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It’s all relative

New Yorker trades hustle and bustle for friends, family, worry-free living

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August 10th, 2016
New York native Helen Benson now lives at Linden Ponds, where she says she has been impressed by the many opportunities to enjoy arts and culture.

New York native Helen Benson now lives at Linden Ponds, where she says she has been impressed by the many opportunities to enjoy arts and culture.

Lifelong New Yorker Helen Benson moved to Linden Ponds about two and a half years ago because she wanted to be closer to her son and daughter-in-law. 

When asked if she misses the excitement of “the city that never sleeps,” Helen’s answer says a lot about her new lifestyle at the Hingham, Mass., Erickson Living community: “Not really,” she says. “I have far more friends and people to relate to here than I would ever have in New York.”

Community culture

Helen is accustomed to apartment living and says her one-bedroom apartment home at Linden Ponds gives her plenty of space. She has room for her baby grand piano and space to entertain. 

“It’s the largest kitchen I have ever had,” she says.

But what Helen enjoys most about Linden Ponds lies beyond her own front door. The people really make a difference, she says. One of Helen’s favorite parts of the day is having dinner at Linden Ponds’ full-service restaurants, where residents can enjoy leisurely meals with friends and neighbors.

“I’ve met so many wonderful people here,” she says. “Dinner is the big social time—we have very exciting discussions at the table.”

While New York certainly has much to offer in the way of culture and activities, Helen says she is impressed with the bounty of exciting things happening at Linden Ponds. Residents can take part in dozens of clubs, ranging from singing groups and art classes to book clubs and political committees. The community also hosts frequent parties, special events, presentations, and lectures. 

“My appointment calendar is my most prized possession because it keeps me on track of my busy and stimulating schedule,” she says.

When she was younger, Helen, who has a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, worked for Columbia Artists Management and eventually became a booking agent. She also served on the board of Young Audiences New York, an organization that works to expose children to the arts by bringing live performances to schools.

As a long-time music lover, Helen decided to join Linden Ponds’ opera club and currently chairs the group. The club arranges for DVDs of operas to be shown in the community’s on-site performing arts center. 

Before each opera, Helen introduces and summarizes the plot. The club recently presented Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, and over the summer, they were opting for a more lighthearted lineup of musicals like Annie Get Your Gun.

“We are doing some very exciting things,” Helen says. “I’ve been really delighted at the response—people come over to me and say how much they enjoyed it.”

No regrets

To stay physically fit, Helen often goes swimming in Linden Ponds’ heated indoor pool. She also enjoys relaxing in her home and playing her piano. 

Before choosing Linden Ponds, Helen conducted thorough research of her retirement living options. She began with a list of all 38 communities near her son’s Massachusetts home and then narrowed the list to the places that met her criteria.

“To make a long story short, it took several months to weed out the acceptable ones, but I was left with 11 possibilities, visited them all, and made my decision—one that I have absolutely nothing to regret,” she says. 

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