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Knowing your neighbors pays off

New Novi resident finds sociable, engaging community at Fox Run

Created date

June 19th, 2012

Last year Karen Taracks was living in a condo complex in Ypsilanti, Mich. Her condo was fine, she says, but the complex didn t provide her with much of a sense of community. I hardly knew my neighbors, Karen says. I didn t socialize with them, so I traveled to senior centers I had to go somewhere to do things with people. That all changed a few months ago when Karen moved to Fox Run, an Erickson Living community in Novi, Mich. Karen certainly can still visit with her old friends and she does but now she doesn t have to leave her home to have fun. Fox Run community members enjoy a full lineup of leisure activities, volunteer opportunities, special interest clubs, and events that are all available just a short indoor walk from their own front doors.

Fun and friends

Already, Karen has gotten involved with a number of the resident-run clubs and activities at Fox Run. She meets with groups of new friends and neighbors to play canasta or euchre twice a week. And she often joins the community s fun-loving line dancing club for some exercise and entertainment. Karen has also found a way to give back very close to home. Shortly after moving to Fox Run, she considered volunteering at the community. Two nights later, over dinner at one of Fox Run s restaurants, Karen met a neighbor who organizes volunteers for Sunday worship services for people at Fox Run s on-site continuing care neighborhood. Karen took the serendipitous meeting as a sign: I have never had God tell me so strongly that he had a task for me. Now Karen spends Sundays singing hymns, reading bible verses, and praying with her neighbors.

Active retiree introduces neighbors to tai chi

Practicing tai chi, a low-impact form of Chinese martial arts, has long been a big part of Karen s life. Several years ago, she started taking tai chi classes at a community college near her Ypsilanti home. She became so adept at the movements that she would fill in for the teacher during summer breaks. When she moved to Fox Run, Karen didn t have to give up her regular tai chi sessions. She continues to practice at the community college where she took and taught classes for years. She has also introduced her new Fox Run neighbors to tai chi. When Karen first moved to the community, she discovered that tai chi classes did not occur at Fox Run, so she approached the staff about adding them to the broad range of fitness options. At Fox Run, activities and clubs are based on the interests of residents, not staff members. So the staff encouraged Karen to start a tai chi class and supplied a location for the class. They also helped spread the word through the bulletin board and on Fox Run s in-house TV channel. Several of her neighbors, many of whom had never tried tai chi, now come to Karen s weekly classes. She uses a tai chi video specifically designed for older adults to lead the class and supplements that with her own expertise. I use my own exercises, Karen says. I call what we do limbering exercises. We move every joint in the body: hips, knees, elbows. Then we have 15 minutes of meditation, and then we do tai chi for the last 40 minutes. I personally feel my balance has improved since I started doing tai chi six years ago. She says the response so far has been good. In fact, she s considering adding a second class for beginners who want to try tai chi.

Expectations exceeded

When Karen s not enjoying her retirement to the fullest by catching up with old friends, making new ones, or stretching her body and mind through fun and interesting clubs and classes, she retreats to her comfortable Fox Run apartment home. Karen chose a Hastings-style apartment home, which features two bedrooms and one and a half bathrooms. She uses her second bedroom as a den and says the spacious kitchen has plenty of room for a table, and the corner positioning features windows on two walls for extra sunlight. When she s not dining at Fox Run s restaurants with her friends, she prefers to eat in her dining room, which overlooks the community s manicured lawns and lush gardens. Karen says her favorite part about her new home is the abundance of sunlight that flows through the windows. In all, Karen says moving to Fox Run was the right decision for her. What I tell people is I thought it would be wonderful before I moved in. And it s even better than that, Karen says.