It surprises them all the time, but staff at senior living communities are never surprised when they hear residents say, “We wished we’d moved here sooner.” It’s true that once the anxiety of the actual move passes, and once they settle in, most residents begin to truly enjoy life – some for the first time in years. The social opportunities in senior living communities offer new friendships with people who have similar life experiences. Many residents begin exercising regularly and find that they feel better physically as well as emotionally. Others fall in love with the hospitality offered, the support within the community of friends and staff, and the carefree lifestyle.
As providers of senior living services, we can attest at length to what we see and hear from residents, but there is no better testimony than the ones that come from residents themselves.
Martin Vavra, Arbor Oaks at Crestview Retirement Community
Martin and his wife, Deany, moved to Arbor Oaks in their mid- to late-80’s. After living in the community for five years, he concludes the best age to make the move into a retirement community would be the mid-70’s.
“You should get in at that age, get established and enjoy life while you’re still mobile and able to take advantage of all the things they offer,” he said. “Too many people say they’re not ready, and they put it off. Then they wait until their mobility and health is limited and that’s a drawback to enjoying all that’s offered.”
Both Martin and his wife use walkers to get around now, and he says that limits their ability to participate in outings, although they are still active within the community. So even though the Vavras moved to Arbor Oaks later than they now wish, the couple still enjoys the lifestyle and Martin adds, “We’ve made a lot of friends.”
Betty Lewis, PineCrest Retirement Community
Betty and Bill Lewis moved to PineCrest on March 17, 2017. John always said he didn’t want to leave his home, but his failing health and the burdens of caring for him and the house convinced both of them the time had come. Unfortunately, John passed away on May 23, 2017 at PineCrest.
“I say to myself now, ‘If we had moved sooner, maybe he would have done better. If we had moved five years sooner, he would have enjoyed it. There are other men here he could talk to, and all he would have to do was get on his scooter and go downstairs. At home, he sat in his chair and watched TV a big part of the day.'”
Betty is thankful nowadays to be living at PineCrest. She is surprised, most of all, at how life at PineCrest is dramatically different than she pictured it.
“People think it’s a nursing home,” she says, admitting that she harbored some of the same misconceptions. “It’s not like that at all. I didn’t expect it to be so easy to live here, and I can come and go as I please. I thought I’d be stuck here!”
Betty also loves the housekeeping services, the quality of the food and the fact that “the surroundings are all clean and dusted, and the halls are nice with lovely décor.”
In the end, Betty strongly feels she made the right decision, even though it was made later than she wanted.
“I think if Bill had been here sooner it’s possible that he would have gone to exercise class and gotten stronger. Now that he’s gone, I could see myself, if not here at PineCrest, just sitting in my house weeping and being miserable. Here, there’s always someone to talk to, things to do, and people to joke with.”
Les Stratton, Cornerstone Retirement Community
Les and his wife, Doris, are well versed on the advantages of moving to a retirement community while your health and mobility are still in peak performance. They have lived at Cornerstone for 18 years, having moved in their mid-70’s. Les says he wishes more people would understand how much they could enjoy in the years between 75 and 90.
“You need to do it while you’re still young and active enough. The last thing you want to do is wait until your children are telling you it’s a must-do.”
His most important advice: “Do it when you can think clearly and can enjoy it.”
Les and Doris began searching for a retirement community while in their mid-60’s. They chose Cornerstone because it is a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), and he cautions people to consider “what may or may not happen” as they age.
“The day you make the decision should be the youngest point in your elder life, a time when you’re able to enjoy all the amenities and activities that are offered in the community. Make the decision and go ahead and do it, but make it sooner rather than later.”
For more information on MRC communities in Texas, visit one or more of our community web pages:
Arbor Oaks at Crestview – Bryan
Cornerstone – Texarkana
Creekside – Huntsville
PineCrest – Lufkin