Lifestyle, amenities, value
Tracy Stillman says she had wanted to live at Linden Ponds long before she and her husband, Nate, moved to the community last summer. She first discovered the concept of continuing care retirement communities while helping to find housing for her mother-in-law in New York City.
“When we were visiting these places, [my mother-in-law] didn’t want to move, but I was like, ‘How old do you have to be to live here?’” Tracy says with a laugh.
Full-service, maintenance-free living
One of the things that appealed to Tracy are the amenities available at Linden Ponds, an Erickson Living community in Hingham, Mass. In particular, she says she was excited about the community’s full-service on-site restaurants, where residents typically dine each night.
“I like the idea that you have your own kitchen and can cook if you want to—but you don’t have to,” she says.
Tracy says she and Nate love the food at Linden Ponds. She was delighted when she learned that the on-site restaurants serve a roasted beet and goat cheese salad that is nearly identical to one that Tracy enjoys at nearby restaurant Burton’s Grill. As it turns out, one of Linden Ponds’ chefs previously worked at Burton’s, which might explain the happy coincidence!
Another aspect of the Linden Ponds lifestyle that appealed to Tracy is the opportunity to live among hundreds of other vibrant and active retirees. With dozens of resident-run clubs and committees and a full calendar of lectures, parties, classes, and special events, socializing is convenient for the people who live at Linden Ponds.
Tracy says that easy access to social life was particularly important to her because she grew up in a quiet part of Martha’s Vineyard and enjoys spending time alone. She feared she would become too reclusive once she retired—but that’s not something she has to worry about now that she lives at Linden Ponds.
“I thought moving to a place like this would be better for me because there are always people around,” she says. “And I think that is healthier for people.”
Tracy enjoys getting to know her new neighbors over dinners at Linden Ponds’ restaurants and at special events, like the recent gala to benefit the Resident Care Fund. The fund provides assistance to community members who experience a genuine and unforeseen change in their financial situation for reasons beyond their control (the Residence and Care Agreement has full details).
Tracy attended some get-togethers hosted by the Unitarian Universalist group and has also connected with other people who are from or have houses on Martha’s Vineyard.
Tracy only recently retired from her career as a teacher at Old Colony Montessori School, where she worked for more than 40 years. Since retiring last June, Tracy has continued to do some part-time administrative work for the school. She enjoys visiting her colleagues, and, of course, the students.
“Right now, the kids that are there still know me,” she says. “They get excited when I come into the school, but I don’t have to be responsible for them, which is nice.”
Downsize and conquer
Before moving to Linden Ponds, Tracy and Nate lived in a house in Weymouth, Mass., for about 20 years. The house had several large closets, an attic, and a basement—which Tracy says resulted in them collecting a lot of stuff.
When it came time to downsize in preparation for their move, Tracy and Nate worked with Linden Ponds Personal Moving Consultant Lynne Ford. Ford was able to connect them to a number of professionals who could help with every aspect of their move, from selling their house to finding the best way to discard items they no longer needed.
The Stillmans donated some things to Habitat for Humanity as well as to an organization that helps Vietnam veterans. Tracy had hundreds of books and several bookshelves from her many years as a teacher. She donated those to a friend who was working on opening a new school.
Tracy says the process of downsizing wasn’t difficult. Now that she isn’t burdened with all of the extra clutter, she says it feels great.
She and Nate now live at Linden Ponds in an apartment with one bedroom plus a den. The space is the right size for this stage of their lives, and Tracy says their apartment home still has plenty of storage for the things they did decide to keep.
“Lynne thought of me when she saw this [apartment home] was available because the den closet is really large,” she says.
Ford connected the Stillmans with a landscaper and a basement repair company. Both helped the couple get their house ready for sale. She also referred them to a real estate agent who had experience helping other Linden Ponds residents successfully sell properties.
“All of the people that Lynne had on the referral list were very helpful,” Tracy says.