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No shortage of things to do

Clubs and activities will abound at Lantern Hill

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July 6th, 2016
Lantern Hill Executive Director Patricia Swan gives a presentation about clubs and activities at the New Providence Erickson Living community.

Lantern Hill Executive Director Patricia Swan gives a presentation about clubs and activities at the New Providence Erickson Living community.

Art classes, yoga, book clubs, bowling, golf, and theater are just a few of the clubs and activities that pioneer residents are interested in bringing to Lantern Hill, the new Erickson Living retirement community in New Providence, N.J.

In March, Lantern Hill Executive Director Patricia Swan hosted a meeting for more than 70 pioneer residents to discuss how to organize and launch resident-driven clubs.

“Our pioneer residents’ efforts to meet and take some leadership will allow us to open the campus with some fun activities and programs for everyone to enjoy right from the start,” says Swan.

The meeting featured a presentation by guest speaker Kelli Bollen of Cedar Crest, an Erickson Living campus in Pompton Plains, N.J. Bollen has more than three years of experience working in resident life at Cedar Crest, which has more than 180 resident-run groups on campus. 

Pioneer residents also signed up for advisory committees in dining, transportation, fitness programming, new resident welcome, philanthropy, political awareness, grounds, library, and diversity/spirituality.

Swan explains, “We need the support of residents to assist and help to fine-tune some aspects of life on campus, like dining and transportation.”

It’s healthy to be social

Whatever their hobby of choice—whether it’s yoga, the bridge group, watercolor class, or a weekly happy hour, Lantern Hill community members will have no shortage of opportunities to benefit from social interaction. And that’s a big deal as we get older. 

Numerous research studies have shown that seniors with the highest levels of social activity have significantly higher cognitive function than those who are least socially active.

The Rush Memory and Aging Project terms social interaction and activities “life space.” 

According to the project’s website, “Life space is the extent to which we move through our environments as we carry out our daily lives—from home to garden to restaurants to workplace and beyond.” 

The project’s investigators have found that constricted life space is associated with decreased cognitive functions. They recommend that people—particularly older adults—get out as much as possible and enjoy the world around them. 

At Lantern Hill, vibrant living is the way of life. 

Werner Wolff gets it. “My lifestyle is as it was before. That’s very important for me. But you have to remember, too, we are social beings. It’s very important that you maintain activities, that you maintain a social life.”

Werner, who has lived in the area since 1968 and is moving to Lantern Hill, plans to remain active with the Old Guard, an organization for retired and semiretired men in the Summit-Berkeley Heights-New Providence area that has provided mental stimulus, a sense of community, and fulfillment for nearly 85 years. 

Bob Bell gets it, too. That’s why he’s been planning on moving to Lantern Hill since it was announced to the public. 

“One thing I look forward to is you have your own swimming pool. I swim every morning for an hour. And there’s other things to do here, other people that you can meet with and talk with. And when you live alone, it’s a lot harder to do those kinds of things,” he says.

A few of Bob’s friends will move in around the same time. “Lantern Hill has been necessary in this area for a long time,” he says. “I really am looking forward to having things to do during the day and not have to drive to everything.”

Future plans

Lantern Hill begins welcoming its first residents this month into the 161 independent living apartments of phase one of the community’s development. They will continue to move in through October. 

Phase one will be followed by the opening of 85 continuing care residences in late 2016. Within the first few years, the community will add 114 additional independent living apartment homes, for a total of 275 independent apartment homes.

To learn more about the construction schedule and future plans for Lantern Hill, join the priority list. Priority list members are prospective residents who have expressed an interest in moving to an Erickson Living community and put down a fully refundable $1,000 deposit to reserve their place in line for the apartment home of their choice. 

“Joining the priority list is the best way to ensure you get the apartment that’s right for you,” says Swan. “Priority list members tell us the features they want, and we contact them, based on the date they joined the priority list, when an apartment that meets their criteria becomes available.

“We have a few homes still available in phase one, but it’s key to get on the priority list for when we begin construction on phase two so you can get your first choice of apartment home.”

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