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'I wish we'd moved sooner'

A move goes as planned, even better than expected

Created date

April 17th, 2018
Karl and Elaine Vonder Schmalz pose in front of a wall of framed photos from their travels

A wall of pictures in Karl and Elaine Vonder Schmalz’s home at Ann’s Choice evokes memories of when they lived in England and includes photos of Karl’s favorite golf courses.

Las July, Elaine and Karl Vonder Schmalz joined Ann’s Choice’s priority list and reserved their future apartment home, a two-bedroom Fairmont floor plan.

They aimed to move before winter from their five-bedroom house in Southampton, Pa., to Erickson Living’s retirement community just ten minutes away in Bucks County.

Hesitation turned relief

Preparations went smoothly. Their house sold less than 24 hours after they listed it. They gave much of their furniture to family members and donated many items.

The couple took their keys in October and set their moving day for Nov. 18. In the interim they arranged for the closets in their new home to be customized. Ann’s Choice also added a half bath.

While the apartment was being worked on, the couple came to dinner every evening at Ann’s Choice and met many of their future neighbors during those meals.

“Karl was pleased with the way things were going,” Elaine says. “But I thought things were moving too quickly. I was trying to think positive, but because I didn’t feel that way inside, I decided I’d just pretend.”

Still, the couple continued dining at Ann’s Choice. Although Elaine was making friends, she remained uneasy.

“When I walked into the apartment on moving day,” she says, “I felt sure I wouldn’t like it. Instead, I immediately felt safe and at home. I knew we’d done the right thing.”

Finding peace of mind

Karl’s scheduled hip surgery in December went off without a hitch. After he came home, Ann’s Choice physical therapists came to the apartment, and he did his therapy there.

Then, in late January Karl was hospitalized five days.

“It was wonderful that we were at Ann’s Choice,” says Elaine. “The security team trained as first responders were here in less than five minutes. That’s such peace of mind.”

After living at Ann’s Choice for six months, Karl has developed great respect for the way Executive Director Chris Donati handles the myriad responsibilities involved in managing a community with 2,100-plus residents.

“Building maintenance, food services, health-related programs, the medical center, and security … all that is a tremendous challenge,” Karl says. “I admire the management structure that lets him accomplish that.”

Elaine appreciates Ann’s Choice’s maintenance-free, one-level living. “I don’t miss our stairs at all,” she says. “The house was too big and was getting difficult to care for.”

With medical issues behind them, Elaine and Karl are pursuing campus activities at the fitness and aquatics center.

Karl plans to explore the well-equipped campus wood shop, and Elaine is anxious to pick up the watercolor paints and brushes she laid aside years ago. She’ll also team with another ukulele player at weekly sing-alongs.

“It’s a very easy way to live here,” she says. “Now I wish we’d moved earlier.”

Is Ann's Choice right for you?

To find out, join its priority list.

Composed of people who plan to move to an Erickson Living community, the priority list lets them save their place in line for the apartment home of their choice.

All it takes to join is a fully refundable $1,000 deposit and a $150-per-person nonrefundable application fee.

The date people submit their deposit becomes their official priority list date. Once their preferred floor plan becomes available, the sales team gives first right of refusal to priority list members based on their date.

Members also receive invitations to exclusive priority list events.

Now they can experience the Ann’s Choice lifestyle firsthand by participating in everything it has to offer even before they move in.

When they visit campus, their priority list badges will identify them as prospective community members, ensuring a warm welcome from future neighbors.

They can spend an hour or all day and can return as often as they like.

Members can work out at the campus fitness center, swim in the all-season pool, and attend whatever activities and club meetings pique their interest.

They can drop by for a meal at a campus restaurant and purchase it at a discounted price.

If space allows, they can go on trips with the campus travel club and pay the same discounted rate as residents.

The newest member perk is the opportunity for a onetime, complimentary overnight stay in the Ann’s Choice Experience suite at the community.

Sales staff will arrange everything, including for resident ambassadors to host the members over dinner in a campus restaurant. The restaurants offer extensive menus featuring gourmet selections, comfort foods, and delectable desserts.