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A port in the storm

Ann’s Choice takes the stress out of life for Huntington Valley couple

Created date

November 23rd, 2018
Lois and Len Michaels are living safe and warm at Ann’s Choice this winter. Before the move, Ann’s Choice provided them a safe place when a nor’easter in March knocked out power for eight days to their home in Huntington Valley, Pa.

Lois and Len Michaels are living safe and warm at Ann’s Choice this winter. Before the move, Ann’s Choice provided them a safe place when a nor’easter in March knocked out power for eight days to their home in Huntington Valley, Pa.

Lois and Len Michaels will never forget the winter of 2018. 

On Valentine’s Day, they reserved their soon-to-be new home at Ann’s Choice, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Bucks County, Pa.

Two weeks later, a fierce nor’easter raged its way through New England leaving the Michaelses’ house in Huntington Valley without power for a frustratingly long eight days.

“The first day we slept in the house,” says Len. “The next day we went to a motel, and the third and fourth days we went to a friend’s. We were living out of our car, and it was terrible.”

A revelation

Finally, weary of the constant moves, Lois called Ann’s Choice Sales Associate Ryan Kroll and asked if they could stay at the community. The answer was yes. As priority list members who had already reserved their home, the community didn’t hesitate to help in this unique situation.

Lois and Len stayed two nights in a guest suite at Ann’s Choice, and the community provided them with meals and even cleared the snow from their car. “And everything was gratis,” Len says.

“We were so happy to be here, and everybody was so nice to us,” Lois adds. “It was our introduction to living at Ann’s Choice, and we didn’t want to leave.”

When the couple went to meals those two days, they discovered they could walk to any of the campus restaurants without ever going outside. “That was a revelation!” says Len, and a definite advantage considering the snowstorm.

As regular campus activities took place all around them, Lois and Len devoted their time to wandering through Ann’s Choice’s three neighborhoods, each anchored by its own clubhouse.

As they learned their way around, they also experienced the friendliness of their future neighbors. Len even ran into someone he knew but hadn’t realized lived at Ann’s Choice.

The couple took note of on-site amenities like bank branches, postal centers, salons, and the fitness and aquatics center.

Ann’s Choice offers five campus restaurants including a café and a pub. The food earns praise from Len, a self-described fussy eater. “It’s very good,” he confirms.

He also appreciates the convenience of having a medical center right on campus. “For me it’s more than a convenience,” says Lois. “It’s a comfort.”

‘It sold itself’

Eager to trade cooking and cleaning for Ann’s Choice’s maintenance-free lifestyle, Lois would have moved years earlier, but Len had resisted.

Then, when he agreed to accompany Lois to a sales luncheon, Len took a good look at all Ann’s Choice had to offer. He came away impressed. “It sold itself,” he says. “Everything is organized, and the [community] is well run.”

Even the location won the Michaelses’ approval. It’s close to Doylestown and New Hope, where two of their children live. Len attends art group meetings in New Hope.

A serious digital photographer, he has long ventured into Center City Philadelphia, camera in hand, to amble its streets. Because Ann’s Choice is a mile from the train station, that aspect of his lifestyle remains unchanged.

On the other hand, “We have changed our lifestyle in a good way,” Lois says.

Shortly after Lois and Len moved this May, they heard a loud crash. They discovered the large mirror in their living room had fallen. The mirror was intact, but the frame had cracked.

Lois called General Services, who took the mirror to the campus woodshop for repair. The woodshop members, who all live at Ann’s Choice, are highly skilled. “In four days it was done, and General Services put it back up,” Lois says. “You can’t get anyone to do those things outside [Ann’s Choice].”

She and Len have immersed themselves in a wide mix of campus activities including lectures and musical performances in the performing arts center. Because Len no longer likes to drive at night, they also attend area theater, museums, and concerts with the campus travel group.

Len often plays billiards. A retired C.P.A., he and a neighbor also hope to start a campus investment club.

As for Lois, “Right now I like everything,” she says. Besides two book clubs and an aerobics class, she’s joined The New Yorker magazine group, the history club, and she volunteers with the Ann’s Choice Lifelong Learning Academy.

She’s serious when she says she was careful to only get involved in things she knew she was interested in. “I’m sure I’ll expand my participation,” Lois adds.

If she seems extra busy, it’s because Ann’s Choice’s carefree living has given Lois the luxury of time to pursue whatever her heart desires.

So, what does she like best about Ann’s Choice?

“Everything we do has less stress,” Lois says. “And our kids are thrilled we’re here.”