A Mother Living in a Community of Love


By Kelly Harris

Atlanta, GA –  Every day, 10,000 people turn 65. Assuring these older adults a life of dignity, peace and compassionate care is a cornerstone of our faith.  When Gladys & Charles Smith reached retirement age, they knew it was important to be close to family and live in a community where they would continue to thrive.   They were happily married and the parents of three living in New Orleans.  When hurricane Katrina hit, they lost their long-time home and had no family nearby, so moved into Wesley Woods Towers to be closer to their daughter in Atlanta.

They immediately invested into their community, making new friends through the many activities available to them. They lived a happy and full life in their later years. After several years, Charles suffered a stroke and was transferred to Budd Terrace, a skilled nursing facility nearby. In the three years he required care there, he had consumed the majority of their assets. After he passed away, soon Gladys had a stroke and moved to Budd Terrace for rehabilitation. During her time there, she outlived her remaining assets, and no longer had the financial means to receive the care she so desperately needed.

Because of the generous gifts of others, Gladys received the financial funds required to stay in her home, and continued flourishing at Budd Terrace for the next five years. While living at this community, you would often find her talking through her care with the local charge nurse, and participating in every activity she could get her hands on. 

Joyce Smith Wilson, Gladys’s daughter and former administrator at Wesley Woods, remembers it best, “There were many times I would come visit my mother, and she would tell me to come back later because she was having so much fun! For the first three years, I don’t think she missed a single activity. She was very happy there!” 

The staff at Budd Terrace surrounded Gladys like family, so having her be the center of her own care was just as important to them as her real family. “I loved the way the staff anticipated my mother’s needs. She loved being dressed to the nines in matching clothes, bright red lipstick, and have her hair done just right. The staff knew those things were important to her, so they always had my mother looking beautiful. She was given all the dignity in the world by them, and isn’t that what we all deserve?” Joyce says.

While Gladys went on to be with the Lord in September 2015, she was able to live a richer life and develop friends through the love and care provided by Wesley Woods. 

“I’m confident my mother would not have survived those seven years had she lived anywhere else,” Joyce declares, “I have always been a supporter and contributor to benevolence care at Wesley Woods because I’ve seen firsthand how important it was for the residents and their families, and especially when my mother became a recipient of it herself.”

As Mother’s Day is fast approaching, we’re reminded of the important ministry the North Georgia Conference began through Wesley Woods over 60 years ago. The gifts of the annual Wesley Woods Mother’s Day Offering go directly to benevolence care in each of our nine communities.  They have touched thousands of older adults and their families over the years, allowing them to remain in their homes just as Gladys did.

For more information about Wesley Woods and their annual Mother’s Day Offering, please visit www.wesleywoods.org/foundation/mother-s-day-offering.html.