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Retiring to resident status

Riderwood employee takes up residence at her beloved community

Created date

May 5th, 2017
Dianne Shipler worked at Riderwood, the Erickson Living community in Silver Spring, Md., for 13 years. She enjoyed the community so much, she decided to move there when she retired.

Dianne Shipler worked at Riderwood, the Erickson Living community in Silver Spring, Md., for 13 years. She enjoyed the community so much, she decided to move there when she retired.

Dianne Shipler just became a resident at Riderwood last October, but she’s been a familiar face at the Erickson Living community in Silver Spring, Md., for many years. 

Dianne was actually a Riderwood employee and worked as a facilities coordinator for about 13 years. Over that time, she got to know the ins and outs of the community and decided it was the right place for her to retire. 

“Literally every person I’ve had dinner with says, ‘That is a tribute to Riderwood that you worked here so long and still want to live here,’” Diane says. “But I did. I knew right away, this place is much more than apartments and hallways.”

Retiring to resident status

As a facilities coordinator, Dianne’s responsibilities included fielding community members’ maintenance requests and overseeing the process of getting apartment homes ready for new residents. She says she loved her job and admits the decision to retire was a tough one.

“I will be in whatever building and will hear a mechanic on the radio, and I will say, ‘What’s happening?’” she says with a laugh. “But it’s great to see the crew as I meander through the hallways, and it’s nice because I know the campus like the back of my hand.”

As much as she enjoyed working, Dianne says several factors contributed to her decision to retire to Riderwood. She had stairs in her previous house in Silver Spring, and she no longer wanted to deal with home maintenance tasks like shoveling snow. 

Plus, she says, she was living alone and didn’t enjoy cooking for one. Now, as a Riderwood resident, she typically eats dinner with her neighbors at one of the community’s full-service restaurants.

“The food here is unbelievably outrageous,” she says. “I have to watch it—there are so many good courses.”

In addition to delicious food (that is prepared and served by someone else!), dinnertime also brings a unique opportunity for people to get to know one another. If residents haven’t already arranged to dine with neighbors themselves, the restaurant host offers to seat them at tables with other singles or couples. Dianne says those meals have become one her favorite parts of the day.

“I am surprised I am having so much fun having dinner with strangers,” she says. “It’s just amazing the backgrounds some of our residents have had, and it’s great to listen to their stories about their backgrounds and what they are interested in.”

Dianne is a self-described movie buff, so she makes a point to attend the many film screenings on campus. From foreign films to first-run blockbusters, Dianne says there is a great selection of movies showing at Riderwood on a regular basis.

“I saw Sully here while it was still in theaters,” she says. “It was amazing. They try hard to bring good movies here.”

Smooth transition

Having worked on campus for so long, Dianne was very familiar with the different apartment home models. She chose an Abbott-style studio apartment to call home. 

To personalize her new space, she worked with Riderwood’s Custom Interiors department. She added a wall to create a separate bedroom in the large studio. Additionally, since the Abbott floor plan has a full kitchen and two extra-large closets, Dianne had custom closet organizers installed to optimize the storage space. 

“I have this closet where the washer and dryer are, and when my family came over, I said, ‘Do you want to see my basement?’” Dianne jokes. “It’s amazing what you can store in there.”

Dianne’s last day of work at Riderwood was September 30, and she moved into her new apartment home on October 3—making for a very quick transition from employee to resident. 

“That was a little crazy,” she says. “Twice, I’ve automatically turned my car into the building where I worked, instead of going one building up the road where I live.”

But she says the process of moving to Riderwood was very smooth. The first day her house was on the market there were nine showings, and it sold a couple of days later.

 She was fortunate in that her four children wanted to take some of the furniture and household items Dianne no longer needed. For the rest, she worked with Erickson Living-preferred vendor Let’s Move, which helps many residents coordinate their moves.

“When I showed up on move-in morning, they were doing their work peacefully and calmly in a very organized way,” she says. “They said, ‘You sit over here and just give us ideas about what you want where.’”