Helen and David Steinberg are embracing the vibrant lifestyle at senior living community in Pequannock.
After years of living in an empty nest, David and Helen Steinberg realized they didn't need such a large home. So they decided to downsize.
"Because David was, and still is, working as a consultant to the cosmetic industry, the house and everything about it was on me," says Helen, who spent most of her adult life as a caretaker for their son with disabilities, her step-sons, and then looking after the needs of their parents. She was ready to start enjoying her life, not continuing to care for a large home.
A friend was planning to move to Lantern Hill, a continuing care retirement community built and managed by Erickson Living, in New Providence, New Jersey, so the Steinbergs decided to take a tour of the community. When they visited, "We were very impressed," David says.
It had everything they were looking for—top-notch amenities, activities, spacious and stunning apartment homes, worry-free living, and peace of mind should their health needs change down the road.
But it was still under construction at the time they took a tour, and they wanted to start enjoying a maintenance-free lifestyle sooner rather than later. Plus, their son had moved to a facility in West Orange, and it was imperative that they move closer to him.
"Our son with disabilities is a top priority," says Helen. "That trip from our home in Plainsboro could take three hours if I hit the parkway at the wrong time."
Luckily, the Steinbergs had no sooner joined the priority list at Lantern Hill when they discovered Cedar Crest, in Pompton Plains—just under 30 minutes from West Orange. Since Cedar Crest is also managed by Erickson Living, their priority list membership was transferable, and they didn't lose their place in line for the apartment home of their choice.
"Geographically, it made sense," David says.
Just a month after transferring the priority list status to Cedar Crest, the Steinbergs were touring two-bedroom apartment homes. Just a few weeks later, the floor plan they wanted became available in the perfect location.
"We said, 'We'll take it," David says. Shortly after that, they moved into their new home on January 19, 2018.
"Many of our residents have made the same decision as Helen and David," says Sales Director Ray Guarino. "Why wait? Cedar Crest's unmatched value replaces your cost of living and delivers more amenities and services than your current living situation."
"I feel like something was lifted off of me," Helen says of shedding homeowner responsibilities. In fact, she took a picture of a groundskeeper shoveling snow this winter in celebration that she wasn't out there in the cold.
Plus, she adds, though she didn't do the cooking—David did—she doesn't miss cleaning up. Now, they eat at one of Cedar Crest's five on-site restaurants most nights using their flexible meal plan, which is included in a fixed monthly service package.
"Here, we're with people every evening. There's conversation and socialization that was lacking in my life as a caretaker," Helen says. While she advocated for people with disabilities and interacted with others through her work with the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities, regular socialization was hard to come by. "There's something to be said about having friends and a normal life."
At Cedar Crest, the Steinbergs have that and more. They can walk to restaurants, doctor appointments, movies, lectures, and activities. They also enjoy working out in the campus fitness center five to seven days a week.
"For us, it's regular apartment living, plus," she says. "I'm very glad we made the move. I think more people should do it at our ages, not when you can't take care of the house, but when you'd rather take part in activities, make friends, and enjoy life."
"David and Helen are excellent examples of people who are truly embracing the lifestyle here at Cedar Crest," Guarino says. "They moved in with the idea of living a more worry-free life, and they're able to do that here."
Photo: David and Helen Steinberg get ready to workout at Cedar Crest's fitness center.
Written by Julia Collins