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All about options

Parkinson’s can’t hold this author and teacher back

Created date

August 28th, 2017
Ellen Korin downsized from a three-story house in Virginia to a two-bedroom Jameson-style apartment home in Wind Crest’s brand-new Longs Ridge residence building.

Ellen Korin downsized from a three-story house in Virginia to a two-bedroom Jameson-style apartment home in Wind Crest’s brand-new Longs Ridge residence building.

Two weeks after moving to Wind Crest, Ellen Korin is ready to jump into the Erickson Living lifestyle. With many of her belongings still in boxes, she’s less concerned about unpacking than getting involved. 

So far, she wants to become an ambassador for people considering a move to the Erickson Living community in Highlands Ranch, Colo. She wants to take continuing education classes. She wants to volunteer with children. And she wants to join a few support groups.

Warm and welcoming

On this particular afternoon in late June, she’s heading to a Shabbat dinner organized by the small but active Jewish community on campus. “I’m glad there is a Jewish community. I would have come anyway if there wasn’t one, but it’s nice to know I won’t be isolated,” she says. 

The Jewish community is one of some 20 religious affiliations represented on campus. 

Lee Bieberstein, one of Ellen’s first friends at Wind Crest and a resident ambassador, planned the Shabbat dinner and helps to lead the Jewish community. She inspired Ellen to become an ambassador herself. 

“The whole place is very welcoming,” Ellen says. “There are several people who have come to welcome me. I’ve had dinner with other people. I’d be interested in being an ambassador because it’s nice to have that sort of warmth.”

Wind Crest’s Welcome Committee and Newcomers Club both create that warmth Ellen has felt from day one. 

When individuals or families first move to Wind Crest, a member of the Welcome Committee visits them with a goody basket and information packet, and invites them to dinner. They answer questions and help their new neighbors get acclimated to the community. 

The Newcomers Club, an ongoing group founded by Darla Schwartz, is a way for people who have lived at Wind Crest for less than a year to make new friends. But, true to form, they welcome anyone, regardless of how long they’ve lived at Wind Crest, who wants to make friends. 

“We have two meetings a month called ‘getting to know you’ meetings,” says Darla. “We also go on field trips once a month.”

For example, they have visited the Denver Botanical Garden, a nearby three-acre iris garden, and a Highlands Ranch mansion. 

“I get a thrill when I see newcomers in the dining room, and I’m so happy! They’ve gotten to know somebody, and I’ve gotten to know them,” says Darla, who also belongs to the Welcome Committee.

Living with Parkinson’s

Living alone and with Parkinson’s, a disease that affects people as young as 40 or 50, or even younger, Ellen says community life keeps her from becoming lonely and isolated. 

While she and her late husband lived in a beautiful, three-floor house in Virginia, Ellen never left the main floor. “I was really only using a very small part of the house. I couldn’t do the lawn or shovel snow. My neighbors helped me, but it was quite a lot,” she says. 

Plus, Parkinson’s puts her at high risk of falling. One-level living truly suits Ellen best, keeps her safe, and empowers her to be more active and less isolated. 

In fact, with the services and lifestyle available at Wind Crest, Parkinson’s isn’t taking over her life. She’s started physical therapy on campus, uses the fitness center and indoor swimming pool, plans to start traveling again—something she and her husband enjoyed frequently—and hopes to start a Dancing With the Stars viewing group.  

“I love to read. I love history. I love to travel. So I have plenty of interests that I can explore here,” she says.

Ellen also plans to use her kitchen. She’s in the minority among her neighbors at Wind Crest, which consistently ranks number one among all Erickson Living communities for dining. 

“I haven’t met anybody who cooks. I plan to cook and already have. I made my famous spaghetti and meatballs,” Ellen says. “I think it’s very nice to have that option.” 

She plans to cook for Passover and the high holidays and looks forward to entertaining in her apartment. The two-bedroom, two-bath Jameson’s open floor plan and large kitchen are perfect for hosting a crowd and overnight guests. 

In fact, one of Ellen’s friends visited and stayed for a week, sleeping on the pullout couch in Ellen’s guest room. Ellen’s daughter, who lives in Los Angeles, Calif., will do the same when she visits. 


Ellen likes having options. 

She likes having the option to cook or not—the convenient monthly service package includes a flexible meal plan to use at any of Wind Crest’s top-rated restaurants, including Windows, Timberline Tavern, Burton’s Steakhouse, and Blue Sky Café, all located in The High Line Overlook neighborhood where Ellen lives.

The service package also includes most other living expenses, like utilities, property taxes, 24/7 security, and home maintenance. 

And she likes having the option to drive or not. 

“It seems like you wouldn’t have to go anywhere if you didn’t want to—everything you need is right here. I just leased a car, and I find I’m using it a lot. It gives me the freedom to go shopping or visit my nieces when I want, but the option to not drive and use the shuttles as a backup plan is appealing,” she says.

All in all, Ellen says Wind Crest has been the right choice: “I looked at a lot of different places, but I felt that Wind Crest was not an old-age home. There are a lot of active people and a lot of people closer to my age than not. I like the apartments, and I like the people.”