Tribune Print Share Text

Downsize living space, upsize life experiences

Highlands Ranch couple trades ‘stuff’ for active lifestyle

Created date

November 3rd, 2016
Larry and Vicki Noffsinger celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary in 2015. The couple, who met in college, will take on the next stage of their life journey when they move to Wind Crest in Highlands Ranch, Colo., next summer.

Larry and Vicki Noffsinger celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary in 2015. The couple, who met in college, will take on the next stage of their life journey when they move to Wind Crest in Highlands Ranch, Colo., next summer.

At age 72, 24 hours of hiking and hitting golf balls is nothing out of the ordinary for Vicki and Larry Noffsinger. It’s all in a day’s retirement.

When the active couple started planning ahead for the next phase of their life journey, they searched for the most vibrant, well-equipped community in the Denver, Colo., area. After visiting several retirement communities, “We knew Wind Crest was where we wanted to be,” Vicki says of the Erickson Living community in Highlands Ranch. 

A social butterfly and former Mrs. Kansas United States (1994), Vicki was attracted to the painting classes, knitting group, and ambassador program. Likewise, the community’s size and number of social and physical activities appealed to Larry, who, in October, was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame for football at Fort Hayes State University in Kansas, where the couple met.

They joined the priority list in 2013 so they would be in prime position to reserve the apartment home of their choice when they were ready to move. Priority list members are prospective residents who have expressed an interest in moving to Wind Crest and put down a fully refundable $1,000 deposit to reserve their place in line for the apartment home of their choice. 

When Wind Crest announced the construction of Longs Ridge, its fifth residence building, Vicki and Larry felt the time was right. With a move planned for summer 2017, they’re ready to give up climbing stairs, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, and caring for two fish ponds. 

Worthwhile compromise

Once they took the first step of joining the priority list, everything began to fall into place thanks to Wind Crest’s well-oiled sales process and hands-on sales team. 

Vicki and Larry worked with Sales Counselor Molly Thorne-Dhieux, Sales Director Jason Atwell, and Personal Moving Consultant Beth Brandenburg to select the ideal floor plan and location and to prepare for their move. 

While Larry really wanted a west-facing apartment with a mountain view, he made a worthwhile compromise that allowed them to reserve the floor plan that best fit their lifestyle. 

“To me, it was more important to walk into our apartment and have a home rather than to see the mountains,” says Larry. 

They chose a Stratford floor plan on the third floor facing east. It features two bedrooms, an open floor plan, and a balcony. Because they don’t enjoy the same TV shows, they will set up the second bedroom as Larry’s “man cave.” It’ll be home to his TV and double as a business office for the two of them. 

As an added bonus, instead of being shrouded in sunlight every afternoon, they’ll be able to enjoy shaded views of the Denver skyline. 

While they won’t move for another few months, they began the downsizing and moving process months ago—with Brandenburg’s help. 

“Beth really simplified getting rid of stuff,” Vicki says. 

Brandenburg visited the couple in their Highlands Ranch home equipped with a magnetic to-scale version of their Stratford floor plan. Using miniature furniture cutouts, she helped them arrange pieces where they will go in their new apartment. The process enabled the Noffsingers to select which pieces would come with them and which ones needed to be donated, sold, or given away. 

“Beth was a big influence. She helped us a lot in getting rid of stuff. We have a philosophy—if we haven’t touched it in a year, we’re getting rid of it,” says Larry.

They also attended a moving and downsizing workshop, sales luncheons and tours, and a meet-and-greet event where they met their future Longs Ridge neighbors. 

“We already have a golf foursome before even moving in,” Larry says. They’ll play at The Links golf course, conveniently located nextdoor in Highlands Ranch.

Active lifestyle, peace of mind

While the couple anticipates staying active—and becoming even more so without the burdens of home ownership—they also recognize the realities of getting older. “I was concerned that, if something were to happen to one of us, we wanted to be able to get care,” says Vicki. 

Wind Crest’s on-site continuing care neighborhood, Mill Vista Lodge, provides short-term rehabilitation and nursing care, assisted living, and memory care. Residents receive around-the-clock care from on-site physicians and registered nurses in spacious private apartment suites with full, private baths. 

Vicki volunteers for her church and calls on sick parishioners around Highlands Ranch. “I see couples who wait too long [to move from their house], and it just breaks my heart,” she says. “When we talk to people at Wind Crest, one of their biggest regrets is not moving in sooner.”

She and Larry put a priority on moving to Wind Crest while they are in prime health to enjoy all the community has to offer. 

From more than 80 clubs and activities to five fitness centers and an indoor aquatics center to a woodshop, craft room, and 250-seat Arts and Enrichment Center, Wind Crest has everything the Noffsingers need to make the most of their retirement right at their fingertips. They don’t even have to leave the community to visit the bank, medical center, or to pick up a few groceries.

“One of the things we’ve noticed is, as we get older, when the weather gets bad, we stay inside our house and have no social life,” says Vicki. “At Wind Crest, we’ll be able to go out and see people without having to go outside in the bad weather.”

With six on-site restaurants and two flexible meal plan options, they can even eat out with friends every evening without having to shop, cook, or clean up. And, according to Vicki, the food is delicious. 

“While I was at a luncheon last week, the chef came out to our table. I got to ask him a very important question: Are our foods organic and freshly made? And his response was that everything is freshly made daily and mostly organic. Plus, portions are smaller, which makes overeating difficult and staying healthy easier,” she says.

Without home and yard maintenance, they’re free to put time and energy toward activities they enjoy.  

“I think it’s just another adventure for us, another stage in our life. We have the ponds here with fish and a yard to be mowed,” says Vicki. “What we’re looking forward to most is more freedom—being
able to walk out the door and leave.”

“We can hardly wait for next summer,” adds Larry.

Considering Wind Crest?

Take this advice from reservists Vicki and Larry Noffsinger

1. Go to luncheons, workshops, and other events at Wind Crest to gather information and meet future neighbors.

2. Join the Wind Crest priority list as soon as you start researching retirement options. It’s risk free and worth the $1,000 refundable investment plus the $150-per-person nonrefundable application fee.

3. Remember that stuff is not important. Downsizing your living space and belongings means upsizing your life experiences.