Meet Salisbury’s Martha Adkins, Who Has the Longest Tenure of Any Resident at Carillon Assisted Living’s 22 Residences in N.C.
When Martha Adkins moved into Carillon Assisted Living of Salisbury in January of 2000, she had no idea she would still be calling Carillon home nearly 19 years later. In addition to earning the longest longevity record of any resident, she has become known across the Carillon family as one of our leading sparkplugs.
“When new people come in, ‘I tell them I’ve been here a long time and you can make it too,’” says Martha, who had to move to Carillon after a degenerative muscle disease left the Salisbury widow unable to live on her own. “I try to lift them up and cheer them up. They love it.”
Martha also serves as an unofficial assistant to Activities Director Julie Lefler by heading down the hallways several times a day to remind residents of what activity is coming next.
“Martha and I are old buddies,” Julie says. “She’s a big encourager for other residents to come and do things. She helps relieve me by not having to go knock on doors all the time. If we get in a crunch, I say, ‘You go down this hallway and I’ll go down that one.’”
Martha grew up in Plum Branch, South Carolina, a community of less than 100 people in the southwestern part of the state. She later moved to Salisbury, where she met her husband at Livingstone College, a private, Christian-based, historically black college.
A cook at the school, Garfield Adkins also played the piano. Before long, he was making music in Martha’s mind. The couple married and later had a son and two daughters, eight grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.
Although they enjoyed a 42-year-long marriage before Garfield passed, the early going was tough. Their oldest child was born deaf; when old enough to get an education they enrolled him in a school for the deaf. He lived there during the week and came home on weekends.
“It was hard, but I took care of him,” Martha recalls. “He was a big boy and played football.”
Though her health forced her into retirement, in addition to assisting Julie with announcements, Martha has stayed busy as Salisbury’s unofficial greeter. She is often outside under her favorite tree, where she waves at passersby and greets visitors and new residents.
“I tell Martha her wheels can go much faster than my legs,” Julie says. “Unless she’s sick or has a doctor’s appointment, she’s there for every activity. She is an encourager, and everyone looks for her to be there. She’s personable and likes to dress up every day. She wears a hat and jewelry that matches every outfit. She’s a snappy dresser.”
Because of her muscle problems, Martha appreciates the handicapped accessible facilities at Carillon and the food—which includes the cakes that Martha likes to bake.
Julie, who will celebrate her 17th anniversary with the Carillon team in December, calls Martha a valuable asset to the Carillon family.
“She loves the Lord and does what she knows is the right thing to do,” Julie says of her friend’s positive outlook. “That makes it easy to have her heart of gold.”
on October 24, 2018