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No stone unturned

Proactive approach to retirement living pays off

Created date

January 7th, 2016

Sophie and Bob Murray

When Sophie and Bob Murray lived in their three-level townhouse in Allendale, N.J., they enjoyed everything about their retirement—an active lifestyle, time with grandkids, and a simplified life after downsizing from their four-bedroom house in Bergen County.

But when they visualized the future, they foresaw challenges. The stairs and maintenance associated with owning a townhome weighed on them. They began to look for alternatives. 

“We were proactive in our thinking,” Sophie says. “While we could navigate the stairs now, we weren’t sure how long we would continue to be able to. We looked far and wide, up and down New Jersey and throughout Pennsylvania for five years trying to decide on the right place for us.”

“We left no stone unturned,” Bob adds.

They considered senior apartments and communities, but “nothing seemed like the right fit,” Sophie says.

Turning point

Throughout that time, they read the Tribune—stories of people who lived at Crest, the Erickson Living community in Pompton Plains. “The Tribune was instrumental in our move to Cedar Crest,” Sophie says.

In reading the Tribune, they discovered people who faced similar hurdles or who had similar aspirations for their retirement. They visited Cedar Crest and discovered the maintenance-free continuing care retirement community fit all their needs. 

“We love Cedar Crest. We just step out of our front door and meet everybody who is so friendly. We weren’t used to that. It’s a very important part of the socialization process, especially when you’re our age,” Sophie says.

The Murrays joined the priority list at Cedar Crest by making a fully refundable $1,000 deposit to hold their place in line for the apartment home of their choice. They were able to begin working with Personal Moving Consultant Anne Connor to downsize for the second time and select the perfect apartment home for their lifestyle.

“We looked at all the floor plans and decided on the Hastings, a two-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath apartment with a huge kitchen,” says Sophie, who enjoys cooking. 

Connor visited the Murrays in their townhouse to measure their existing furniture and plan its placement in their new home. “We knew exactly what we could take with us,” Sophie says.

Sales Counselor Ruth Phillips also assisted the Murrays to ensure they were completely satisfied with their apartment and location—a beautiful fifth-floor home with a peaceful view of trees. “It’s a very good feeling to wake up and look out from our window,” Sophie says.

“Ruth never put any pressure on us. We felt this was the best decision for us at the time,” she adds. 

Just right

Sophie and Bob didn’t give up sleeping space in their new home. When any of their five children or nine grandchildren visit, they can rest comfortably on a pullout sofa in the Murrays’ second bedroom.

And when the Murrays visit their children, they can take a walk down memory lane: “Everybody took something of ours when we moved. For example, my kitchen table is in my daughter’s house. It makes me feel good,” Sophie says.

Connor says that’s a great downsizing tip: “Offer treasured belongings to family members first so they can stay in the family.” 

She also recommends following the Murrays’ lead in taking a proactive approach to retirement living: “It’s never too early to meet with me. Once you join the priority list, my coordination services are complimentary. The sooner we start developing a moving plan, the easier it is.”

That was true for the Murrays. “We had so much time to ponder this move that it was easy,” Sophie says.

Now, they’ve been settled in for nearly nine months and are taking full advantage of their maintenance-free lifestyle by volunteering and even starting new interest groups.