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Social scene flutters with activity

Social vibe scores big in Bucks County

Created date

July 14th, 2009

Gerald and Miriam Shur were familiar with community living before moving to Ann s Choice in 2006. They had lived at Heritage Harbor, in Annapolis, Md., a neighborhood that welcomes people over the age of 55, for 11 years. We knew we wanted to be in a community; we just didn t know where, Mr. Shur says. Lifelong friends of the Shurs lived in two different Erickson communities, Riderwood, in Md., and Greenspring, in Va. After looking at other retirement communities, nothing came close to Erickson, he says. Wanting to be close to their 14-year-old granddaughter, they chose Ann s Choice despite other opportunities. Their son in Philadelphia had built an apartment attached to his house so his parents could live with them, but the Shurs still opted for Ann s Choice. I believe it s good to be close but not that close, Mrs. Shur says. We re very independent, and we want to stay that way. Mr. Shur expected the move to go well and the people to be friendly, but the collective at Ann s Choice gave him a gift greater than he could imagine. I didn t expect to make so many friends and have so many people we care about and who care about us, he says. The socialization they get at Ann s Choice is one of their favorite parts about living there. They are surrounded by friendly people, yet they can maintain their privacy in their apartment home. Since moving to Ann s Choice, the couple has been able to do things they never would have before. He joined a band and plays the drums, they take advantage of the events and trips, and they re even working with others to develop a mentoring program for high school students. The trouble is finding enough time to do everything you want, Mrs. Shur says. Extended family Similarly, Ralph and Dolly Steele moved to Ann s Choice on a recommendation from friends. Mr. Steele had helped his best friend move into his apartment home, and he was hooked. He wanted to move here from the first day, and then he had to convince me, Mrs. Steele says. She enjoyed being in her house and digging in her garden, but she quickly realized that the house was becoming a burden to maintain. We had to keep putting money into it because it was an older house, Mr. Steele says. Eventually, Mrs. Steele realized the advantages of community living that she couldn t ignore. The first was that she wouldn t have to cook anymore. And the 100% refundable entrance deposit relieved any uncertainties the couple might have had. But the greatest benefit of all was one neither of them was expecting: to be so active and involved. He plays volleyball in the pool every week and belongs to the wood shop and model railroad clubs, as well as volunteering for the valet service for Ann s Choice events. Uniquely, he s involved with the Ann s Choice Veterans Club, an opportunity that wouldn t have been available to him had he stayed in his house. The American Legion had a cut-off date for eligibility of 1955, and since Mr. Steele joined in 1957, he wasn t eligible. Additionally, the Veterans of Foreign Wars only recognizes combat veterans; since he was involved with army and military intelligence and never even heard a shot fired, he wasn t eligible for that either. The Ann s Choice Veterans Club recognizes all who served in the military including the merchant marines, which is usually excluded, Mr. Steele says. Mrs. Steele is involved with Bible study, bocce ball, and maintaining her relationship with her best friend, also an Ann s Choice resident. And that s just a sampling of their activities. We wouldn t be as active if we d stayed in our home, Mr. Steele says. I think people are much more isolated in the home, and being around all of these people is like having an extended family, his wife adds. There s also a convenience factor. If they stayed in their house, they would have to drive to events and consider distance and even weather. At Ann s Choice, all they have to do is walk or take the campus shuttle to events, to dinner, even to the doctor s office everything they need is located at the community. On holiday every day Jack and Phyllis Leonard moved to Ann s Choice initially out of need. When he injured his spine, they chose the full-service community for its combination of independent living and continuing health care. What started as a necessity, however, resulted in the two of them participating in a worry-free lifestyle. We feel like we re on holiday every day! Mrs. Leonard says. She plays cards on a daily basis, and he has taken up reading novels John Grisham is his favorite an activity he never did before moving to Ann s Choice. I never read in my life, and now I can t put books down, he says. The Leonards are Ann s Choice ambassadors, and they give visitors information about the campus and lifestyle. I advise people to move here while they re healthy and can enjoy all the activities, Mrs. Leonard says, and if something were to happen, there s extraordinary continuing care offered here.