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Harmony and freedom at Ann’s Choice

Dolores Medvedik loves being surrounded by neighbors and activities

Created date

July 31st, 2017
Cow and dairy memorabilia tend to occupy every nook and cranny of Dolores Medvedik’s apartment home at Ann’s Choice.

Cow and dairy memorabilia tend to occupy every nook and cranny of Dolores Medvedik’s apartment home at Ann’s Choice.

When Dolores Medvedik found herself relying on others to care for her three-quarter-acre property in Holland, Pa., she moved to Virginia where one of her daughters lived. 

But when Dolores felt isolated there, she returned to Pennsylvania, moving to Ann’s Choice, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Bucks County. It’s near her two other daughters, one in Doylestown and one in Jamison, and her long-established circle of friends. 

Add in 2,100 Ann’s Choice neighbors, and Dolores no longer feels isolated. 

She says the community’s many on-site amenities, such as the pharmacy and convenience store, salons, bank branches, and fitness center, made it an ideal, practical choice as well. 

Ideal independent living

Dolores has macular degeneration, but she’s free to live as she wants. “No one tells you what to do at Ann’s Choice,” she says. 

For example, she is on the community’s flexible dining plan of 20 meal credits a month. Because Dolores often eats light or microwaves her evening meal, she has meal credits left each month to use any way she likes. 

Her favorite way to use them is to treat her friends who live nearby to meals at Ann’s Choice’s multiple campus restaurants.

Of course, she also dines with campus neighbors. “The residents are fascinating,” she says, “The jobs they’ve held and the things they’ve done; they come from every walk of life.”

Dolores has only peripheral vision now. But because the community’s three clubhouses and 15 residence buildings are all connected via climate-controlled hallways and enclosed bridges, she can navigate on her own within the “small town under one roof” that describes Ann’s Choice. 

She even walks to medical appointments because her doctor is an Ann’s Choice staff physician; the physicians have office hours in the on-site medical center and care exclusively for Ann’s Choice community members. 

Songs in her heart

Dolores’s happiness spills over in song as she walks through the hallways, so her neighbors have suggested she join the campus chorus. This fall, she will.

In May, she attended the Memorial Day service sponsored by the campus veterans club and held in the community’s beautiful interfaith chapel. 

Highlighted by songs, the playing of “Taps,” and a presentation by a visiting general, “It was an absolutely lovely ceremony,” Dolores says. Next year she’ll participate as a chorus member.

She regularly attends campus Town Hall meetings and speaks up to ask questions. 

But her main commitment is the low vision group, which she founded. Jennifer Steinhauer, a social worker at Ann’s Choice, facilitates the group. Dolores promotes the meetings and works on ideas to improve life for people with similar disabilities.

She, herself, uses Alexa, Amazon’s voice service. When Dolores learns about campus events she wants to attend, she tells Alexa to put them on her schedule. Then on any given day she’ll ask Alexa to say what’s scheduled.

Her favorite things

Dolores loves her one-bedroom apartment home. Her furniture arrangement assures ease of movement, and her décor reflects a special interest. 

Her career with Pennsylvania’s Balford Dairy enamored her of cows and cow-related memorabilia. Dolores’s collection includes antique milk bottles and butter churns as well as cow figurines, cow potholders, and stuffed cows.

She also delights in her patio. On pleasant mornings she sits in her patio rocker to drink her morning coffee. 

“I’m also safe here,” Dolores says. Ann’s Choice is a gated community with a security team of emergency medical technicians that are on the job 24/7. The community maintenance crew is also just a phone call away. 

“I love being here for so many reasons,” says Dolores. “The staff is wonderful, especially the restaurant staff. There’s nothing they won’t do for me.”

Executive Director Chris Donati, she adds, is Ann’s Choice’s biggest asset. He sets the tone at the community. When she invited him to dinner at a campus restaurant, he said he’d rather come to her home for conversation.

For two hours they discussed many topics, from Dolores’s cow collection to her vision problems and what would make community life easier. “He really listened,” she says. “He was instrumental in helping start the low vision group.”

His caring concern illustrates what impresses Dolores most about Ann’s Choice, that the mix of religions and nationalities live in harmony. 

“There’s such tolerance and love here,” she says. In today’s world, Dolores considers that to be an amazing thing.