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Why wait?

Stress-free living beckons seniors earlier than planned

Created date

October 22nd, 2018
Paul Pumphrey, who lives with his wife Melissa at Riderwood in Silver Spring, Md., says they moved precisely because they wanted to live a more active and worry-free life.

Paul Pumphrey, who lives with his wife Melissa at Riderwood in Silver Spring, Md., says they moved precisely because they wanted to live a more active and worry-free life.

Caring for an elderly parent can be a tremendous burden, sapping your energy, your time, and most of all, your emotional well-being. John and Carol Broadrick know firsthand how stressful caregiving is after taking care of their aging mothers. 

Determined not to burden their own children, the Broadricks had always planned to move to a retirement community.

“We kept saying ‘in the future, in the future,’” says Carol.

With the expense of a looming roof repair for their house in Lewes, Del., weighing on their minds, the couple seriously assessed their situation. Perhaps “the future” was now.

They reached out to the personal moving consultant at Maris Grove, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Delaware County, Pa., built and managed by Erickson Living. She invited them to visit the community and tour a newly available apartment home she thought they would love. She was right.

“As soon as we saw it,” says John, “it hit us like a cold blast of air on a hot day. This was it!”

The apartment’s open floor plan and cook’s kitchen made such an impression, they reserved it on the spot. “Everything came together,” Carol says. “It felt real. It felt right.”

For the Broadricks, the community’s refundable entrance deposit and home for life promise also influenced their decision. They had seen John’s mother, who lived to be 99, outlive her savings.

“No matter how responsible we are, that could also happen to us,” Carol says.

Plans change

The Broadricks are among a growing number of older Americans who are moving to senior living communities earlier than expected.

For Philip and Carol Peter, Hurricane Harvey and a flooded house provided the impetus for an earlier than expected move to Eagle’s Trace in West Houston, Tex. Says Carol, “Everything that happened was a blessing and a curse. The curse was our home flooding. The blessing has been Eagle’s Trace.”

Charles and Phyllis Flynn, residents of Linden Ponds, a retirement community in Hingham, Mass., also moved earlier than planned. “The catalyst was probably the terrible winter we had a couple of years ago,” Phyllis says. “That got us thinking much more seriously about household maintenance.”

Judy Higginbotham moved to Tallgrass Creek in Overland Park, Kans., when the financial and physical burdens of maintaining her large house alone became overwhelming.

It wasn’t an easy decision, but Judy knew she had done the right thing. “I went from not knowing if I wanted to move to Tallgrass Creek to really loving it here,” says Judy. “My sons say it’s the best gift I ever gave them.”

New beginnings

“From their first day here, our residents think of it as a new beginning,” says Tom Neubauer, executive vice president of sales, marketing, and communications for Erickson Living. “My grandparents and my mother lived in CCRCs and counted it as one of the best life decisions they ever made.

“Too many people wait until the last minute to move,” Neubauer adds, “but residents always proclaim they wish they had moved here sooner.”

All Erickson Living communities feature superior continuing care right on campus.

“You never know what the future holds, so it’s helpful to know you have access to comprehensive health care, including doctors who specialize in the care of seniors,” says Neubauer. “Easy access to specialists is a definite bonus.”

That was one reason Paul and Melissa Pumphrey moved to Riderwood in Silver Spring, Md., earlier than planned. “All our fundamental needs are here, and that helps us address anything we’ll need,” says Paul. “We have a support system for the future should our health change.

“There’s a tremendous amount of advantages to moving while you’re still active and independent,” he adds, “special trips, social activities, a softball team. A lot of people wait too long. There’s no reason to stay in a house you have to take care of. At Riderwood, you can live the fullness of your life.”

New residents of Erickson Living communities feel the positive impact of stress-free living from the start. They have more time, more freedom, and more fun.

Since the Flynns moved to Linden Ponds, Phyllis says friends have noticed a difference. “One by one, as people see how much happier and more relaxed we are, they are starting to say, ‘Maybe you had the right idea after all.’”