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Warm welcome

Harford County woman sold on friendliness of Oak Crest from the start

Created date

April 3rd, 2017
One of the things that attracted Beverly Martin to Oak Crest was the friendliness of the Parkville, Md., community.

One of the things that attracted Beverly Martin to Oak Crest was the friendliness of the Parkville, Md., community.

Over the years, Beverly Martin’s Harford County, Md., dream home became more of a maintenance nightmare. So she sold her house and downsized to a two-bedroom condominium in Bel Air, which freed her from the headaches of home ownership and allowed her to focus on her career. But after she retired, condo living began to lose its luster and left her wondering if there was a better alternative. 

Turns out, there was. 

“When I first moved to my condo, I loved it. I was active and working,” says Beverly. “Then last year, we had a terrible winter with the ice and the cold and the snow. I felt very isolated. There weren’t any common areas for socializing. All my neighbors worked, and I never really talked to anyone. I know my kids were worried because I didn’t get out much, and I’m a very active person who loves to be around people. I knew it was time to start looking.”

Happy place

With support from her three daughters, Beverly began researching and visiting retirement communities throughout the area. Oak Crest, the Erickson Living community in Parkville, Md., quickly catapulted to the top of the list. 

“The first time I visited Oak Crest I knew immediately this was where I wanted to live,” says Beverly. “Everyone is so friendly here—they smile and say hello—it just feels really happy. I visited other communities, but the people just weren’t as friendly as they are here at Oak Crest. It’s the thing that sold me.”

Finding the perfect apartment home at Oak Crest proved to be just as easy.

“The very first one I looked at, I said, ‘This is it!’” says Beverly. “I have a beautiful view overlooking the courtyard. I had crown molding installed, custom shelving in all of my closets, and Savannah shutters on the windows.”

 Having downsized once already, Beverly knew she would have to carefully choose which of her favorite furniture pieces would move with her.

“I did interior work years ago, and I drew up my own floor plan. I knew exactly what pieces I wanted to bring and where my furniture was going to go before I moved in,” says Beverly. “I actually replicated the way my furniture was laid out in my living room and bedroom in my condo, here in my apartment at Oak Crest.”

Beverly says although she sacrificed a second bedroom and an extra closet when she moved to Oak Crest, she gained something much more important—an active lifestyle and lots of new friends.      

“I get to enjoy dinner out every night with more people than I could have possibly imagined,” says Beverly. “I think I’ve met more people since I’ve been here than I did in the 30 years I lived in Bel Air. I also love the fact that Oak Crest is connected by air-conditioned and heated walkways so I can get anywhere in the community. None of the other communities I visited had that.”

Social experiment

The ability to enjoy an active social life regardless of the weather factored into Beverly’s decision to move to Oak Crest. And research shows she made a smart choice. 

A new study found social interaction can reduce your risk of death by at least 50%. The study, which examined how social connections affect lifelong health, found that close, supportive relationships are especially important to physical health among adolescents and seniors.

“In adolescence, social isolation is equivalent to the effects of getting no exercise,” Kathleen Mullan Harris, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says in a Boston Globe article. Harris is the senior author of the paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “The lack of social connections in old age is equivalent to having diabetes, in terms of increasing hypertension.” 

Their conclusion: the more social connections a person has, the better your health, and vice versa. “With each additional social connection that you have, you get an added beneficial effect for your health,” says Harris. 

Since moving to Oak Crest last September, Beverly has joined the campus church and a women’s Bible study, has begun taking line dancing lessons, and continues to volunteer once a week at the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center’s gift shop in Harford County.

“I love it here! Oak Crest is a great community of neighbors and friends,” says Beverly. “I’m glad I made the move.”