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Village living in vogue

Walkable lifestyle a popular choice among retirees

Created date

May 29th, 2014
Walking enthusiast Virginia Caldeira prefers taking the stairs instead of the elevators at Ann’s Choice. This stairway leads to the Keystone Clubhouse restaurant and lounge.
Walking enthusiast Virginia Caldeira prefers takin

People used to walk to their neighbors, their church, their doctors, their bank, and the corner store. At Choice, EricksonLiving’s community in Bucks County, Pa., they still do.

The destinations above, plus many others, exist a short hallway walk from people’s homes.

And because the three clubhouses and 15 residence buildings all connect internally, the small-town lifestyle is also weatherproof. The buildings form a circle around a large village green. 

Step in the right direction

That arrangement appeals to Ginny Reaske, who moved with her late husband from Long Island seven years ago. They’d led active lives filled with hiking, horseback riding, and square dancing. 

“But we had to jump in the car to do most everything in Long Island,” she says. “It’s wonderful to walk to everything here.” 

She merely walks downstairs to teach weekly square dance classes. She walks to the aquatics center, to line dancing, and to Ann’s Choice Lifelong Learning Academy (ACLLA) classes. She walks to medical and dental appointments in the campus medical center and to dinners in campus restaurants. 

She also walks at her volunteer commitment, escorting physical therapy patients to and from their rooms at the on-site rehabilitation and continuing care neighborhood.

Ginny did her in-patient rehabilitation there following knee replacements. When she graduated to outpatient therapy, also on campus, she walked to her sessions.

“I walk all the time,” she says. 

Were walking a problem, she could ride the clubhouse-to-clubhouse shuttle, which operates throughout the day.

Just start walking

Walking is a long-established habit for Virginia Caldeira. 

Born and reared in Manhattan, she walked to the library, to museums, and in Central Park. “It was easier to walk from place to place than to go down and then up from the subway or to wait for a bus,” she says. “You just start walking and there you are!” 

A pre-breakfast, one-hour walk with her neighbor Doris Meyer starts her day. Then she simply walks to wherever she’s going. Although elevators are conveniently located throughout the campus buildings, she always takes the stairs.  

Where does she go? The Freethinkers group, the Learner’s Forum, and the New Yorker Magazine club, which she launched. She also attends ACLLA courses. Like Ginny, she walks to medical and dental appointments. And she walks to Ginny’s square dance class. 

She’s worn a pedometer since she received one two Christmases ago. One day she reset her pedometer, danced four dances, and discovered she’d added 3,000 steps to her previous 5,000. Virginia estimates she walked 1,300 miles last year.

She’s on the community’s flexible 20-meals-a-month dining plan and sometimes walks to nearby Costco for fresh vegetables and special ingredients to use in soups or ethnic-inspired meals. “I do like my own cooking,” Virginia says.