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No longer dog tired

People aren’t the only ones who benefit from one-level living

Created date

September 20th, 2016
Frank and Jo Cutler moved to one-level living at Seabrook in April from their house in Eatontown, N.J.

Frank and Jo Cutler moved to one-level living at Seabrook in April from their house in Eatontown, N.J.

Twelve years ago, one of the black labs that Seeing Eye Dog trainers Frank and Jo Cutler had trained was rejected from the program due to an eye defect that restricted her peripheral vision. 

They kept her anyway.

“Orly was the only dog we ever kept,” says Jo, who says they also rescued greyhounds. 

But as the three of them, including Orly, got older, the stairs in their two-story house in Eatontown, N.J., got to be a nuisance. They decided to do what they thought was best for all of them. They began looking at one-level living at Seabrook, the Erickson Living community in nearby Tinton Falls. 

Second chance

Frank and Jo attended some luncheons and scheduled a tour of the continuing care retirement community. 

Then they met with a member of the sales team, who learned about their needs and lifestyle. When they began to browse available apartment homes in different locations and floor plans, they too discovered what would work best for them and Orly.

“We realized we wanted an apartment on the ground floor so that we could walk Orly five to six times a day, and we would like to sit on the patio for a breath of fresh air,” says Jo. 

When a sales associate called to tell them that the perfect two-bedroom, ground-floor apartment was available, they thought it was the ideal fit.

However, another couple, higher on the priority list, had seen it the same day and decided to reserve it immediately. The Cutlers missed the opportunity by a hair. 

Priority list members are prospective residents who have expressed an interest in moving to Seabrook and put down a fully refundable $1,000 deposit to reserve their place in line for the apartment home of their choice. 

Once this deposit is made, the date is noted as the member’s priority list date. Members are encouraged to select a preferred floor plan that, once available, will be offered to them with the right of first refusal based on their joining date. Because the other couple was higher on the list, they had right of first refusal over the Cutlers. 

Frank and Jo learned the value of joining the priority list early from both angles. Two weeks after their disappointment, they received a second phone call from the sales office, and this time the apartment was theirs. The other couple had decided to select a different apartment home.

“We came that same afternoon to put our [entrance] deposit down,” says Jo.

Perfect fit

The home, a corner location on the ground floor, features a shaded patio off of the living room, which overlooks trees, shrubs, and a grassy area perfect for walking Orly. 

Much of the Scandinavian furniture they bought 50 years ago on a trip to Denmark not only fits well, it’s back in style and looks as if its straight out of a West Elm catalogue. 

Their second bedroom doubles as an office, and the many windows bathe the home in natural light. 

Their yellow-naped Amazon parrot, Mango, lives in the kitchen where he too gets plenty of natural light and chatters quietly to the Cutlers.

The Jackson floor plan is a good fit for the foursome, and Frank and Jo are settling in well to life at Seabrook.

“I think it’s great,” says their daughter Kim, who has three dogs herself. “The timing was right. [Mom and Dad] fit very nicely here.”

Frank and Jo have kept their old friendships in tact with less effort than before. They invite friends over for dinner in one of Seabrook’s restaurants and skip the cooking and cleanup. 

Now, says Jo, “All of our friends have said, ‘You have done what the rest of us should be doing.’”