marching band, and later, while in the Marine Corps, he joined the Marine Corps Marching Band as well. Mrs. White was a nurse, Mr. White ran twenty-four adult rehabilitation centers, and both served as pastors in the Salvation Army. Before moving to Tampa, they retired in Atlanta in 2010 and loved it here.
After 51 years of marriage (that’s right, 51 years), three children, and nine grandchildren, the couple decided to look for an assisted living community in Atlanta. They chose Inspired Living in Alpharetta. I asked what made them choose Inspired Living, and Mrs. White quickly responded, “the people.” She said the staff continuously “goes out of their way” to provide service and quality care. When I asked if there was one exceptional person in particular she would like to name, she chuckled and replied, “There are too many to mention. I don’t want to get in trouble.” I told her that was a great answer, and it was good to know she finds them all exceptional.
She added her affection for the facility itself. It has a pool, puppy park, and walking paths, to name a few. She also said she enjoys the view from her windows, “I couldn’t live somewhere without any trees outside,” she laughed. She added the atmosphere was more of a modern atmosphere as opposed to many assisted living communities with “heavy carpet and old pictures on the wall.” I have seen those places, and I agree with Mrs. White.
Prior to this pandemic, the couple enjoyed dinner in the dining room, the facility’s theater, Wine Dine Wednesdays, special entertainment, trips out to group luncheons and movies, and much more. Mrs. White said, “I’m not complaining by any means. We have it much better than most,” referring to the consequences of the COVID-19 virus.
I congratulated Mr. and Mrs. White on their 51 years of marriage when she said, “It seems like only yesterday.” I asked what advice she could give as to how to sustain a marriage for so long. Her advice, “We made a promise to never go to bed mad at each other.” She giggled and added, “I may have stayed up a time or two a little angry though.”
I very much enjoyed my conversation with Mrs. White. It reminded me of my own parents who are retired and live two hours away. They require more from me now as they get older and tasks become difficult for them. I am relieved to know Inspired Living exists. Their commitment to supporting their residents holistically—surrounding them with positivity and quality care—is something all children want for their parents. If and when the time comes, assisted living at Inspired Living is there for you and your family.