Our Story

Our Story

The Story Behind Summerset

One of the good things about family is that they are always there when you need them. The notion of responding to the needs of family is the foundation and genesis of Summerset Assisted Living Community. We take pride knowing each member of our Atlanta and Vinings area adult day care staff is a caring, dedicated professional.

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Built on the Support of a Family

In mid 1980, Mack Willis, Sr. was promoted to his IBM division HQ in Princeton, NJ. This meant moving from his home state of Georgia to unfamiliar territory. The move, from Atlanta, happened when Mack and Gwen were expecting their second child and James. Mack, Jr. was three.

Shortly after arriving in Princeton, following weeks of house hunting (up and down the stairs, in and out of the car) James was born one month ahead of plan. 90% of household goods were still in moving boxes when Gwen was rushed to the hospital. Luckily, they had contacted their aunt, Lois Wright, who lived in White Plains, NY upon their arrival to New Jersey. White Plains was less than two hours away. Aunt Lois who is a retired nurse and hospital administrator was perfectly suited to jump in and help with this “surprise” situation. A desperate call to Lois from Mack got very quick results.

A Helping Hand

Aunt Lois and Uncle James, her husband, came to the rescue: “Mack, you go to IBM and take care of your new job,” she said. “James and I will look after Gwen, Little Mack and the new Baby.” This was a life saver for the Willises. Gwen and the new baby went home from the hospital to White Plains, NY with Uncle James and Aunt Lois.

What was supposed to be a two-year assignment turned out to be a ten-year assignment: three years in Princeton and seven years in Chappaqua, NY. Since Chappaqua is 15 minutes from White Plains, the Willises joined Aunt Lois’ and Uncle James’ church in White Plains. The families grew very close during this ten year period in the northeast.

Returning to Atlanta

In 1989, Mack got an opportunity to move back to Atlanta, GA. About six months after their move, Uncle James passed away. Aunt Lois decided to come live in Atlanta to be near the Willis family. Upon Aunt Lois’ arrival, Mack and Gwen helped her find a home in College Park, near several retired friends from NY. After about five years, Aunt Lois was in her mid 80’s and required more attention. Mack and Gwen wound up going to College Park to check on her, sometimes three to four times per week. Something had to be done. They tried getting her a live in caregiver but that did not work. They went through five caregivers in one year.

Assisted Living: A Caring Solution

It was about this time that Mack and Gwen noticed new facilities being built near their home in East Cobb called “ASSISTED LIVING HOMES.” They realized that the services offered would be ideal for Aunt Lois. She was not seriously ill physically, but needed watchful oversight. Three hot meals, daily snacks, assistance with laundry, cleaning and other “Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s), seemed very appealing. At that time, there were no such communities available in southwest Atlanta or Vinings. This was the beginning of Summerset. In responding to the needs of a family member, just as this family member had responded to their needs, Mack and Gwen set out to develop an assisted living community in southwest Atlanta. They felt this would serve the needs of Aunt Lois, and others like her, on the south side of Atlanta.

Care and Community

Clients are now coming to Summerset Assisted Living Community from all around the Vinings and Metro Atlanta area. Summerset has become central to the Willises’ lives. It is a business, but more importantly, it is their ministry. It has been and continues to be a real joy to provide assisted living and adult day care services to residents of the Atlanta and Vinings areas.

Schedule a tour today! (470) 231-2357

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