In the fifteenth episode of the ‘Visits from the Heart’ series, we continue our transition from learning how our residents are dealing with the pandemic and focus on their rich life stories. Jim Thares, Founder and CEO for Primrose Retirement Communities, visits with Lois B., a resident at the Primrose Retirement Community in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Their visit starts off with the story of how Lois and her late husband came to choose Primrose. Lois confesses that she knew it was time to move off the ranch, but her husband wasn’t quite ready. They decide to tour Primrose and another local retirement community. Later that evening, Lois mentioned to her husband that there were a couple more that they should check out. He ended their conversation right then by telling her ‘let’s just take the flower place’. The rest is history as they proceeded to move into Primrose.

Moving off the ranch was not a hastily made decision. Lois and her family have been on the ranch and in the cattle business for over 50 years. They specialize in Red Angus after getting their start with the Hereford breed. Starting in the 1960’s with only 14 registered cows, they have now expanded to own enough land for 800 cows. Lois nonchalantly remarks, “It’s been good.” She shares that her husband was good at numbers and the cattle industry is much more dependent on numbers than it used to be. From tracking weights to predicting future offspring performance to markets and weather, there are a lot of numbers involved. Lois tries to minimize the importance of her role in the operation. Jim quashes her efforts by emphasizing that the role of a cattle rancher is an intense day-to-day and year-round commitment. We can surmise that the role that Lois played in the operation was far from miniscule. In fact, Lois still ventures out to the ranch weekly. And while this visit with Jim has kept her from being there today to help wean some calves, she knows they will be weaning tomorrow and probably the next day too. It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, there is always something that needs to be done on a cattle ranch.

One of the perks Lois and her husband enjoyed was travelling the world, on the pursuit of Red Angus of course. Their travels to seek out new and different blood lines took them to Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, England, Scotland, and three trips to South Africa. She mentions a trip they took to Europe as well, but seemed a bit disappointed as they didn’t really have a chance to see any Red Angus on that excursion.

Jim inquires if Primrose has met her expectations. Lois affirms that Primrose was just what she wanted it to be. She chuckles as she mentions how cellphones don’t really seem to let you get away though. Truth be told, Lois had to be reminded to turn her phone off before the visit started as she just finished a call beforehand. Lois has a very active life in and out of Primrose, she loves to be connected and stay in touch with everything. She enjoys how there is a community within Primrose as well as around the city.

In addition to keeping busy on her own, she enjoys the craft activities at Primrose and is really looking forward to returning soon to the dining room where she feels like she is waited on like royalty. Additionally, she appreciates the word games to keep her mind sharp and exercises to keep her body strong, all part of the mission that the ‘flower place’ pursues for all of our residents. On a final note, in regard to the upcoming Midwest winter, Lois is thrilled to have someone else to shovel snow for her.