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Retire? There’s still work to do

Active, vibrant lifestyle at Highland Springs supports those in the workforce

Created date

May 8th, 2018
Highland Springs resident Linda Matzen works in the front office at Brentfield Elementary School in the Richardson Independent School District.

Highland Springs resident Linda Matzen works in the front office at Brentfield Elementary School in the Richardson Independent School District.

School’s out for the summer, but in a few months Linda Matzen will be back to work at Brentfield Elementary School in Richardson, Tex.

As the administrative assistant for student services, Linda is the first person guests see when they walk into the school.

“I handle the attendance, enrolling and withdrawing students, and whatever else needs to be done in the front office,” says Linda, who just completed her eighteenth year at Brentfield.

In July 2017, Linda moved to Highland Springs, the Erickson Living community in North Dallas and sold her 3,000-square-foot home in Richardson.

“I no longer worry about taking care of a big house and keeping up with all the maintenance and repairs,” says Linda, who lost her husband, Neil, to brain cancer in 2009. “Last year, I got an estimate to fix the swimming pool. When I saw the amount, I thought, ‘You know, it’s time to make a plan. I’m ready to move.’”

Maintenance-free living

Highland Springs was already familiar to Linda, as she drives past the community every day on her way to work.

“One day, I stopped in to see what Highland Springs was like,” says Linda, who found the idea of a maintenance-free lifestyle appealing.

After touring several apartments, Linda chose a two-bedroom, two-bath, Madison-style apartment home with a balcony and open layout. She opted to move during the summer break and list her home after she was already settled in her new apartment.

“My house went on the market on the first day of the 2017-2018 school year, and it closed less than three months later,” says Linda.

Now, Linda enjoys a work-life balance that’s enhanced by her new lifestyle at Highland Springs.

“I don’t have to think about what to fix for dinner,” says Linda, who has her choice of restaurants at Highland Springs. “The food here is fabulous.”

Linda also appreciates the onsite fitness center and medical center, both just a short walk from her apartment.

“With my work schedule, I haven’t had the opportunity to join any clubs or activities yet,” she says. “I’m looking forward to this summer when I can take yoga classes and see what other activities are available.”

Part of a growing movement

As one who’s still engaged in her work, Linda’s not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, men and women working past the traditional retirement age are the fastest-growing segment in the workforce. Labor force participation among 65 to 74 year olds is expected to reach 32% by 2022, up from 20% in 2002.

“There are good reasons to continue working,” says Dorian Mintzer, Ph.D., a retirement transitions coach and co-author of The Couple’s Retirement Puzzle. “Work can provide a sense of connection, engagement, purpose, and meaning, all essential components of well-being.”

For Linda, the opportunity to work provides structure and significance.

“I need routine, continuity, and a reason to get up every morning,” she says. “I enjoy being around people, especially the staff, students, and parents at Brentfield.”

As much as her work provides an opportunity for socialization, so, too, does Highland Springs.

“Isolation isn’t good for the body or soul,” says Linda. “I’ve made friends at Highland Springs, and it’s fun to have people around when I’m not at work.”

Linda’s in good company at the North Dallas community, where other residents are engaged in meaningful work.

“Retirement used to convey that when you’re retiring, you’re retiring from life,” says Mintzer. “That’s not the case anymore. People are living longer, healthier lives. They’re taking advantage of opportunities to be helpful and productive.”

Pursing his passions

Pete Robertson, who’s lived at the North Dallas community with his wife, Jane, for 11 years, is still pursuing his passion.

As a U.S. Navy veteran and United Methodist minister and district superintendent, Pete has dedicated his life to serving others. Even after his official retirement, Pete went on to work at two churches—Custer Road United Methodist Church, in Plano, and Stonebridge United Methodist Church, in McKinney.

Now, a trusted advisor and friend at Highland Springs, Pete often takes on a pastoral role among his peers.

“I’ve been in ministry for 62 years,” says Pete, who published his first book, Prayers for the Pew, in 2016. “I can’t imagine not being involved in the lives of people.”

Pete recently completed the manuscript for his second book, a memoir, tentatively titled Home is Where My Heart Is.

“I worked on the book for three and a half months, writing five to six hours a day in our apartment,” says Pete. “I’d been thinking about writing my life story for a while and finally started typing away on my Mac [computer].”

The last chapter of Pete’s manuscript, “A house to a home,” covers the decade-plus he’s lived at Highland Springs.

“We have the best of both worlds here,” says Pete. “We don’t have all the responsibilities that go along with owning a home, and we don’t have the constraints that many face early in their careers. We can pursue the things that are important to us. For me, that’s being with people and investing in their lives.”

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