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Free at last

Catonsville community has retirees spending less time on house chores, more time doing what they love

Created date

December 12th, 2016
Beverly Hall and Janet Allan moved from Canton, Md., to Charlestown retirement community for a maintenance-free lifestyle.

Beverly Hall and Janet Allan moved from Canton, Md., to Charlestown retirement community for a maintenance-free lifestyle.

Beverly Hall and Janet Allan loved living within walking distance of the many attractions and restaurants that make Canton one of Baltimore, Md.’s, most dynamic neighborhoods. For ten years, they enjoyed the convenience of city life. When they retired, Beverly and Janet were ready to move somewhere they could still pursue their passions that would also meet their needs in the future. Charlestown was the perfect match. 

Both Beverly and Janet had ties to Charlestown, an Erickson Living community located in nearby Catonsville. Janet’s mother had once lived there, and Beverly has been volunteering at the community since 2008. 

“We just had an overall feeling that Charlestown was more polished and professional than other communities we had visited,” says Beverly. “We liked the location and the fact that there is an on-site fitness center and health care facilities. There are also many opportunities for volunteering; a variety of restaurants so that we don’t have to cook or shop for meals as much as we used to; and in the future, if we are unable to continue living independently, we can remain here in the community.” 

Closer to home

Like Beverly and Janet, peace of mind for the future factored into Lorraine Varacalle’s decision to move to Charlestown, but living life to the fullest, in the moment, was also important. 

After a decade of living in a 55-plus community in Annapolis, Md., Lorraine, a longtime Ellicott City resident, was ready to move back home. 

“I had lived in Ellicott City for 35 years and taught at a private school, so I was familiar with the area,” says Lorraine. “In fact, while I was still working, I visited Our Lady of Victory Catholic School, just down the street from Charlestown. I remember seeing Charlestown up on the hill and thinking, ‘I’ll have to check that place out when I’m older.’ So when I decided to move back to the area, the first place I thought of was Charlestown. I never even gave it a second thought.”

Location wasn’t the only factor that played into Lorraine’s decision to move to Charlestown.  

“I wanted to be in a community where I could pursue the things I enjoy,” says Lorraine. “Now that I’m here, I’m having so much fun. I absolutely love it. I’ve reconnected with friends and neighbors. I’ve met so many new, interesting people. I’m singing with the Charlestown Harmonizers. I’m taking a college class. Most importantly, I’m only 20 minutes from my children.” 

Stop waiting, start living

Sales Counselor Molly Fricker says Charlestown attracts more and more Baby Boomers who are discovering the benefits of moving to a community like Charlestown sooner than later.  

“Too many people equate independence with owning a home,” says Fricker. “It really comes down to quality of life. We have residents in their sixties who realized that owning a home never gets easier. The physical and financial demands, especially of an older home, grow bigger the longer you wait. At some point you have to decide: Do I want to stick it out in my house, or do I want to take control of my future? Don’t let your fears rob you of what could be some of the best years of your life.”  

Fricker says once people leave behind all the worries that went along with owning their house, they find they now have more time to focus on what’s really important to them.

“I’ve met so many people who moved to Charlestown who are finally able to pursue a new hobby, begin volunteering, traveling, or just spend more time with their family—things you really can’t put a price tag on,” she says. 

Beverly and Janet are now settled in and enjoying their new 1,800-square-foot apartment home in Charlestown’s Historic District. They still keep in touch with their friends and social ties outside of the community and also spend a third of their time at their vacation home in West Virginia. 

“I’m glad we made the decision to move when we did,” says Beverly. “We could have waited five or ten more years to move to Charlestown, but at that point it would have been much more difficult to downsize, move, sell our house, and adjust to a new community. “Plus, if we waited until we were older, we wouldn’t be able to experience everything that Charlestown has to offer.

We’ve met so many wonderful people here. It’s really been a blessing.”