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Smile more, stress less

College professor finds good balance between work and life at Ann’s Choice

Jacqueline Kimball
July 12, 2018

When Nina and Belmont Haydel moved from Elkins Park, Pa., to Ann's Choice last November, they were planning for the future.

Belmont no longer drives, but Nina still pursues her teaching career. Erickson Living's retirement community in Bucks County, Pa., offered them maintenance-free, one-level living and a host of on-site amenities and activities.

The Haydels were attracted to Ann's Choice's 103-acre grounds and the diversity of its 2,000 community members.

Nina was also taken with the floor plan they chose. Their Lancaster-style apartment is a deluxe two-bedroom, two-bath, corner apartment with a sunroom and bay window.

Her heavy teaching schedule meant she needed ample space for a home office where she could read, write, and grade papers. She found that space in an area of the couple's large master bedroom.

The space accommodates floor-to-ceiling bookcases, Nina's corner desk, and her computer equipment. She's arranged things so she can work at her desk computer, then swivel around to the table holding her laptop.

The apartment also suits Nina's teaching philosophy; her office opens to the sunroom where she meets with her college students one-on-one. The home's second bedroom is Belmont's study.

Nina's teaching career stretches back 60 years. "My heart is in teaching and writing," she says. "I can't envision retiring."

She works about 60 hours a week during the regular school year. This spring, that meant eight courses, two each at four different universities. Four courses were in the classroom; the others were online. She's also written college textbooks.

The perfect fit

"I have peace of mind when I'm at school because my husband has found people and activities here that engage him," Nina says. "And if he's happy, I'm happy."

Because the Haydels have led interesting lives and lived in a number of countries, they thought they'd be comfortable residing within the cosmopolitan mix of Ann's Choice's population. And they are.

They've made scores of campus friends and frequently entertain them for dinner and conversation in their formal living and dining room. The décor reflects their love of antiques and features mementoes from the Middle East and their other travels.

Belmont's experiences as a two-time Fulbright scholar and as a diplomat to Latin America took the couple almost around the world. Nina's education credentials—a master's degree in the teaching of writing and an Ed.D. with a concentration in curriculum design—meant she could teach wherever life led them.

Along the way, they reared seven children.

Nina has always kept a full appointment book. Because her schedule this summer includes only her online courses, she's launched a twice-monthly class in memory or reminiscing writing at Ann's Choice.

She also gives first-person presentations and reenactments as notable women like Anne Hathaway, Sally Hemings, and Frida Kahlo for local organizations. She presented as Frida Kahlo several years ago at Ann's Choice.

Theater is in Nina's DNA. Her father was in vaudeville, and she was trained in theater and ballet from childhood.

Catering to working seniors

Ann's Choice's on-site amenities make life easier for community members who still work. For example, Nina switched her doctor to an Ann's Choice physician who practices full time in the campus medical center.

Campus dining is also convenient because of its flexibility and array of freshly prepared entrees. Nina and Belmont chose a flexible-meal plan of 20 monthly meal credits apiece to use as they like, which is included in their monthly service package.

The plan makes sense for them because they often dine off campus with area friends. When they entertain in their home, Belmont cooks Creole and Cajun dishes from his native New Orleans. Nina doesn't cook and never has, claiming she can't compete with her husband's culinary skills.

They both enjoy Ann's Choice's cooked-to-order cuisine and the ambience in its restaurants. But when Nina is pressed for time, Belmont dines with neighbors on campus, and she picks up her meal to go and eats it at home.

During the Haydels' search for the right retirement community, Ann's Choice was always their preference, and it's proved a superb choice.

"My life hasn't changed at all except that I'm happier here," says Nina. "I smile much more. The atmosphere is so positive in every way. It's having all these people around; we see them in the hallways, and we chat and we laugh. This is the best place we've ever lived."

To explore vibrant senior living at Ann's Choice, request more information today! 

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