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Everything and more

Couple finds welcoming community with limitless opportunities

Created date

October 13th, 2017
Darla and Ben Schwartz have started and joined several clubs and activities since moving to Wind Crest from Evergreen a year ago.

Darla and Ben Schwartz have started and joined several clubs and activities since moving to Wind Crest from Evergreen a year ago.


For Darla and Ben Schwartz, the most important factor in their next home wasn’t size, location, amenities, or cost. Those topped their list, yes. But what mattered most was that they could bring their two Australian shepherds, Amy and Aussie. 

“They’re our kids,” Darla says of the eleven-year-old litter mates.

When the couple discovered Wind Crest, an Erickson Living community in Highlands Ranch, Colo., not far from their house of 20 years in Evergreen, they checked off everything on their list, pets included.

‘This is it’

They also found a sizable, spacious, two-bedroom, two-bath apartment with a den and patio that fit their budget. 

“The sales team knew what we wanted,” Darla says. “They contacted us and said they had one they think we’d be interested in. When we opened the door, we both said, ‘This is it.’” 

They appreciate the patio for easy outdoor access for both themselves and their dogs. They love the look and quality of the apartment home. And the size-cost ratio stood out when compared to other communities they visited. 

“One of the places seemed very stiff and formal. The other place had a very tiny apartment for a lot of money. It was one-seventh the size of our home and it would have cost twice as much to live there,” says Ben. 

Speaking of cost, Ben and Darla say they found living at Wind Crest, with all its amenities and worry-free, maintenance-free lifestyle, actually costs less than living in their house. 

“The monthly service package was another thing that motivated us to move. Before we made a serious decision, I wrote down all of our monthly expenses in the home for a year and the expenses here, and truthfully, it’s costing us much less to live here than there,” Darla says.

She says that argument helped sell Wind Crest to Ben, who wasn’t keen on moving at first. 

“I’m a guy that plants himself,” Ben admits, but, he adds, “I like the fact that we’re here now. It’s comfortable.”

Working from experience

In fact, he’s gotten quite involved despite being the introvert of the two. 

He helps Darla with the political discussion group, guys’ breakfast, and the Munch Bunch, which, as Darla explains, “enables single people who feel uncomfortable going anywhere alone to find someone to attend or go with.”

As involved as Ben has become, Darla, an effervescent type filled with kindness, has gone above and beyond to help others feel at home at Wind Crest. 

She has started four clubs, including the three above and the Newcomers, which puts new residents in touch with each other. She participates in several more: the writers’ group, Helping Hands, Resident Advisory Council, Lifelong Learners classes. And she’s an ambassador—someone who lives at Wind Crest and welcomes people interested in moving there by helping answer questions and by being a guide. 

“I’m a former social worker, but I never really retired. In Evergreen I did all these groups too,” Darla says.

Beyond expectations

While the couple does their part to make Wind Crest a warm, welcoming community of neighbors and friends, they say their fellow residents do a fine job on their own.

“The best part, far and beyond our expectations, are the people,” Ben says. We really enjoy the discussions we have at dinner. Sometimes we meet very interesting people, sometimes we sit with old friends we’ve made. There’s a lot of people here who have terrific backgrounds.”

“We’ve made so many friends in such a short time,” adds Darla. “That’s the number one best thing about Wind Crest, the people. That includes the staff too. The staff really wants to see the residents happy. You can tell.” 

As for the dogs, “They adjusted quicker than we did,” Darla says.