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Take two

Couple rethinks their ideal retirement home

Created date

February 17th, 2016
Barbara and Ray Lynch
Barbara and Ray Lynch

When Cranford, N.J., residents Ray and Barbara Lynch considered relocating to warmer weather for retirement, “someone who had retired to Florida told us that we’d never see our grandkids,” says Ray. Well, that wouldn’t work for them.

While they wanted to convert to one-level living, Ray and Barbara also wanted to stay close to family and friends—all of whom live in or around Union County. They wanted their six grandchildren to know them intimately, not just as once-a-year grandparents.  

So when their daughter and son-in-law proactively joined the priority list at Lantern Hill, an Erickson Living community opening this year in New Providence, Ray and Barbara started considering that as a solution, too.

“Lantern Hill fills a need that we’ve had for a long time,” says 30-year Union County resident and Lantern Hill Sales Counselor Kathy Banks. “It’s the perfect solution for people living in this area who want to stay in this area.”

Until now, people living in New Providence and surrounding towns have had to move outside of the close-knit area to find a continuing care retirement community (CCRC). With the opening of Lantern Hill, they will be able to stay within their beloved town where “people really care about each other. We have a lot of organizations that reach out to people. It’s a very tight-knit community,” Banks says.

A second chance

Barbara and Ray’s two-story, two-bedroom house in Cranford was supposed to be their retirement home. But with a basement and small attic, three sets of stairs have become a nuisance. Their “retirement home” is no longer the right fit for their retirement. 

After joining the priority list at Lantern Hill, Ray and Barbara worked with Personal Moving Consultant Jenn Kohan to select a floor plan. 

“I did a home visit so we could narrow down apartment styles,” Kohan says.

“Jenn was very helpful,” says Barbara. “She sat with us for almost two hours.” 

At the end of the appointment, they selected a one-bedroom apartment—not the Lynches’ first choice, but they were satisfied. 

“We had waited so long to select an apartment that we got what was available,” Barbara says. 

But as luck would have it, Kathy Banks called two weeks later to tell them a two-bedroom apartment had become available. Kohan returned to their Cranford home to plan the furniture layout a second time. 

“A one-bedroom apartment works well for many people, but Barb and Ray don’t like to watch TV together so having a separate room is really important to them,” Kohan says. 

In their new home, the second bedroom will double as their guest bedroom and as Ray’s TV room. “That’s why we were thrilled to get the apartment,” Barbara says. 

Really rightsizing

In addition to cutting stairs out of the equation, Barbara is excited to have meals prepared (and cleaned up) as well. After four kids, Ray says, “She must have prepared millions of meals!” 

Their monthly service package will include select meals at on-site restaurants, all home maintenance, professional landscaping, 24/7 security, utilities, use of all amenities, and property taxes.

While they’ve had to downsize, Ray and Barbara have discovered their living space at Lantern Hill will extend far beyond their apartment home. They will have access to Lantern Hill’s activity rooms, restaurants, fitness and aquatics center, wood shop, and on-site medical center. 

And they haven’t had to downsize alone. Kohan helped them see what furniture would fit in their new home with quarter-inch scaled furniture and a floor plan. “I can’t visualize things so once Jenn put it on paper for me, I could visualize how it would work,” Barbara says.

Now, Ray says, “I’m ready to go.”