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‘They’ve thought of everything’

Ann’s Choice a great decision for Prussian WWII child survivor

Created date

October 14th, 2016
Ann’s Choice resident and Keystone Krafter Trudy Sellers displays a baby sweater she knitted for the community’s holiday arts and crafts show this November.

Ann’s Choice resident and Keystone Krafter Trudy Sellers displays a baby sweater she knitted for the community’s holiday arts and crafts show this November.

Practical reasons motivated Trudy Sellers to move last August to Ann’s Choice, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Bucks County, Pa. 

She’d lived in her house in Fox Chase in Northeast Philadelphia for 49 years. Then she was widowed. Because her four children were grown and gone, Trudy found herself caring for her three-story house by herself.

“I couldn’t see myself taking care of a big house, cutting the grass, washing the windows, and shoveling the snow,” she says. “Oh, I could have done it, but for how long? And I thought, ‘If I don’t move now, I might not want to do it later.’”

At a family meeting, she and her children decided she should move to a retirement community where she’d be happy. 

For Trudy, being happy means being active. She helped her late husband run their business, and she later worked in a bakery/sandwich shop; Trudy loved interacting with all the customers. 

Researching options

So she and her daughter began visiting nearly 15 different retirement communities. “In some, the people just sat around not knowing what to do with themselves,” Trudy says. “I couldn’t handle that.”

At Ann’s Choice she saw people walking with a purpose. They warmly welcomed her and said they’d love to have her as a neighbor. She perused the activities calendar and found several groups she’d like to join.

And she noticed that Ann’s Choice delivered superior customer service. “It’s the only place where I can say they’ve thought of everything,” Trudy says. “They know what you need [before you do], and they’ve already provided it for you.”

She cites the on-site medical, fitness, and aquatics centers; the extensive menu offerings at five campus restaurants; and the 150-plus special interest groups and events as examples of Ann’s Choice’s goals of keeping residents healthy and active. 

Trudy’s campus activities include tai chi, low-impact aerobics, and high-energy square dancing. She starts her day at 5 a.m. with a fitness center workout or a morning walk. 

She even walks to medical appointments because her doctor, an Ann’s Choice physician, practices in the campus medical center.

A home for life

The amenity Trudy most values at Ann’s Choice is its promise of a home for life. It means the world to her because she’s experienced homelessness firsthand. 

Originally from East Prussia, Trudy’s family was displaced during World War II. When the Russians invaded, the family left, taking only what they could carry. Trudy was a little girl, and she had to leave her only doll behind. 

Her father was killed in the war, and her little brother also died. She and her mother moved from place to place in search of food and a safe harbor, finally living in Dortmund, Germany. When her mother remarried, the family immigrated to Philadelphia.

Because of her wartime experiences, Trudy supports Ann’s Choice’s resident care fund. The fund provides support to residents who, despite careful planning, outlive their financial resources. It allows for residents experiencing genuine financial adversity for reasons beyond their control to continue living in their home at Ann’s Choice, among their friends (the Residence and Care Agreement has all the details).

As a member of Keystone Krafters, Trudy makes items to sell at Ann’s Choice’s holiday arts and crafts show, whose proceeds benefit the resident care fund. It’s her way of giving back.

Full days, happy days

Trudy did major downsizing for her move to a one-bedroom apartment home. She brought only her furniture and eight boxes of belongings. She donated everything else to local organizations. She felt good knowing that her donations would be put to use and help others.

But Trudy also benefitted. “I’m not overburdened [with stuff],” she says. “It’s easy to keep things organized. 

“My children are overwhelmed seeing how happy I am,” she adds. “Besides my family, Ann’s Choice is the best decision I ever made.”