If I Want to Have Friends, I Need to Be a Friend

Louise and her friend enjoying coffee at CBV where they can still have the independence she wants.

The Villager, 2023

Louise Bultman had been living independently in a condominium when she told her children she wanted to move. Speaking honestly, she said that her children thought it was too soon to move into assisted living, but she knew exactly where she wanted to be: Central Baptist Village. “I lived four blocks away from CBV for 49 years and drove by it thousands of times,” she says, “and each time I thought, ‘I’m gonna go if it happens,’ and it happened.”

A sharp, articulate, and independent woman, Louise has been “very happy” with her new home since she moved to Central Baptist Village in 2022. She especially loves her apartment with windows that look out over the hustle and bustle of Lawrence Avenue, and the magnolia trees add natural beauty to the view. “I can see everything from this apartment!” she exclaims delightedly. In particular, Louise loves that she can see the airplanes flying overhead from nearby O’Hare Airport, reminding her of all the wonderful years she spent in the neighborhood with her husband, family, and friends in her former home nearby.

As a self-described person “who loves to talk,” Louise is grateful for the daily interactions with CBV employees, especially those at the reception desk who “never fail to say hello” when you walk by, no matter how many times per day. “I admire the people who work here. The employees are remarkable. Within two days of living here, they know your name.”

Another blessing, explains Louise, is that she can maintain her independence. Her husband passed away 22 years ago, and she has had “full reign” since that time. Although she enjoyed living independently, including driving, she wanted more social interaction, which was the impetus for moving to CBV. Louise introduced herself to other residents right away: “You’ve got to extend yourself,” she explains. “If I want to have friends, I need to be a friend.”

Whether singing in the choir, playing bingo, or enjoying an evening of chatting with a group of friends (sitting in the elevator lounge in the Commons is a favorite social hotspot), Louise finds herself busy each and every day: “Time flies by. There’s always something to do here.” Another highlight for Louise is exercising twice a week with a trainer, Damian, in CBV’s well-equipped fitness center. And although she hasn’t participated in off-campus activities just yet, she plans to take advantage of CBV’s bus service that takes residents to local stores as well as outings to destinations such as Lincoln Park Zoo and Garfield Park Conservatory.

Attending chapel service is important to Louise– listening to the mother-daughter musical duo Joyce and Julie Ieron brings her great joy. She also is grateful for Pastor Mike Weber, the Spiritual Life Director at CBV. “He’s a wonderful man,” she says. “He is here as a figure of the Lord, and he gives the nicest sermons.” Louise appreciates that Pastor Mike and CBV embrace residents of all faiths.

Louise reading to another resident.

When Louise first arrived at CBV, she told them that in addition to engaging in all of the wonderful activities offered, she wanted to be involved in the community as a volunteer reader. A lifelong avid reader, she reads to her fellow residents from texts such as the Chicago Tribune, the King James Bible, and The Angels Magazine. Often, reading turns into conversation. “Kindness makes people talk. Kindness is comfort,” explains Louise. One such conversation led to the discovery that one resident to whom she was reading lived across the street from where Louise and her husband were living right after they married! She derives great pleasure from reading to others or simply sitting quietly next to them with no verbal communication.

As Louise says, “There is a real power to just being there for someone.” She is very grateful for the opportunity to positively impact the CBV community, where she leads a fulfilling life.

Learn more about Assisted Living at CBV.