Resident Stories

We are blessed to be caring for and supporting the greatest generation of American pioneers and heroes. Please enjoy the resident stories we have below and then reach out to us to schedule a personal tour of our award-winning community.

Eleanor Holsinger - A Weight Off My Shoulders

Having lived 82 years in the City of Big Shoulders - Chicago, IL - Eleanor Holsinger knows a thing or two about carrying the weight of responsibility on her shoulders. That’s why she was able to come to terms to moving into the assisted living floor at Discovery Village at Sarasota Bay; because it took that weight off the shoulders of the people she loves most.

When her husband died several years ago, her son and daughter thought she should move into an independent living facility, but she was fiercely committed to staying in her own home and being her own person.

“I looked at several facilities and I wasn’t happy with any one of them,” Holsinger recalls. “I was going to stay in my house, which I did for two years, but it started getting a little hard because I was walking with a walker and my balance started getting not so good.”

The balance issue began affecting one her passions - cooking - as she could not use both hands in the kitchen, constantly needing one hand to hold her steady. It required a lot of assistance from her children for her to stay in the home they had grown up in, and she came to the realization that she was putting that undue weight on their shoulders.

“I decided it was time for me to move on to assisted living. It was very hard, but I made up my mind that my kids needed their lives. My son and my daughter-in-law down here, and I just wanted them to have their own lives again.”

She mentioned her intention to her children and they restarted the process of looking for a perfect fit.

“While she was looking, my daughter heard about this place,” Holsinger said. “There wasn’t even one brick put up here yet, but when I heard about it, I said yes.”

That ‘place’ was Discovery Village at Sarasota Bay, which features 126 residential supervised independent living, assisted living, and memory care apartment homes. With a staggering 120,000 square feet available, there’s something for everyone including a theatre, salon, barber shop, library, fitness center, heated therapy pool, dining room, club room, and bistro.

“I’m very happy and satisfied. I have a beautiful courtyard view, and everybody on the staff is just wonderful, they treat you like a person, not a number,” she says. “They have so many activities and sometimes I get so tired I can’t go to all of them. But I try to keep myself busy and out of my apartment.”

A little fatigue is understandable, considering Holsinger turns 94 in June. She recently celebrated a year at Sarasota Bay on its assisted living floor, but remains fiercely independent on how much help she needs.

“I’m on the assisted living floor, but the only thing I really have that’s assisted is someone sitting in my living room while I take a shower in case I fall,” she says. “This place is very accommodating, there’s no request, nothing that’s too much for them.”

Jalone Pitts - We Are Well Taken Care Of

Transportation and transition have always been big parts of Jalone Pitts’ life. She thinks her most recent transition - moving to Discovery Village at Sarasota Bay - might just have been her best.

“We moved here last November 22,” the 83-year-old Pitts says, speaking for herself and her 79-year-old husband Bill. “What I like most are the activities. We’re always busy. We go to movies in the evenings, exercise classes every day, and they have card games and puzzles and bingo; it’s a great way to keep our bodies in shape and strong, and our minds sharp.”

Pitts lives just about 240 miles from her birth city of Miami. Her first experience with transportation came there when she signed on with Pan-American Airlines in 1954 as a stewardess - a role with extremely narrow qualifications.

“To be a stewardess for Pan Am, you had to be between 5-feet, 5-inches and 5-feet, 7-inches tall, you had to speak a second language, and if you got married, you had to quit,” she recalls. “They had very particular types, they wanted blue-eyed blondes and very beautiful brunettes.”

Fortunately for PItts’ sense of adventure, she fit the bill across the board and was soon flying to Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. After two years, she moved to the West Coast and was part of crews that went to the Near East, the Far East, Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Perhaps the most remarkable part of it all was that until 1958, the airliners were not jets, but propeller-driven. This meant multi-stop flights and long layovers; in other words, a fantastic job for a 20-something wanting to explore the world.

“We only had to fly 40 hours a month, all of our hotels were paid for wherever we stayed, and I wound up visiting 32 countries,” Pitts recalled. “We would go and get shoes and gloves in Italy. We’d buy silk in Japan and then fly to Hong Kong and be there two or three days and have clothes made. We would stay over in Guam and Wake Islands and Alaska and Hawaii.”

Transition came for Pitts in 1960 when she got married, forcing her retirement from a job that paid her $10,000 a year; about $82,000 in today’s dollars.

She and her husband moved to Connecticut and opened a pair of real estate businesses. Both partnerships lasted 21 years until her husband passed away, at which point Pitts transported herself home to Florida and transitioned into a role as a real estate agent.

Pitts lived the single life until three years ago when she married Bill, a long-time acquaintance who knew a thing or two about flying himself, having served 21 years as a pilot and navigator in the United States Air Force.

The two have since transitioned into the senior retirement community and still find transportation to be one of their favorite things.

“The transportation is amazing here,” pitts says. “They take us to bookstores and the doctor. They bring pets in from llamas to dogs. They take us on picnics that are fun because it’s an out-of-the-ordinary thing.They also do a lot of things for veterans.”

When you’ve been around the world a time or three, it’s the little things that make the difference.