Tribune Print Share Text


Malden couple researched retirement communities for nearly a decade

Created date

May 8th, 2018
Allison and Jim Dolan pose in their home

Allison and Jim Dolan used all the moving resources available through Brooksby Village to ensure a successful move to the Peabody, Mass., Erikson Living community.

For Jim and Allison Dolan, planning is key.

“My parents lived at a continuing care retirement community, so we were aware of its value and the peace of mind it affords,” says Allison.

In 2008, while the couple was living in Malden, Mass., they began to explore options for their own retirement living.

“We joined the priority list at Brooksby Village before we were even age-eligible to move to the community,” says Allison, who worked as a privacy specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital at the time.

Brooksby Village in Peabody is one of 19 continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living for adults 62-plus.

Those interested in moving to the community can put down a fully refundable $1,000 deposit, plus a $150-per-person nonrefundable processing fee, at any age, to reserve their place in line for the apartment home of their choice.

“The priority list was a great deal because the $1,000 was refundable if we changed our minds, and it kept our place in line regardless of which Erickson community we chose,” says Allison. “Brooksby was the likely choice since we were living in Malden at the time, but given the number of Erickson communities across the country, we wanted to keep our options open.”

As priority list members, Jim and Allison received invitations to events at the community and were among the first to learn of special pricing offers and campus enhancements.

“I retired in 2014, and that’s when I really started attending sales events at Brooksby,” says Allison.

Valuable information

Laurie Phillips is the personal moving consultant at Brooksby Village. She offers complimentary coordination of moving resources for anyone moving to the community and can provide referrals to a network of trusted real estate professionals, senior move managers, and moving companies.

Several times a year, Phillips offers a four-part Lunch and Learn series to acquaint prospective residents with the moving process and introduce them to professionals who can help with every aspect of the move.

“Laurie’s luncheons were invaluable,” says Allison. “Jim and I aren’t natives of the area, so we didn’t have a reservoir of friends who could provide referrals. By the time I attended the fourth luncheon, I had a clear idea of who to call once we decided to move.”

Unique opportunity

Meanwhile, Jim’s health took a turn, and he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

“The burden of taking care of the house and finances fell to me, and we started to realize that if anything happened to me, we didn’t have any systems in place to care for Jim,” says Allison.

By 2017, the couple was ready to move. They contacted Sales Manager Gina Fernandez to inquire about available two-bedroom apartments.

“Gina told me the community had plans to combine two one-bedroom apartments into one larger apartment in the Towne Centre neighborhood,” says Allison. “We were number one on the priority list if we wanted that apartment.”

The concept appealed to the couple, who liked the combination apartment’s proximity to the fitness center, pharmacy, and bank in the Towne Centre Clubhouse.

“When we saw the floor plan, we realized the layout and square footage of the apartment would be very similar to the main living floor in our Malden home, which was a raised ranch-style home,” says Allison. “The footprint of our living space wasn’t going to change that much, which made it easy to visualize how our furnishings would fit in the space.”

Pressing ahead

Armed with all the information they’d gleaned from Brooksby’s sales events over the years, Jim and Allison set the moving process in motion.

“I had my files from Laurie’s luncheons, and I contacted a real estate agent she recommended, Tina Endicott,” says Allison. “In Tina, we got significantly more than just an agent who was going to put the house on the market. I’d seen other properties sit on the market for months, but Tina knew exactly how to price the house, what needed to be done to get it cleaned and staged, and she had the contacts to get it done.”

To alleviate the strain of keeping their home show-ready at all times, Allison and Jim opted to move to Brooksby before listing their Malden home.

“We have options to meet our residents’ needs in regards to timeline,” says Phillips. “It can be stressful to live in a home while it’s on the market, so moving before listing is one way to simplify the process.”

Once Jim and Allison’s home hit the market in late 2017, it was under contract within a week.

“We had multiple offers and accepted one that was well over our asking price,” says Allison. “We couldn’t have been more pleased with how the sale went.”

Start early

Now that they’re settled at Brooksby, Allison says the time spent considering and planning their move was well spent.

“We felt connected very early on because we were familiar with the community,” she says.

For those considering a move to an Erickson Living community, Allison recommends taking steps now to ensure a smooth transition in the future.

“The decision to get on the priority list should be a no-brainer,” she says. “It’s not a big threshold; you’re simply keeping your options open.”