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You don’t have to be retired to live in a retirement community

Maintenance-free lifestyle perfect for this high school administrator

Created date

March 21st, 2014
woman holding the Erickson Tribune

At 66, Cindy Candela works full-time as a high school administrator, travels at least four times a year, and has a vibrant social life at home. Cindy is so active that some people are surprised to learn that she lives in a retirement community, but she says Fox Run is the ideal home for this exciting stage in her life.

“I can shut my door, turn the lock, and go,” Cindy says. “I don’t have to worry about stopping the mail or watering the lawn when I travel.”

The freedom to come and go

Fox Run’s maintenance-free lifestyle allows Cindy to continue her active lifestyle because she’s not tied down to a house. Before Cindy moved to Fox Run in 2010, she lived in a four-bedroom house in Westland, Mich. 

People commonly associate owning a large home with independence. On the contrary, Cindy says her house actually became a drain on her financial and psychological freedom.

“I didn’t want to put another roof on a house or [go through] another renovation—it’s tens of thousands [of dollars] every time you do something to a house,” she says. “The money I spent on my home and the worry about saving for the next roof or porch that was crumbling—I’ll never have to do again.”

Cindy says if she had been living at her house this past winter, she would have had to pay $2,000 each month for snow removal. When she considers expenses like that, Cindy says Fox Run makes financial sense for her. 

Instead of paying several different bills every month, Cindy only has to write one check for her Fox Run monthly service package. The monthly service package includes her utilities, cable, home maintenance, and one meal a day at any of Fox Run’s four restaurants. So Cindy has the peace of mind of knowing exactly how much money will be going out each month.

Cindy’s two-bedroom, Fairmont-style apartment home includes a full kitchen, so she can cook whenever she pleases. If she wants to entertain without a lot of fuss, Cindy can use some of her prepaid meals to treat friends and family members to dinner or brunch at one of Fox Run’s restaurants. On busy days after work, Cindy says not having to cook, clean, or shop for groceries is a welcome relief. Instead, she simply walks down to one of Fox Run’s full-service restaurants where she can enjoy a leisurely meal with friends.

“If I do come home and am hungry, I can just look at a menu and find something I want,” she says. “Dinner is a very social thing here.”

Family affair

Living at Run is becoming a family tradition for Cindy. Her mother moved to the community in 2004, so Cindy had been coming to visit for several years before she made her own move. When her mom began to require some more care, it occurred to Cindy that it might make more sense for her to move to Fox Run rather than visit so frequently.

“My mom was at Fox Run, and she was needing my assistance, and I said, ‘I’m ready; I’ve always wanted to move here or work here when I retired,’” Cindy says. “I said, ‘I’m tired of owning a home and doing all that work.’”

Cindy shared an apartment home with her mother until her mom passed away last year. She says living together was a special experience for both of them.

Cindy says her mom had lived a very active lifestyle at Fox Run and took advantage of the community’s many social activities. Cindy is following suit. She is a member of the Italian Club, which organizes a variety of activities to explore Italian food, language, art, music, and culture.

As a relatively young resident, Cindy has connected with an active group of Baby Boomers who get together for informal social gatherings, including a sunset cruise, a square dance, and a game night. In December, they visited one another’s apartment homes for a progressive dinner. Cindy says one of the members plays on an ice hockey league, and the gang is planning an outing to see one of her games. 

Getting to know many of Fox Run’s older residents has also been rewarding, Cindy says. “Even though I am younger, I love the people here,” she says. “They are so interesting and have wonderful stories to tell.”

At the end of this school year, Cindy says she plans to retire but will continue to do some contract work. With a little more free time on her hands, she says she will become even more involved at Fox Run and plans to join either the resident life or dining committee. In the meantime, she says, Fox Run provides the ideal home base for her busy schedule.

“I think this lifestyle is perfect,” she says.