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Sisters Ann and Linda Griffin talk by phone most every night.

Almost always, Ann, a resident of Riverside Healthy Living Community - Smithfield’s Magnolia Manor, has one topic on her mind that must be covered before proceeding with the pleasantries.

“It’s puzzles first. Cryptoquip, the Jumble,” Linda said. “Forget the amenities of, ‘How are you? How have you been?’ We talk after we do the puzzles.”

Ann Griffin used to be competitive with her mother when it came to puzzling.

“My aunt in Richmond was a schoolteacher and she introduced me to the Jumble,” said Ann, who tackles that first thing every morning.

Ann Griffin, 65, grew up in Churchland and found joy in hobbies that also included needlepoint and caring for a pet parakeet she named Pickles after the comic strip. She’s overcome multiple health issues throughout her life, epilepsy included, and moved into Magnolia Manor, the assisted living area of the Riverside community, four years ago.

“Her quality of life is 100% better,” Linda said. “She was lacking socialization skills, and they have improved greatly since she’s been there. I can’t say enough positive about Magnolia Manor. Every chance I get, I recommend it.”

Linda is grateful that so many of the residents have taken Ann under their wing. Because Ann struggles with her speech and is quieter than most, making friends hasn’t always been easy for her.

Linda recalls one of the times that Ann returned from rehabilitation at a hospital after a seizure.

“Ann! Ann, come in!” several of the residents said upon seeing her face.

“I almost cried,” Linda said. “It’s really got to me that they understood Ann. It does my heart good to see people care about Ann. In talking with her psychiatrist, he said, ‘Ann has just blossomed there.’ And he stressed the word blossomed.”