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Perfect fit for both

Illinois couple pursues separate and joint interests at Ann’s Choice

Created date

April 7th, 2017
Gordon Larson with a painting of a KC-135 Stratotanker, one he has flown as a pilot. Wendy Larson shows off one of her prized African violets.

Gordon Larson with a painting of a KC-135 Stratotanker, one he has flown as a pilot. Wendy Larson shows off one of her prized African violets.

With more than 150 campus activities and amenities, Ann’s Choice, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Bucks County, Pa., offers something for everyone, including couples like Wendy and Gordon Larson, who moved from Naperville, Ill. 

While Wendy favors spiritual and intellectual pursuits, “Gordon likes to go places and do things,” she says. 

Ann’s Choice suits them both. 

After Wendy developed balance problems due to multiple sclerosis, Gordon worried about her safety. 

A commercial pilot and the State Wing Commander of Illinois’ Civil Air Patrol, he was often away from home. And neither of their children, a son in Chicago and a daughter in Washington, D.C., lived nearby.

Peace-of-mind decision

When the Larsons learned about Ann’s Choice and its proximity to the towns where they’d grown up, Wendy in Feasterville and Gordon in Trevose, Gordon visited the campus. 

It’s near his mother and his brother, and it’s also near Wendy’s sister and brother-in-law, who was Gordon’s best friend in high school. 

Gordon came away impressed with Ann’s Choice’s refundable entrance deposit and its many activities. 

He especially liked its health care amenities, such as emergency pull cords in the common areas and in each apartment home, and the 24/7 campus security team staffed by EMTs who respond to emergencies within minutes.

On-site health care services include a medical center staffed by physicians who treat only Ann’s Choice residents, an outpatient therapy facility, and the community’s rehabilitation and continuing care neighborhood, which will soon begin construction of a 50,000-square-foot addition called Chestnut Pointe.

Ann’s Choice met Wendy’s needs and answered Gordon’s concerns. So Wendy moved to Ann’s Choice five years ago and switched her doctor to an Ann’s Choice staff physician. She’s also done some outpatient occupational therapy. When he retired, Gordon joined Wendy at Ann’s Choice.

Wendy’s made many friends, both through club meetings and on-campus restaurants over meals that are always prepared just the way she requests. 

A retired Lutheran pastor, Wendy belongs to the spirituality discussion group, distributes communion at the continuing care neighborhood, and purchases the entire spring and fall lecture series offered by Ann’s Choice Lifelong Learning Academy (ACLLA). 

“The interesting topics and excellent speakers attracted me to ACLLA,” Wendy says. “The speakers are people with Ph.D.s and wonderful reputations. We’re lucky to have them.” 

An action-oriented lifestyle

When Gordon joined Wendy at Ann’s Choice, he brought along his action-oriented lifestyle. 

He plays billiards and water volleyball. He belongs to the model railroad club, the computer club, the woodshop, and the veterans group.

When Wendy bought him a drone, Gordon joined Silent Flyers, a group that flies remote-controlled planes. 

After 28 years as an Air Force pilot—active duty and Air National Guard—and 38 years flying commercial, it’s no surprise that Gordon is an aviation history buff. 

In the Larsons’ den, which is decorated with his career memorabilia, Gordon does research for and creates flight-related PowerPoint presentations that he gives at Ann’s Choice.

Like Lee Marvin in Paint Your Wagon, Gordon believes he, too, was “born under a wandering star.”

“I have a hard time sitting in one place,” he says. “Wendy is glad I can go off and do other things.” 

He’s sometimes off with the Pennsylvania Wing of the Civil Air Patrol in Doylestown or on a long weekend in Chicago visiting their son’s family and helping a friend construct a replica of a Titan T-51 airplane.  

But for all his world travels, Gordon experienced a first at Ann’s Choice. During his career he’d landed at 337 different airports. But his first trip to Bermuda was with Wendy and the Ann’s Choice travel club.