Former city dwellers enjoy warmth of new neighbors
For 30 years, Stephen and Janet Arpee lived in their house in Washington, D.C., taking full advantage of city living. However, in 2017, the couple realized that city living was not only becoming burdensome, it was also lonely.
"Our American culture has become very urbanized," says Stephen. "We assume that our neighbors don't want to know us. Instead, we value anonymity, placing a very high priority on privacy. Janet and I began to feel that even more as we aged. We decided that we wanted to become a part of a demographically dense and diverse community."
"We knew immediately that this is where we wanted to live," says Janet. Everything moved quickly after that. Working with Greenspring's personal moving consultant, the couple sold their house and moved into their new one bedroom, with den, Gilbert apartment home in just two months. Now, three years later, the couple enjoys life to the fullest, surrounded by what Stephen calls his "village."
"Greenspring does so much to foster the concept of village," he says. "We are now a part of this village of people who want to know us. In my opinion, it is a more human, more joyous way to live than alone and in private."
With the exception of the friends who suggested the visit to Greenspring, the Arpees did not know anyone on campus when they made their move. However, that all changed quickly as the couple ventured out to dinner at the community's five on-site restaurants.
"We looked forward to going to dinner each night," says Stephen. "We were seated with different people each night. We enjoyed meeting new friends and hearing their stories. Everyone was so welcoming."
Janet agrees. "My favorite part about being a new resident was meeting new people," she says. "It was an absolute joy to sit around the dinner table sharing stories. I was so fascinated by their extraordinary experiences."
Soon after the couple's move, Stephen, an Episcopal minister, was recruited to participate in Greenspring's weekly Bible study.
"That was another great way to meet new people," he says. "I also volunteered as a projectionist for our Saturday evening movies."
The couple also began hosting their two sons and grandchildren in their new home.
"Our children are happy that we are so happy," says Janet. "It gives them peace of mind to not only know that we are safe, but that we are enjoying ourselves, meeting new people, and getting involved."
Their children also appreciate the huge support system in place at Greenspring.
"Everything is organized to support us and keep us independent," says Stephen. "Whether it's numerous activities, 24-hour security, dining, or health care. And the health benefits are huge. Before our move, I spent all my time driving to doctor's appointments. Now, it is so much easier to receive the care we need at the on-site medical center."
Janet appreciates the benefits of the on-site fitness center. "It was one of the things that stood out most to me when we visited," she says. "It is most impressive and the staff are wonderful. They have an amazing ability to listen to everyone and meet their individual needs. In my opinion, the fitness center is the soul of Greenspring— keeping mind, body, and spirit healthy."
Support net widens
Earlier this year, when precautionary safety measures were taken to protect the Greenspring community, the Arpees found they were in exactly the right place for the unprecedented circumstances.
"I am a nurse and midwife by training," says Janet. "I worked during the polio epidemic in both England and Tehran. These months have been a time of reflection. I often think, 'how, if you're living alone, are you doing?' There must be some very lonely people as a result of COVID-19."
By contrast, the Arpees are well-cared for and busy with their daily pursuits.
"Remarkably, we are busier than we were a year ago," says Stephen. "During this time, I've delved into video conferencing and find it very satisfying. Greenspring has done a great job providing us with strong Wi-Fi to handle the increased traffic staying at home has created."
The couple uses Zoom to participate in small group Bible studies and keep in touch with friends in England and Australia.
"I worked with an English-speaking community in Tehran for six years in the 1970s," says Stephen. "We are now planning our reunion, all courtesy of technology."
"I'm not a techy person, but I found that I can learn these new skills, and a whole new world opened up to me," says Janet.
With appropriate infection prevention measures in place, the couple are taking full advantage of visiting with their neighbors, their children, and grandchildren.
"There are just so many advantages to living at Greenspring," says Stephen. "What's not to love about moving to a wonderful village, so close to Metropolitan D.C. with all of its resources and entertainment opportunities? We are very blessed."
To learn more about all of the advantages of living at Greenspring, call 703-913-1200 or visit www.GreenspringCommunity.com.
About Greenspring: Greenspring, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 58-acre campus in Springfield, Virginia. The not-for-profit community of more than 2,000 residents and 1,000 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, Inc., who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Additional information can be found at GreenspringCommunity.com.
Written by Kelly Shue
Photo Caption: Janet and Stephen Arpee enjoy the opportunity to stay busy and enjoy the activities at Greenspring.
Photo credit: David Taylor