These days, you can research just about anything on the internet. From vacation destinations to tech devices, you'll find reviews for everything online. But more often than not, the best recommendations come from the sources we trust the most: our family and friends. When you get a recommendation from someone who knows your tastes and lifestyle, you can be reasonably certain you'll end up enjoying it. That's why so many people move to Riderwood, an Erickson Living managed senior living community in Silver Spring, Maryland each year after learning about the community from a friend or relative.
"Residents play a huge role in helping their loved ones consider a move to Riderwood," says Sales Associate Kierra Patterson. "This is because they are hearing how great our community is—learning from those who live here daily and from people their age who have been in their shoes."
Patterson says resident referrals are a vital part of Riderwood's success. In 2019, at least 13 of the people who moved to Riderwood did so because a current community member referred them.
Case in point
Jean Sonntag and her husband Bill moved to Riderwood in 2017. Jean was familiar with Erickson Living because her aunt lived at Charlestown, Riderwood's sister community in Catonsville, Md. She got to know more about Riderwood when her friend Elaine moved to the community and started inviting Jean to join her for lunch at the on-site restaurants. The two women had standing twice-monthly lunch dates, so Jean became a frequent visitor to Riderwood.
"Elaine is a big reason we are here," Jean says. "We were in love with the campus concept, all of the classes and activities, and the financial structure of Erickson Living, and what was so appealing about Riderwood was that it was such a lovely campus."
Since becoming a resident, Jean says Riderwood has indeed lived up to her expectations. Jean is an adjunct English professor at Howard Community College, so joining Riderwood's Lifelong Learning committee was a perfect fit, and she is currently the co-chair of the group. She is also a member of a resident-run book club and enjoys exercising at the on-site fitness center and indoor pool. She is a resident ambassador, and both she and Bill volunteer in Riderwood's sponsor program that introduces prospective residents to everything Riderwood has to offer.
While some in-person gatherings are put on hold, Jean says the sense of community at Riderwood is alive and well. Instead of meeting friends for dinner at the on-site restaurants, Jean and Bill started having a glass of wine with different neighbors on Zoom before having dinner at home courtesy of Riderwood's personal meal delivery. Jean says fitness classes were aired on the in-house TV station and her book club continued to meet virtually using Zoom.
"During COVID-19, I've been amazed at how adaptable Riderwood is—how we have taken what we did before and figured out how to do it differently, as opposed to not doing it anymore," Jean says. After becoming familiar with Riderwood through Elaine, Jean has been so pleased with the community that she has, in turn, encouraged other friends to make the move. She and Bill previously lived in a 55-plus community in Ellicott City, Md. They've told their previous neighbors how great it has been to not have to worry about taking care of a house and instead spend their free time enjoying all of the amenities at Riderwood.
"I just like people to know how wonderful the life is here," Jean says. "There is so much here to enjoy—come now so you can enjoy it, and you can make friends easily."
June and Lee Waxman also previously lived at the same 55-plus community before moving to Riderwood. June credits the Sonntags with piquing their interest in Riderwood. "Another friend that lived in our community asked if we wanted to go to visit Riderwood,"
June says. "I just thought, 'Wow, there is everything here.' The Sonntags had us up to their apartment and I thought, 'If I could have an apartment like this, I would move here."
Both the Sonntags and the Waxmans have spacious custom apartment homes (created by combining two apartment homes). June says her apartment home has two large bedrooms and an office, which means there is plenty of room when her daughter comes to visit.
"We have three bathrooms, two full bathrooms with showers, so you can have guests," June says. "When my daughter stays, she has her own bathroom at the other end of the hall."
55-plus communities can't compare
June says Riderwood offers many advantages over a 55-plus community. She and Lee particularly like that all of the amenities at Riderwood are under one roof and accessible by indoor walkways.
"At the 55-plus community, everything is separate. Here, everything is together—the classes, workout rooms, medical center; whereas, in the 55-plus community, you have to walk two blocks to the little rec room. You can walk to the clubhouse there, but it is two blocks, and if there was ice, sometimes we had to drive down there, and now this is just a walk down the hall."
June has taken yoga classes at Riderwood and has also gotten into zentangle, a relaxing art form where you create images by drawing structured patterns. She and Lee have enjoyed getting to know their neighbors over leisurely meals at Riderwood's on-site restaurants.
While many activities and events at Riderwood were on hold during the pandemic, June and Lee were spending their extra time at home watching movies, an activity they both love. During the summer months, they also spent more time outdoors.
"We're lucky we have a patio, and we can go out on it anytime," June says.
Consider Riderwood if you’re interested in living in a connected and engaged senior independent living community. Beautiful walking paths, gardens, resort-style amenities, an on-site medical center staffed by full-time medical professionals, and new friends await. Request more information today.