Gladys McDonald: Westward Height’s January Resident of the Month

    This month, we’re thrilled to shine a spotlight on Gladys McDonald, a bundle of laughter, wisdom, and cherished memories. Gladys, a true gem in the Westward Heights community, brings a vibrant spirit that lights up the room. Let’s dive into the wonderful world of Gladys and her journey before and after Westward Heights.

    When I was Young
    Gladys’s first job was at Nick’s Motor, a car agency, back when she was a high school senior. But her favorite job? Gladys laughed as she said, “My favorite was when I got to go home.”

    Fond memories of her childhood unfold as Gladys takes us back to the farm outside of Riverton on Riverview Road. She vividly recalls having to catch the bus after school and missing out on extracurricular activities but making up for it with fun times swimming in the irrigation canals with her neighbor girls. And yes, the fashion statement of the time – rolling jeans at the bottom to transform them into capris!

    A rebellious streak? Perhaps. Gladys shared a chuckle-worthy tale of being pulled over for speeding up high school hill in Riverton. The friendly police officer let her go with no ticket – what a lucky break!

    Young at Heart
    In the present day, Gladys finds happiness in various activities, from engaging in a lively game of cornhole to the serenity of chair yoga. Going out to eat with friends and family is a favorite pastime, even if it sometimes leads to a bit of post-meal regret. Watching football, basketball, and soccer brings her joy.

    Gladys brings a smile to everyone at Westward Heights with her unique email address, which is a playful nod to her cheerful spirit – “happy bottom.” The joy of receiving “happy bottom” messages brightens the day for staff and residents alike.

    If Gladys had three wishes, she’d love to go snowmobiling again, embody the kindness and patience of her late husband Chuck, and witness the continued development of her family. And if she could turn back the clock, 1975 would be the year. She’d relish every weekend snowmobiling in the cabin they finished building.

    A Love Story, a Business, and a Legacy
    Gladys’s happiest memory is the day she married Chuck, a love story that began in 5th grade when she first moved to Riverton. He was in the same class as her and the rest is history. Together, they ran McDonald’s Auto Body and Towing for an impressive 37 years, raising four children – Jerry, Jim, Mike, and Ann.

    Halloween holds a special place in Gladys’s heart, providing the perfect excuse to dress up and have a blast with friends. But amidst all the festivities, one thing remains constant – the most important thing in her life is her family.

    Growing older brings its own set of rewards, and for Gladys, it’s the joy of watching her grandchildren and great-grandchildren develop. With 4 kids, 8 grandkids, and an impressive count of 14 great-grandchildren, her heart swells with pride for her family.

    Gladys with two of her great-grandchildren, Braxton and Jade.

    Gladys has some golden advice for everyone: “Laugh more and worry less.” It’s a mantra she wishes to follow more often herself.

    The Heart of Westward Heights
    What does Gladys love most about Westward Heights? It’s the incredible staff, the ones who make every day special. And, of course, the deer outside her window add a touch of nature’s magic to her view.

    Gladys’s daughter, Ann Bowthorpe expresses deep appreciation for Westwood Heights, emphasizing the security and emotional well-being her mother experiences there. The attentive and kind staff regularly checks in on her, fostering a sense of security for both Ann and her mother. Gladys considers the staff as friends, along with fellow residents, enjoying meals and activities together.

    “They do so many fun things on the holidays. This year they had a deer hunt where the residents could shoot deer “someone dressed up in a costume” going in and out of Christmas trees with Nerf guns,” stated Ann. “My mom said that they laughed for well over an hour!”

    Westwood Heights offers modern activities like cornhole and bowling, along with various outings. Ann acknowledges the considerate and kind nature of the staff, ensuring the residents’ physical and emotional needs are met. Despite the desire to care for her mother at home, Ann recognizes the happiness and consistent attention Gladys receives at Westwood Heights, making it a fortunate and blessed arrangement.

    Gladys’s daughter-in-law, Dana also sings praises for Westward Heights.

    “The first time that we walked through the facility before Gladys moved there I was impressed by the attitude of the staff. Everyone seemed happy and they were all smiling. We truly got the feeling that all of the staff enjoyed working there and cared about the residents,” stated Dana. “Gladys had been in a couple of nursing facilities before and this is not the case in all of them. EVERYONE at Westward Heights tries very hard to meet the wants and needs of Gladys.”

    Gladys McDonald is not just a resident; she’s a living tapestry of joy, wisdom, and laughter at Westward Heights. Her stories inspire, her spirit uplifts, and her presence enriches the vibrant community around her. Here’s to Gladys!

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