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Ample space and light

Linden Ponds couple create a beautiful space to blend with their busy lives

Created date

February 22nd, 2011

Thoughtful reflection is a priority for Richard Dick and Virginia Ginny Bauer, who carefully considered their decision to downsize and move to a condominium retirement community in western Massachusetts. But three years later, unforeseen structural problems in the condo left the couple in an urgent search for a new home. We didn t want to go back to clearing gutters again, Dick Bauer says, and the couple wanted to be close to either their son in East Longmeadow or their daughter in Norwood. The Bauers were drawn to Linden Ponds, an Erickson Living community in Hingham, near their daughter. We quickly realized you have the advantages of a city, Mr. Bauer says. You ve got everything here, including a hair salon, a bank, a dentist, and physician offices. Needing adequate space for their grand piano, the Bauers say they were fortunate to find a two-bedroom apartment not only with ample space but also with ample light. The large windows of their Washington-style apartment home overlook a scenic wooded area. The Bauers worked with Erin Yunits of Custom Interiors at Linden Ponds to have hardwood floors installed and their walls painted. We were just so grateful to get settled, Mr. Bauer says of the move. He adds of Custom Interiors, Everything that they promised to do, all of it was done in plenty of time and it was done well.

Creating opportunity

Once settled, the Bauers had time to familiarize themselves with the existing opportunities on campus and create their own. A retired minister who spent much of his professional career as a hospital chaplain at the University of Connecticut Health Center, Dick Bauer wanted to create a forum for reflection in which to address difficult issues from the state of education to end-of-life care. Bauer s goal was realized when he founded the Linden Ponderers, a group that meets monthly to discuss such topics. The group has attracted more than 40 people, resulting in Bauer splitting it into two groups that meet separately and remain engaged in thoughtful, sometimes heated, but always respectful discussion. My hope is not that we will solve these questions, but that we ll be confused at a deeper level, he says. He adds that he hopes the group s conversations and pondering can carry over into day-to-day life. In addition to spearheading the Ponderers group, Mr. Bauer, a lifelong pianist, has taken his musical talents to performances with others in the community at Renaissance Gardens, Linden Ponds on-site health care neighborhood. Bauer recently began playing on Wednesday evenings in the Acorn Pub on campus. People can define their social distance here, Bauer says. If you re naturally extroverted and you get energy from other people, you can do that here. If you are more introverted you just want to be left alone you can have that. Mrs. Bauer was a pioneer working as a professional in retirement and financial planning, a male-dominated field. Now in her own retirement, she finds time to participate in book groups and the walking group at Linden Ponds. She also does her own genealogy research. A talented photographer, Mrs. Bauer s images adorn the entryway to the couple s apartment and have appeared in Life @ Linden Ponds, the community s electronic magazine. The Bauers quickly became acquainted with Linden Ponds wellness center, where Mrs. Bauer attends exercise classes and Mr. Bauer has found bicycling partners in the center s staff, who have invited him out to cycle on nearby back roads. Mr. Bauer says that at Linden Ponds, Recreational needs are met, physical needs met, emergency needs met. We feel very blessed to be here.

Giving back

Nevertheless, the Bauers recognize the importance of giving back to the world outside of Linden Ponds. One of my hopes is to see if we can take advantage of the huge talent bank of seniors here who write well, who have been teachers, who could supplement overworked teachers, Mr. Bauer says. He hopes to make connections with local schools or other organizations that could benefit from the talents of those who live at Linden Ponds. Citing psychoanalyst Erik Erikson s idea that people over 65 years of age often begin to evaluate the success of their lives, the Bauers aim to use our days in a way that encourages and supports the world and leaves it a little better than when we came into it. The Bauers appear to be well on their way.