written in Hh Magazine 2009 issue...
Residents Pursue Their Passions within a Beautiful, Secure and Caring Community
Each weekday morning, Val Klein drives
to the Dalton home of his son and
daughter-in-law, Rick and Sharon Klein,
to briskly walk their mutt, Lady, and
feed her carrot treats. Lucille McCaleb
is equally energetic, joyfully attending
embroidery club meetings at St.
Mark’s Episcopal Church as well as
Senior Center activities throughout the
week. “I don’t believe in
It’s a trait she shares with Klein and a host of fellow Royal Oaks residents, who pursue a wide range of hobbies and display a boundless enjoyment of life as members of the area’s premier retirement community.
Klein, a vigorous man with square shoulders and a booming voice, sports some pretty impressive numbers: like bowling 160 as he nears 90 years of age. A Washington, DC native, he worked for the U.S. Defense Logistics Services Center in Battle Creek, MI, for nearly 40 years. When his wife died, he moved to Dalton to be near his son.
“Rick brought me to see Royal Oaks, and
I put down a deposit,” says Klein. As
soon as he moved in, he immersed himself
in activities that fill the community’s
calendar, from reading and bridge and
music presentations to competing with
He also finds plenty to do beyond Royal Oaks’ attractive grounds, including bingo games at local veteran’s lodges, Sunday dinner with Richard and Sharon and drives to malls in Chattanooga to see, he amusingly says, “if I can find something I can’t live without.”
Shopping is high on Betty Morris’s things-I-love-to-do list. She and her husband, Mac, moved in 2006 to Royal Oaks, where they take advantage of the community’s bus and car transportation for buying forays and appointments around the city.
Betty operated the Merle Norman cosmetics studio in Dalton for 30 years while Mac ran two Gulf stations in the community. Now he enjoys relaxing in their apartment with audio books on topics ranging from Western fiction to biographies of U.S. presidents, and Betty enjoys a newfound love: surfing the Web.
"When we lived at home, I was afraid of it (the computer)," Betty admits. "But when I came to Royal Oaks, Lynn, a staff member offered classes, so I'm very comfortable with it now."
Lucille McCaleb brought her passion for embroidering with her when she entered Royal Oaks and left the hassle of home ownership behind. "I had a townhouse in Dalton and got tired of fooling with repairs, yard work and all the other things you have to do in your own place," she explains.
Now, she devotes her time to two local sewing groups (she is a National Embroidery Guild member), to attending musical programs at Royal Oaks and activities in the larger community, to projects on behalf of her alma mater, Berry College, and to dining with her large Dalton family. She joins her relatives in their homes or makes them her guests in the well-appointed dining room at Royal Oaks.
"My family worried about me when I lived alone," she says. "They are so happy I'm here. There is no concern about meals and the staff is fantastic. They're so caring, and they're immediately here when they're needed."
Betty Clark, a ten-year resident of Royal Oaks, who now lives in its adjoining assisted-living facility, The Gardens, fully concurs. "I tell the staff all the time I've never seen a group that works so well together and that helps us all the time," she says. "It's just incredible."
Betty, a school librarian, and her husband raised their family in the Philadelphia suburbs before moving to Dalton in their retirement to be near one of their daughters. In 1998, they sold their home and moved to Royal Oaks. Her husband passed away in 2000, and Betty entered The Gardens in 2007.
Though slowed by arthritis, she takes full advantage of the programming and amenities at her disposal. "Today is a busy day," she says, eagerly scanning the calendar of events including communion in the morning, a van trip to a shopping center, a sightseeing tour of the city and the performance by a children's choir in the evening. She rounds out her day by selecting a moving from the well-stocked library and chatting with friends.
By offering a private patio or balcony with each apartment, a veranda for cookouts and parties and rooms for games and music, Royal Oaks provides residents with a warm and welcoming atmosphere for entertaining family members, grandchildren and great-grandchildren especially included.
The location of Royal Oaks on the wooded campus of Hamilton Health Care System offers the convenience and assurance of medical and rehabilitative care at your doorstep. "Our residents like being a part of the Hamilton system." notes Royal Oaks Executive Director Anne Reagan. "The wide-ranging health and medical services benefit the Royal Oaks' mission."
That's a definite plus for Betty Morris, who has he'd two successful hip replacements since moving to Royal Oaks. Both times, she received initial therapy at the Regency Park skilled-care facility next door, continued treatment in her Royal Oaks apartment, and aquatics therapy at Bradley Wellness center across the street. "I feel it's why I'm doing so well," she adds.
The staff at Royal Oaks is uniformly praised by the residents. "They have an excellent staff, top to bottom, and they always do their best to accommodate you," Val Klein declares.
"Anyone would be delighted to live her because of the convenience, and the staff is really great," Betty Morris adds. "Dalton is fortunate to have a facility like Royal Oaks." Lucille McCaleb agrees. "I'm so grateful to have such a wonderful place to be," she says.