Mike and Joyce

Not So Newlyweds Follow Family Tradition and Find New Friends at Trillium Woods

Though Mike and Joyce Sluss are relatively new members of the Trillium Woods community, they’re already a little bit famous on campus. Five months after moving in, they agreed to participate in a very fun — and very well-attended — “Not So Newlywed Game” competition in the community’s main auditorium. Based on the popular game show from the 1970s and 80s, the Valentine’s Day event was hosted by Fox 9 meteorologist Keith Marler.

“For a few weeks, we couldn’t walk down the hall or go to dinner without someone telling us how much fun the ‘game show’ was,” Joyce says.

“Everyone’s always been friendly and welcoming — it’s one of the reasons that we chose Trillium Woods — but the “Not So Newlywed Game” kicked it up another notch,” says Mike.

The couple, who met as college students during a summer work/study program, has lived in many places during their long marriage, including Chicago, Minneapolis, Kalamazoo, Green Bay, and most recently, the Portland area.

Last year, they began looking for a senior living community, remembering the wonderful example Mike’s parents set for their children and grandchildren. “My mother and father chose a continuing care retirement community and moved in while they were still well enough to make their own decisions,” he explains. “By doing it themselves, on their own terms, they saved their children and grandchildren from having to make difficult choices on their behalf. It was a gift they gave us — saving us from that worry.”

Mike’s mom still lives in the community she chose in Ohio, in the memory care unit. “The continuum of care aspect of Trillium Woods was very important to us, as a gift to our own children,” says Joyce.

Mike and Joyce began their search in the Twin Cities area, to be near their daughter.

“Trillium Woods had the most activities, some of the largest floorplans, great closet storage, and the people — residents and staff alike — were all very friendly,” explains Joyce. “We were planning to wait a few years, but when an apartment we liked opened unexpectedly, we leaped at the offer! Because of the timing, just as the world (of COVID) was really starting to reopen, arriving at Trillium Woods was like jumping back into life.”

Making friends has proven to be very easy for the Sluss’s. “The tradition here is that people invite each other to dinner,” she continues. “No fussing over choosing a restaurant or extra cleaning before and after a shared meal at home. We just go and enjoy each other’s company.”

They have also made positive relationships through their participation in the Trillium Woods Chorale, a 35-member singing group led by a professional choir director from VocalEssence. “This winter, we performed with 4 other groups at the University of Minnesota’s Northup Auditorium,” says Mike. “It really was something.”

While the Sluss’s have fit in very nicely in their new community, they do retain their individuality. Another new tradition is weekly Sunday Brunch with their daughter in the 5855 Dining Room — except during the football season, when they go to her house to watch the games. “We get along great with our new neighbors, but we are still a Packers family living in Viking territory,” Mike laughs.