Two questions

Where do I want to live? Where do I need to live?

Created date

February 18th, 2019
Judy and Stan Stephenson are at home in their lovely Glendale-style apartment at Brooksby Village.

Judy and Stan Stephenson are at home in their lovely Glendale-style apartment at Brooksby Village.

When Stan and Judy Stephenson began exploring retirement living options, they asked themselves two questions.

“First we considered where we wanted to live,” says Stan. “Then we thought about where we needed to live.”

Stan and Judy are Texas transplants who moved to a 55-plus community in Dover, N.H., in 2013 to be closer to their daughter who lives in Wenham, Mass. In 2017, the couple began contemplating another move, this time to a continuing care retirement community where they could thrive for years to come.

Both retired professors, Stan and Judy did their homework, visiting retirement communities across New England.

What do we want?

“I want to have a warm feeling when I drive onto a property,” says Judy, who was a choral director and taught secondary music education. “It’s important to me that I live in a place where I feel good about inviting friends to visit.”

The couple also considered onsite amenities at each retirement community they visited.

“We knew we wanted to live at a community that was large enough to offer amenities like a fitness center, swimming pool, medical center, and restaurants,” says Stan, who served in the U.S. Air Force, then taught business statistics at Texas State University.

The couple also considered what made sense from a financial standpoint.

“We looked at a life care community in New Hampshire where you pay the same monthly fee no matter where you fall on the continuing care spectrum,” says Stan. “When we visited Brooksby Village [the Erickson Living community in Peabody, Mass.], we liked its fee-for-service financial structure. It makes sense to us to pay for advanced care only if and when we need it.”

The couple also enjoyed Brooksby’s welcoming atmosphere.

“There’s a sense of community you feel even before you move in,” says Judy.

What do we need?

In New Hampshire, Stan volunteered with Ready Rides, a program that provides transportation to doctor’s visits and other important appointments for those who are unable to drive themselves.

“I interacted with several people who were essentially prisoners in their own homes,” says Stan. “They had no way to get out of the house without help. I didn’t want us to ever be in that position. At Brooksby, everything we need is on campus, so we’ll never be isolated from the resources we need to live active, healthy, social lives.”

As the couple began to narrow down their choices, they joined the priority list at Brooksby, putting down a fully refundable $1,000 deposit to reserve their place in line for an apartment home that met their criteria.

Jane Kiegel, sales counselor at Brooksby, called the couple to see if they wanted to tour a one-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath Glendale-style apartment with a den.

“We liked the way the kitchen opened up to the living area,” says Judy. “We also liked the huge storage closet off the den.”

In preparation for their move, Stan and Judy attended several Lunch and Learn presentations by Brooksby Personal Moving Consultant Laurie Phillips.

“Those luncheons were invaluable both for the information shared and for the people we met,” says Judy. “Laurie has a gift for seating people together who she feels will connect. We made several lasting friendships through those events.”

Seamless move

Phillips also visited the couple in their Dover home, bringing with her a magnetic board and moveable, scaled furniture cutouts to help design a template for furniture placement in their new apartment.

“We didn’t bring any furniture we didn’t keep,” says Judy. “Everything fit according to Laurie’s design. We knew what to expect and had the resources we needed, so our move went very smoothly.”

The couple settled into their Brooksby apartment in August 2018.

“Our new neighbors reached out and drew us into their circle of friends,” says Judy, who’s already become a regular attendee in the water aerobics class and enjoys playing bridge. “You can’t help but feel welcomed.”

Stan, who works out regularly in the fitness center and participates in several of Brooksby’s day trip offerings, says the move was smart from every angle.

“Everything we want and need is right here,” he says. “We’re in the best possible situation.”