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Taking isolation by the horns

This Denver couple understands the upsides of community living

Created date

May 21st, 2014
couple standing outside

When Virginia and Warren Broman downsized to a smaller house in Highlands Ranch, Colo., from a home in Durango, they discovered a few surprises. Namely, they realized how isolating a house can be, especially when you’re new in town.

“You realize that most people work, so you never see them. It’s hard to make close relationships with people,” says Warren. In the two years they’ve lived in eastern Highlands Ranch, they’ve barely met their neighbors.

They decided to change that. 

“We had looked at Crest [an Erickson Living community in Highlands Ranch] before we moved to the area. After buying the house, we kept looking at retirement communities. We decided Wind Crest had everything we were looking for,” Virginia says.

The Bromans will move this November to an apartment home in Wind Crest’s newest neighborhood, McHenry’s Crossing, due to open in the fall. 

And they’ve already made friends.

No. 1 priority

Virginia and Warren joined Wind Crest’s priority list in September 2013. In addition to assuring a future home at the community, priority list members receive exclusive invitations to luncheons and special events where they can learn more about life there and also meet their future neighbors.

“We have participated in nearly all priority list events,” Virginia says. “They have been very helpful, plus, you get to meet your neighbors.” 

“It’s exciting because we’re all in the same boat,” Warren adds. 

All it takes to join the priority list is a fully refundable $1,000 deposit and a $150-per-person nonrefundable application fee. When prospective residents, like the Warrens, submit their deposit, that date is noted as their priority list date. As apartment homes become available, the sales team gives first right of refusal to priority list members based on their joining date. 

With Wind Crest’s first neighborhood sold out, joining the priority list is the only way to secure a future home at the community. Virginia and Warren say they almost joined too late. “We were the last group able to make an apartment selection in the new building,” Virginia says. But with the sales team’s help, they found the perfect fit for their lifestyle.

Lively lifestyle

Sales Counselor Molly Thorne-Dhieux listened to their needs and showed them a two-bedroom, two-bathroom Jameson floor plan on the first floor, near the center of things. 

“It was great because we have a lovely neighborhood here [in eastern Highlands Ranch], but we have been self-isolated,” Virginia says. “In our new home, we’ll have a ground-floor patio where we’ll be able to see people coming and going. And we’ll be near all the clubhouse amenities.”

McHenry’s Crossing will feature a new community restaurant offering a full seasonal menu and chef specials, and the Canal Quick Stop—a coffee shop featuring muffins, bagels, and hot and cold beverages. It will have new flexible spaces for group activities, including a classroom and a movie theater. A fitness room will also complement the existing fitness center in Town Center Clubhouse.

Branching out

An accomplished sewer, Virginia plans to cut back on her sewing and explore other activities—of which Wind Crest has plenty, over a hundred, in fact. “I expect there to be so many activities that I’ll be able to branch out into other things,” she says. 

She’ll still keep much of her sewing equipment and materials, though. She and Warren plan to use the smaller of their two bedrooms as their bedroom and use the larger one as office space and her craft studio.

Warren, on the other hand, looks forward to giving up his “hobbies”—home maintenance and repairs. “There’ll be no yard work, no snow to remove, no house to remodel”—those are the benefits, he says, of living at Wind Crest.

Other benefits for the Bromans include living closer to their church and their daughter’s family, as well as the availability of continuing care should they ever need it. Wind Crest’s continuing care neighborhood, Mill Vista Lodge, has the highest levels of patient-centered care for short-term and outpatient rehabilitation, assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care, and is available to both residents and people who live outside of the community.

“I don’t want my kids to have to make choices for us,” Warren says. 

Getting ready 

Between now and November, Virginia and Warren will prepare for their ten-mile move. Though they won’t be buying new furniture—they’re holding onto their beloved Victorian-style antiques and family heirlooms—they’ll still be thinning out items they no longer need. 

Personal Moving Consultant Beth Brandenburg has visited their current house a few times to help manage their move. As part of her complimentary service to all priority list members, Brandenburg helps prioritize downsizing; plans furniture placement; and recommends movers, real estate agents, and places to sell or donate unwanted items. 

“She has been a big help in getting us prepared to sell our house and move,” Virginia says.

While they haven’t put their house on the market yet, they’re optimistic. In fact, they’re worried about pulling the trigger too soon. “The housing market in Denver is really good, so there is a possibility we’ll put it on the market and it’ll sell right away,” Warren says.

Even with so much to plan and coordinate, the Bromans look forward to life in their new home. And thanks to priority list events, they’re already making friends.