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Perfect location

Couple trades home in Hawaii for one closer to family

Created date

February 22nd, 2011

For more than four decades, Robert Bob and Merla Marsh called Oahu, the third largest of the nine Hawaiian Islands, home. But when their three-bedroom town house became more trouble than they wanted and their kids and grandkids began moving to the mainland, they decided to trade in their tropical location for a view of the Rockies in Highlands Ranch, Colo. We really loved living in Hawaii, say the Marshes, who initially moved to Hawaii while Bob was in the Navy and then returned after retirement in 1968. We lived up between the two mountain ranges on Oahu, and the weather was just great. It was always warm and everything was always in bloom. But after a health setback in 2006, the active couple decided to sell their place in the sun and began searching for a place closer to family. We realized being near our family was what mattered to us most, and if that meant we had to move away from Hawaii in order to do that, then we were ready to move, says Mrs. Marsh. We had family in Germany, Tucson, Fort Collins, California, and Hawaii, adds Mr. Marsh. So we were looking for something centrally located.

Bucking the retirement trend

According to a 2009 study by AARP, the Marshes aren t alone. Only 79% of baby boomers preparing to retire said they plan on staying in their current homes as they age and are much more likely than previous generations to relocate after retirement. The Brookings Institution issued a report in 2007 that showed not only are boomers more likely to move, but they re choosing atypical retirement destinations like Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, and Las Vegas over the usual Sun Belt suspects like Florida, Texas, and Arizona. And based on their analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau s population projections, Brookings suggests Colorado will see a 45% growth in their 65-plus population from 2010 to 2020. While researching their retirement options from Fort Collins down to Colorado Springs, the Marshes landed onWind Crest, an Erickson Living communitylocated 20 miles from downtown Denver. When I found Erickson Living and Wind Crest online, it looked too good to be true, says Mr. Marsh. So I asked our son who lives in Fort Collins to go down and check it out for us. We also had a friend who lived in Virginia and played the organ atGreenspring,the Erickson Living community down there. After two thumbs up from friends and family, the Marshes took a leap of faith and made their decision sight unseen. We contacted Wind Crest, and Molly [Thorne-Dhieux], the retirement counselor, answered all of our questions and sent us apartment floor plans and a footprint of the community, says Mrs. Marsh. After we selected our apartment, we sold our house and then rented a three-bedroom apartment in Loveland while we waited for our new home at Wind Crest to be completed. In the meantime we traveled to Switzerland and Germany, she says.

Feels like home

Now four-year residents of the Centennial State, the Marshes say although they will always hold Hawaii dear in their hearts, they are glad they made the move. We are really impressed with the Erickson Living way of life, says Mrs. Marsh. The staff is outstanding and we ve met so many interesting, wonderful people who live here in the community. It s great having the medical center right here on campus. We use the fitness center, volunteer, take on-site classes but what we enjoy most is spending time with family. In May 2010, the couple returned to Hawaii, this time as tourists, where they stayed at the Hale Koa Hotel on Waikiki beach. We had a great time. We visited with old friends and spent time with our son, Mike, who lives there, says Mrs. Marsh. We went on a sunset sail in his 26-foot sloop sailboat and enjoyed a Sunday dinner cruise on a 50-foot power boat. We are planning on going again this May, but no matter how many times we go back to Hawaii, Wind Crest is home now.