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Audrey Hoekstra, a resident of The Maple at Elim Village Garrison Crossing
September 11, 2023
Garrison Crossing

Welcome Home to The Maple

This article was featured in the 2023 summer edition of The Elim Connection (page 6)—a community publication distributed three times per year to all residents of Elim Village. It is also shared with our email subscribers. The Elim Connection focuses on the stories and lifestyle of those living and aging in place at our two retirement communities.

Written by Katrina LaRoy, Staff Contributor

August is an exciting month, as The Maple building at Elim Village Garrison Crossing is now complete! I spent some time with one new Maple resident, Audrey Hoekstra, whose unique history with Elim dates all the way back to when the Chilliwack campus was still but a dream.

Hers is a journey filled with family ties, friendships, and church connections; the journey to Elim. Multiple ties to one of Elim’s villages is not an uncommon tale among residents, as the ol’ dependable grapevine is still as productive as ever. Audrey Hoekstra’s journey, however, was also informed by what later came to be recognized as a historic meeting for Elim Village; a meeting held at the Chilliwack Alliance Church in September 2014.

“We expected maybe 30 to 40 people,” comments Ron Haan, one of the organizers of the event. “And over 100 showed up. So we found there was a real demand for a project like this.” Ron Haan together with his friend Wally Tenbrinke were community catalysts and integral to the development of Elim Village Garrison Crossing. Audrey attended the same church as Wally, which was how she learned of the meeting. Elim leaders presented that night on Elim’s model of a Christian seniors living community, as evidenced at their Surrey location. “I remember being at that meeting in 2014,” recalls Audrey. “The feeling in the room was that it would be a good thing for the Chilliwack community too.”

Audrey’s awareness of Elim also sprang from family ties. Her sister-in-law, Jane Dykstra, had moved to Elim Village Fleetwood earlier that same year, in the spring of 2014. In addition, she had a cousin that was on staff at the time. “Terry-Lynn Dryfhout is my first cousin. She was at our house after that initial meeting and encouraged my husband and I to join the waitlist. I remember Al saying, yeah, we need to plan ahead. So we joined the list.”

The property in the south of Chilliwack was acquired later that fall, and Elim Village Garrison Crossing was born. Groundbreaking for the first life lease building onsite, The Sequoia, took place in September 2016. As Audrey and Al lived within a 10-minute drive of the new Elim property, they would drive by to keep an eye on the progress. The following year, however, Al passed away. After 55 years of marriage, Audrey suddenly found herself on her own.

“I thought, ok, maybe it’s time. Better to do it when you’re still able.”

“Mom, are you ready now?” her kids asked, encouraging her to make the move to Elim. Al’s voice was also in the back of her mind, as he had wanted her to move to a community like Elim if he predeceased her. But Audrey just wasn’t ready. “I just never thought I would go into a seniors home,” she comments. “Sometimes you have a stigma that it’s an ‘old-age’ place.” Stigmas can run strong and deep, and it can take time—even years— for perceptions to change. This tale too, is a familiar one to many. “I had that in my mind for a long time…that I was not going to go there. But I don’t feel that way anymore. The people here are just so nice. And after being on my own for seven years, and then finally when I turned 80, I thought, ok, maybe it’s time. Better to do it when you’re still able.”

August has been a whirlwind month with over half of the 43 Maple suites now home to new residents. Throughout September, the building will continue to fill with new residents, including Audrey. “I’m very excited,” she says, with a smile on her face. “There’s some friends of mine moving in as well.” One of her dearest friends bought the suite immediately adjacent to hers, and Audrey knows several other new Maple residents too, as they attend the same church. “There’s a lot of people I haven’t met though, and I’m looking forward to meeting them. I’m looking forward to just being together and fellowshipping together.” We’re looking forward to that too!

The Maple

The Maple at Elim Village Garrison Crossing

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