Family and community: a resident’s story of connecting with others
Posted on: November 21, 2017, by : Alicia Cordes-Mayo

Taking care of others has always been in Donna Chacon’s nature.

“I love making sure everyone feels safe and has what they need,” said Donna, who has lived at Franklin Meadows near Milwaukee, Wis., for the past four years and is the floor captain in her apartment building.

Growing up on a farm in Beaver Dam, Wis., Donna and her five siblings spent their childhood days going to school, caring for the animals, and working the fields. Each weekend was spent with her elderly grandparents, helping with whatever they needed and providing companionship.

Donna loved the time she spent with her grandparents and knew she wanted to care for older adults as a career. After her parents sold their farm, Donna and the family moved into the city of Beaver Dam where she worked in a shoe factory for over 10 years. While Donna enjoyed her work there, she was eager to act on her childhood vision and start a career working with seniors.

When the factory closed, Donna began working at a nursing home and also worked as a companion for elderly people. She loved just being around as a friend to take them to the store, do their hair, and help with house cleaning. Donna has retired, but her caretaking continues at Franklin Meadows.

Donna’s three-year-old granddaughter now spends each weekday with her. “People call my granddaughter the mascot of Franklin Meadows,” says Donna. “She knows them all by heart.” The pair loves chatting with neighbors in the lobby, reading books, and taking naps together.

With four children, eight grandchildren, and two great grandchildren, Donna’s family is what makes her smile. Donna found out about CommonBond Communities through her son, who wanted Donna to live in a safe neighborhood and be closer to family. Previously, Donna lived in apartment building where she did not feel safe and her apartment was not well maintained.

“I don’t have to worry about anything here,” said Donna about Franklin Meadows. “It’s a comfortable place and people are very nice.” Through her work as the floor captain, Donna has become the community caretaker of the building.

She wants to make sure everyone feels as secure as she does, so she checks in with her neighbors weekly. “It’s a security blanket for everyone,” said Donna. She even goes the extra mile to make her neighbors feel cared for by writing birthday cards to every single resident on their birthday.