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Lifelong hiker and swimmer

Nothing stops this German-born local from pursuing her passion

Created date

May 29th, 2014
Ann’s Choice resident Doris Meyer travels to Germany every year to hike in the Alps.
Ann’s Choice resident Doris Meyer travels to Germa

This spring, Ann’s Choice resident Doris Meyer locked her door, completed a sign-out sheet, and left for a two-week European cruise on the Elbe River. As she cruised from Prague to Berlin, she never worried about her home at Erickson Living’s community in Bucks County, Pa.

The community’s round-the-clock security team will give her that same peace of mind in September when she takes her annual Alpine hiking trip in Germany. 

Making strides

Doris grew up in Pforzheim, at the border of Germany’s Black Forest. However, “The Black Forest isn’t high enough for me,” she says. “I like to get to the mountaintops.” 

For three weeks, she stays in Obertsdorf and—mostly on her own—hikes for six to eight hours a day. 

After her late husband retired, the two of them trekked in the Andes and the Himalayas and hiked every continent but Antarctica. 

But that was during vacations. Otherwise, “We spent our time caring for our house and lawn rather than hiking,” Doris says. Later, when her husband became ill, she became his caregiver.

Now she’s found time to return to activities she hadn’t pursued for 40 years. 

An interest for everyone

A passionate lap swimmer, she swims nonstop for 40 minutes. “It’s a very healthy exercise,” she says. “It uses all your muscles. You can do the breast stroke till you’re 90.” 

She’s also a passionate walker. At 6:30 each morning, she and her neighbor Virginia Caldeira walk for an hour on campus or at Warminster Community Park adjacent to Ann’s Choice. 

Only freezing drizzle drives Doris inside. In that case, she walks the circuit of climate-controlled hallways and bridges connecting the campus buildings.

Once a week, she volunteers off campus at a hospice program in nearby Abington. On campus, she volunteers with Helping Hands, belongs to the German club, and with the Ann’s Choice Birders helps monitor a birdhouse trail of nest boxes in Warminster Park.

“So many activities are offered that everyone can find something of interest,” she says. 

Doris is a big fan of Schmaltz, a series of DVDs shown every Saturday afternoon in the performing arts center at Ann’s Choice. The cultural presentations range from musical performances and old movies to ballet. Doris especially enjoys the opera and travel videos. “I’ve never listened to so many operas as they offer here,” she says. 

Big benefits

The Meyers almost moved to a smaller retirement community near their former home in King of Prussia. But their daughter, a physician who lives in Newtown, recommended they be closer to her and preferred the medical care available at Ann’s Choice. 

Doris sees an Ann’s Choice staff physician at the community’s full-service, on-site medical center. Should she ever need additional care, continuing care at Ann’s Choice is on campus, too. 

“One of the biggest benefits here is the companionship of others,” says Doris. “Had we still lived in our house when my husband died, I’d have been the loneliest person. Here, so many people cared about me and included me. I think when you’re lonely, it shortens your life.”