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The benefits of staying connected

Prospective residents cultivate ties to Brooksby Village

Created date

February 20th, 2017
Paul and Barbara Blandford developed ties to Brooksby even before they moved to the Peabody, Mass., Erickson Living community in December 2015.

Paul and Barbara Blandford developed ties to Brooksby even before they moved to the Peabody, Mass., Erickson Living community in December 2015.

By the time Paul and Barbara Blandford moved to Brooksby Village in December 2015, the Beverly, Mass., couple was well informed about their new home.

“I felt like we became part of the community even before we moved in,” says Barbara.

That sense of belonging developed over time, as Paul and Barbara took advantage of all Brooksby offers to its potential residents.

“There are so many opportunities to visit the community for special events, luncheons, educational seminars, apartment tours,” says Barbara. “By the time we moved, we were well equipped to take that next step.”

Paul and Barbara’s history with Brooksby dates back to 2008, when they first visited the Peabody, Mass., Erickson Living community. Barbara, a family nurse practitioner, retired in 2006, but Paul was still working as a National Park Service ranger.

“We spoke with Jane [Keigel, sales counselor] at that time and decided we just weren’t ready to make a move,” says Barbara. “But we kept Brooksby in the back of our minds.”

Joining the priority list

By 2015, Paul had retired, and the couple was ready to consider their next step.

“We were looking ahead to our future and wanted to make a decision ourselves about where we would live—without leaving it to family members to decide,” says Paul.

This time, Paul and Barbara joined the priority list at Brooksby. 

Priority list members put down a fully refundable $1,000 deposit, plus a nonrefundable $150-per-person processing fee, to reserve the apartment home of their choice. The date they submit their deposit becomes their priority list date. When their desired floor plan becomes available, priority list members are given first right of refusal based on that date. 

“We weren’t in any rush to make a decision, but joining the priority list gave us the opportunity to start looking at apartments and figuring out what we liked,” says Paul. “You can say no to any number of apartments, but in the meantime, you’re narrowing down what appeals to you.”

Paul and Barbara also started attending events geared toward priority list members. Laurie Phillips, Brooksby’s personal moving consultant, regularly hosts a series of presentations for priority list members to assist with the downsizing and moving process.

“Laurie’s presentations equipped us for the next step, whether that was downsizing or choosing a real estate agent,” says Barbara. “The whole sales team made us feel welcomed and informed, without putting pressure to make a decision.”

Paul and Barbara also jumped onto Brooksby’s social scene. They stayed overnight at Brooksby during the summer of 2015 as part of the community’s Live the Life program.

“That stay allowed us to socialize with residents and try out some of the activities,” says Barbara. “We began to realize what a dynamic, active community Brooksby is, not just with the events on the calendar but also with impromptu gatherings that take place in people’s apartments.”

All the pieces in place

In the fall of 2015, Paul and Barbara were on vacation in Wales when they received an email from Brooksby’s sales team. A two-bedroom, two-bath Kingston-style apartment was available.

“We toured the apartment as soon as we got home, liked it, and had our real estate agent at our house in Beverly the next day,” says Paul. “We weren’t even over our jet lag yet, but all the pieces were in place because we’d been so connected to Brooksby.”

The couple listed their Beverly home in October 2015. It was under contract by Thanksgiving, and Paul and Barbara planned to move shortly after Christmas.

In the interim, the couple’s social calendar at Brooksby was filling up.

“A group of Brooksby ladies started a quilting group in November,” says Barbara. “They invited me to join them, so I started attended their meetings.”

Paul, for his part, had the makings of a poet and a singer resting beneath the surface of his calm demeanor. At Brooksby, he saw the potential to nurture those gifts.

“I feel as though I’ve spread my wings since we moved to Brooksby,” he says. “I’ve joined the chorus. I take the Live and Learn classes taught by other residents. I can’t believe how fast the days go by. Blink your eyes twice, and it’s another day.”

Shortly after they moved in, Paul and Barbara signed up to be ambassadors who welcome prospective residents to the community and answer any questions they might have.

“We wanted to be ambassadors because we know the value of getting to know Brooksby before you move,” says Barbara. “My advice to anyone who’s considering a move is to come to as many activities and luncheons as you can. Get to know residents. Spend the night at the community. Stay connected.”