When Madison Kohout, 19, moved into her new apartment complex, she didn’t think much about the average age of her neighbors.
After all, she’d got a nice apartment in northeast Arkansas City of Piggott after moving there from Oklahoma. However, about a week in her new home, Ms. Kohout saw a sign outside the 10-unit complex that she hadn’t noticed before.
“I was looking around my area to see what I can do here and I saw the sign that said ‘Senior Living Apartments’ and I realized I was moving into an old age community,” said Ms. Kohout in an interview. “When I saw the sign, all things clicked. I said, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I did this.”
Ms. Kohout’s arrival at the apartment complex came after a connection she had established through TikTok last year with Piggott’s Lori Parker, who is known to her more than 65,000 followers as “the wife of a preacher, Mama and Nonna. “The two followed each other on the social media platform and quickly developed a relationship by commenting back and forth on the videos they shared.
“She just touched my heart,” said Ms. Parker on Sunday. “I felt like I had known her for a long time.”
Ms. Kohout left home at the age of 17 after a childhood of “many challenges”. in the a TikTok postShe said she grew up to support herself. After saying on a video that it has been a long time since she celebrated Thanksgiving with her family, Ms. Parker invited her to Arkansas. Those plans failed, but Ms. Kohout met the Parker family later in February.
“I just fell in love with their family and they were so good to me,” said Ms. Kohout.
Ms. Parker eventually suggested that Ms. Kohout move to Piggott, about 100 miles north of Memphis. so she could be closer to the family. Ms. Parker and husband Shawn have four children – the oldest is 31 and the youngest, 17, lives with them.
Ms. Kohout moved to Piggott from Norman, Oklahoma in March and searched for homes online.
There wasn’t much information on housing in Piggott. When she finally found a place and signed a monthly lease, she had no idea she was moving into an older adult complex.
“She knew I was 19 but never said anything,” Ms. Kohout said of the landlord, who was unavailable for comment. “The landlord really liked me.”
Ms. Kohout said that although the complex was designed for older adults, it was “equal opportunities,” meaning it could not legally discriminate against tenants.
It was after sunset when Ms. Kohout signed the lease, but was told she could move that night if she wanted.
“Nobody will hear anything,” Ms. Kohout laughed, remembering the landlord who told her. “You can’t hear very well.”
Ms. Kohout said this meant she could play music when she wanted, even when she came home late from her job as a nursing assistant. It’s one of the many advantages of living in an apartment complex for older adults Ms. Kohout has documented on TikTok.
Before moving to Arkansas, Ms. Kohout said she had around 30,000 followers on the social media app. Since then, as her TikTok updates from the apartment complex attracted widespread attention, her number of followers has grown to over 92,000.
Ms. Kohout said that she showed some of her TikTok videos to some of her neighbors and that she enjoyed connecting with them and hearing their stories.
“It’s like having extra grandparents,” Ms. Kohout said, adding that some of them check her out, take her out for dinner, and even leave snacks on her door.
Ms. Kohout said she specifically bonded with a neighbor who had a similar experience growing up.
“It’s fun to see how she overcame her life challenges,” said Ms. Kohout. “We talk a lot, even though she is about 50 years older than me.”
At the moment, Ms. Kohout plans to continue living in the complex and share her experience with her TikTok followers. She hoped to write a book, she said, and would think about writing about what she has learned from her new neighbors.
“They have a lot of stories that definitely made my heart and touched my heart and I think a lot of people would benefit from that,” she said. “I was lucky enough to hear them all.”