Corene Collins has lived through nearly a century of changes and developments in the world. In her 93 years, she lived through the depression, World War II and the Cold War. She is the last surviving member among her 10 siblings. “If anyone wants to know stuff about our family, they have to call me now,” Corene declares. Her grandson, who has an hour’s drive to work everyday out in South Dakota, often calls and says, “Tell me a story, Grandma.” Corene is happy to oblige. She loves any chance she gets to talk to her two daughters, five grandchildren or four great grandkids.
About 8 years ago, Corene’s granddaughter drove by the sign on her way to work that said that DRA was building senior apartments in Arnold. “There were just digging the dirt then,” Corene remembers. She was one of the very first residents at Water Color Villa’s in Arnold. She has received various services from DRA since then.
“I wouldn’t be here, living independently, without DRA,” said Corene.
She has several different Aides that come to help her with daily living chores. DRA’s nurse Donita comes once a week to help Corene set up her medication. “I would not even know how to start. She puts (my medication) in my pill box that looks like a spaceship. When it’s time for my pills it tell me, ‘You need to take your medicine.’ That box is the best thing ever invented!”
If she needs something, Corene knows that she can always ask DRA for help. “That is a great comfort to me!” she says.
For example, Corene’s bed was too high and she fell out of it once. When she mentioned it to her aide, Brenda said she would fix it for her, and she did. Now Corene feels much safer.
Another time, Corene had high blood pressure. He daughter was visiting with her and was concerned. Nurse Donita came up and checked it for her. Then she kept calling throughout the day to check in on her. Slowly her blood pressure came down, and they knew she would be fine. “Donita went above and beyond to make sure I was OK,” boasts Corene.
Based on her sharp mind and lively personality, you might not even guess that Corene is legally blind. Her macular degeneration has progressed to the point where she has very little vision left. She can’t drive, so Corene also uses DRA transportation for medical appointments. “I have no other way to get to a doctor. It makes such a difference that I can depend on DRA to get where I need to go.”
Corene was born in Missouri. She has moved all over the state, but has always lived somewhere in the Show Me State. For about 10 years, she lived and worked in Arnold as an administrative secretary for the C-6 school district. She worked at Rockport Elementary and then for the Superintendent. After she retired, she moved to St. Charles to live in senior living apartments there. Then she moved to Water Color Villas in Arnold, where she still lives today.
Today Corene likes to listen to non-fiction audio books and watch the Discovery Channel to satisfy her thirst to learn about the world, but when she was younger, she did a lot traveling to see it for herself. Years ago, her younger daughter worked for the airlines, and they traveled together a lot. One of her favorite trips was to Brazil, where the scenery was just beautiful. She has been to Hawaii and other islands, but since she doesn’t like to be in the sun too much, she prefers the mountains to the beach. She has gone several times to visit family in Colorado. Her niece and nephew have gone to Mexico twice a year for 32 years to build churches there. Several times Corene went with them, once even filling in as the clown. “It was fun to play giving to the kids there,” recollects Corene.
These days, when she is not listening to an audio autobiography of a former President, or chatting with her daughter who calls several times a day just to check in on her, Corene will sit on her front porch and visit with her neighbors. She has lived a long and full life. She has many stories to tell. She is grateful for all the people in her life. Probably, it is her positive and grateful attitude that have helped to carry her this far. She is still making memories and creating stories to share.