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‘Everything is here and so handy’

North Carolina woman finds a lot to treasure at Ann’s Choice

Created date

August 9th, 2016
Ann’s Choice resident Marie Kirchner displays one of the pediatric gowns she sews in the great room of her spacious one-bedroom apartment for toddlers who are hospitalized or in a hospice program.

Ann’s Choice resident Marie Kirchner displays one of the pediatric gowns she sews in the great room of her spacious one-bedroom apartment for toddlers who are hospitalized or in a hospice program.

Four years ago, Marie Kirchner scheduled a 90-minute appointment and tour of Ann’s Choice with Sales Counselor Marie Dmoch. It was her first visit to the Bucks County, Pa., Erickson Living community, and it changed her life. 

Marie fell in love with the apartment home she toured then and lives in today, a one-bedroom style with a patio, beautiful views, and a bathtub where she can sit and soak.

“The 24-hour security, no cooking, the medical care…I love everything about it,” she says of her life at Ann’s Choice. 

Coming home

Although they’d retired to Morehead City, N.C., in 2004, Marie and her late husband began receiving the Tribune.

Their daughter-in-law, who lived near Ann’s Choice, had requested the Kirchners’ name be added to the Tribune’s mailing list.

While Marie liked what she read, her husband wasn’t interested in moving. But after he passed away in 2011, Marie found herself far away from her children—a son in Pennsylvania, another son in New Jersey, and a daughter in Virginia—and on her own to maintain her house.

Moving to Ann’s Choice would be like coming home, she reasoned, because for 30 years the Kirchners had lived in nearby Hatboro where they’d raised their children.

Busy hands, giving heart

Because she excels at organization and is neither a saver nor a reader, Marie’s comfortable home at Ann’s Choice offers all the space she needs, even for her sewing projects. She sets up her sewing machine at one end of her great room and stitches away.

A lifelong seamstress and longtime multitasker, “I can’t just sit,” she says. “I need something to keep me busy.”

In years past, Marie made her own wedding gown, her mother-of-the-bride/groom dresses, and multiple prom and bridesmaids dresses.

Now she works on smaller projects: She sews toddler-size gowns for children who are hospitalized at Abington Hospital-Jefferson Health or its Pediatric Hospice at Warminster. 

Marie donated 38 gowns to the hospital last year and was amazed and thrilled when a woman made a $1,000 donation to the hospital after learning of her efforts.

She also sews cobblers’ aprons and makes chocolate pecan brittle for Ann’s Choice’s late autumn arts and crafts fair that benefits the community’s resident care fund (the Residence and Care Agreement has all the details about Ann’s Choice’s Home for Life commitment). 

Her passion, however, is singing. Marie attends “any program with music” that’s offered through the Ann’s Choice Lifelong Learning Academy in the campus performing arts center.

She sings in the Ann’s Choice Chorus and the campus Catholic Choir, volunteers at Rose Gardens for its Saturday morning sing-alongs, and solos in campus musicals.

On-campus convenience

Marie walks to her medical appointments; when she moved, she switched her doctor to an Ann’s Choice physician who practices in the full-service campus medical center. Her bank has a branch on campus, too.

“Everything is here and so handy,” she says. She joins friends each Saturday for dinner at one of the five dining venues on-site. Through the week, she prefers carryout meals from the campus café or its Garden Restaurant.   

And she truly lives maintenance free. “If something should happen, it gets taken care of immediately,” Marie says. 

After just ten years in North Carolina, she had to buy a new refrigerator. Had that happened at Ann’s Choice, one phone call would have brought the maintenance team, and her refrigerator would have been replaced at no charge.

But Marie says there’s more to treasure at Ann’s Choice than a comfortable lifestyle, valued friendships, and abundant amenities. “I think the way Pastoral Ministries honors all belief groups is wonderful,” she says. 

For example, services in the beautiful nondenominational campus chapel are open to all. On religious holidays, dining services includes some traditional food items on its restaurant menus. And Marie, who is Catholic, attends weekly Torah classes. “I find them exceedingly wonderful,” she says. 

She also valued an interfaith panel discussion that included an atheist. “To me,” says Marie, “activities like that are important. [Because of the diversity], it’s like a little city here.”

Marie considers moving to Ann’s Choice as the best gift she could have given her children, and they concur. As her daughter told her, “Mom, I love you, but I don’t worry about you.”