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Arizona couple returns to Colorado for family, finances, and yes, even weather

Created date

February 16th, 2017
Steve and Lori Hessee will move to Wind Crest’s Longs Ridge neighborhood in June from their home of ten years in Scottsdale, Ariz. They’re ready to spend less time worrying about home maintenance and more time with family, who all live in the Denver area.

Steve and Lori Hessee will move to Wind Crest’s Longs Ridge neighborhood in June from their home of ten years in Scottsdale, Ariz. They’re ready to spend less time worrying about home maintenance and more time with family, who all live in the Denver area.

It’s no secret that Steve and Lori Hessee like warm weather. Sunshine and warm breezes fit their active lifestyle. They’ve become accustomed to biking and walking near their home of ten years in Scottsdale, Ariz. What doesn’t suit their active lifestyle—and that of their equally active children—are household maintenance and the worry of finding care down the road, should they need it.

“We want the peace of mind and the comfort of living a retirement community provides, and we didn’t want to encumber our children as we grew older and may need some care,” Lori says.

Steve and Lori researched and visited Scottsdale and Phoenix retirement communities for nearly two years. But, Steve says, “We didn’t feel quite right about them.”

Then one day while visiting their children, who all live in the Denver, Colo., area, they visited Wind Crest on a whim. “Quite frankly, we were blown away by what we saw here. We fell in love with it right away and decided that’s where we want to be,” Lori says.

Love at first sight

While Steve and Lori love the look and feel of Wind Crest, the Erickson Living community in Highlands Ranch, they were won over by its myriad activities and active, vibrant lifestyle. 

As they anticipate moving in June, Lori looks forward to biking, hiking, and walking the High Line Canal Trail that runs through campus, as well as renewing her interest in stained glass (the community has a stained-glass club).

Steve plans on reviving his interest in model trains and woodworking; there are clubs for those too. 

And they both look forward to spending much more time with their children and grandchildren. They’ll be cutting a two-day trip down to just 20 minutes. “Our kids have been very excited we’re coming back to the area,” Lori says. “My son said, ‘Welcome home, Mom.’”

Steve has special plans in store for his five-year-old grandson. “Wind Crest is very close to the Platte River and Spring Gulch Reservoir. I’d like to teach my grandson how to fish,” he says.

Although their family lives close by, their two-bedroom, Hayden-style apartment home in Wind Crest’s soon-to-open Longs Ridge neighborhood will be perfect for sleepovers after fishing.

“We had looked at all the different floor plans and ranked them,” says Steve.

“It had the appropriate square footage and the appropriate financial arrangement for us,” adds Lori. Plus, she says, its mid-level location and mountain view are ideal. 

The time of their lives

Between its ideal location in Highlands Ranch with a breathtaking view of the Rockies, its myriad activities, convenient shuttle transportation, the on-site medical center, and a floor plan that suits their needs and their budget, Wind Crest is a perfect fit for the Hessees. 

The one caveat—winter weather—isn’t even on their radar. “We were concerned with the weather, but when we discovered that Wind Crest has covered bridges to all the buildings that provided services and activities, we weren’t concerned about that issue at all. When it’s snowing out, we can go ahead with our active lifestyle,” Lori says.

While she’s taking an aerobics or yoga class and he’s hobnobbing with the model train club, Wind Crest’s grounds crew will take care of shoveling snow, plowing roads, and icing walkways. And it’s all included in the couple’s monthly service package, which also encompasses a flexible meal plan, all utilities, property taxes, and all home maintenance (even changing a lightbulb). 

“This is a much better financial arrangement for us compared to communities in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area,” Steve says. “Writing one check [for living costs] is easier. We’ve modernized and use electronic banking, but the monthly service package is more convenient.”

The other financial aspect that attracted Lori and Steve is Wind Crest’s fee-for-service structure. “You pay for what you use or need at the time, so you’re not paying for services or care you’re not using,” Steve says. 

While residents don’t pay for care they don’t need, rehabilitation, assisted living, memory care, and long-term nursing care are all available at Mill Vista Lodge, Wind Crest’s on-site continuing care neighborhood.

At 74 ad 75, Lori and Steve are enjoying their health now—but they’re planning for the future.

“We’re both very happy to finally be retired, and now is the time for us to really enjoy life without a lot of stress and chaos. We think we’ll have even more fun at Wind Crest,” says Lori. “We’re looking forward to the social life, meeting people, and making friends.”