Friends forever

Best friends take on a new life chapter together at Seabrook

Created date

July 22nd, 2019
Cindy Malmo’s studio apartment with its stylish and modern Murphy bed were a popular stop on the Seabrook home tour.

Cindy Malmo’s studio apartment with its stylish and modern Murphy bed were a popular stop on the Seabrook home tour. 

After 25 years of friendship, Cindy Malmo and Lin Kaufer are still going strong. So strong, in fact, that they both moved to Seabrook, the Erickson Living community in Tinton Falls, N.J., just a few months apart. 

And though they each bought apartment styles on the opposite end of the size and budget spectrum, they have both been able to live comfortably and enjoy all the services, amenities, and activities available at the maintenance-free continuing care retirement community. 

Sharing in excitement

Living solo, Lin felt her four-bedroom rancher in the middle of the woods was too big. And during storms, she constantly worried a tree would fall on her house. She started looking at 55-plus communities. 

“I realized I wanted to move, but I also realized if I went to a 55 and older community, I’d have to move again down the road. I didn’t want to move twice,” she says. “I got a brochure for Seabrook in the mail, went to a luncheon, and came back really excited.”

She shared her excitement with her best friend Cindy. The two met in 1994 when they and their husbands were active in Civil War reenactments. “The minute we met, it was instantaneous friendship,” says Cindy. “We’ve been through everything together.”

When Lin told her about Seabrook, Cindy was living in a 55-plus community in Red Bank. It was upstairs, and she was alone. Legally blind from a degenerative disease that surfaced in her 30s and working full-time in Newark, Cindy saw the benefits of living in a maintenance-free, service- and amenity-rich senior living community like Seabrook, where everything is on one level. 

When the pair visited again to join the priority list—Seabrook’s waiting list for an apartment home—they projected they’d move in about five years. 

But much to their surprise, Sales Counselor Dennise Baldwin had available apartments that fit each of their specifications: a studio for Cindy and a large two-bedroom combo apartment for Lin.

Setback moves them forward

While they were deciding whether to wait or take the plunge, Cindy broke her shoulder walking to work. “I went to live with Lin for two weeks. It reinforced Seabrook. I had to do physical therapy [PT]. If I had been living here, I would have been able to do PT and had meals,” Cindy says, referring to the on-site rehabilitation center.

In light of the injury, Cindy’s children also felt a sense of peace knowing their mother would be living on one level with help available should something like that happen in the future. 

“They were so glad I would have help if something happened. I made the decision, started packing, and used someone [Seabrook] suggested to help me pack. I have not regretted it,” says Cindy. 

Cindy’s reasons for choosing a studio apartment were financial: “I knew I wanted to move to Seabrook. I could have gotten a small one-bedroom, but I chose a studio because it’s open, and I realized most of the time I’m not going to be in here; I’m going to be out.” 

She worked with Seabrook to make some structural changes to the apartment, like creating a larger closet, widening the breakfast bar, and installing a Murphy bed to make the most of her space. 

“I was trying to find the best way to have a lot of space and Googled ‘space-saving ways for a studio,’” she says. “I’m so pleased that I went with the Murphy bed. I think it turned out really nice.” 

Cindy says her choice has been a smart financial decision. “Before I moved in, I had a mortgage and an HOA fee, so I added those expenses plus the cable and the food. Now, I come home from work and go get food; I don’t have to make it,” she says. “Plus I have the pool, a movie every night, the gym, and it’s all included. It’s been a really good decision.”

Living large

Meanwhile, Lin opted to follow in Cindy’s footsteps and reserve the apartment Baldwin suggested. 

“One thing led to another, and here we are,” Lin says. “It’s been the best move I ever made, even though it happened more quickly than I thought. Being in the house for 25 years, I thought I’d miss it, but I don’t miss it a bit, especially during storms.”

Lin chose an apartment that had originally been two smaller apartments—a studio and a one bedroom—combined into one, large, open floor plan. 

“We listened to the market and our customers, and we decided to build larger apartment homes as two adjacent, smaller apartments become available,” says Seabrook Sales Director Dan Simms. “We are changing as the market changes, and these homes sell quickly when they become available.”

Simms adds that they listened to their customers, not only on size but also on design. “Open, flowing living spaces are what people desire now,” he says.

“We also took into account that people want a big master bedroom,” he says. Most bedrooms in the new designs also feature spacious walk-in closets. 

Storage space doesn’t end in the bedroom closets. Laundry rooms that accommodate a full-size washer and dryer provide additional utility space—a common request—in many of these homes.

“We have a handful of combo apartments available, but they sell quickly. The best way to reserve one is to join the priority list,” says Simms.  

Risk-free membership requires a fully refundable $1,000 deposit and $150 nonrefundable application fee to reserve your place in line for the apartment home of your choice. 

“Joining the priority list is the best way to ensure you get the apartment that’s right for you, whether that’s a large combo apartment or one of our beautiful one-bedrooms,” says Baldwin. “Priority list members tell us the features they want, and we contact them, based on the date they joined the priority list, when an apartment that meets their criteria becomes available.”

Both Cindy and Lin are glad they joined when they did. Now, they’re off line dancing, playing Rummikub, and meeting friends for dinner and drinks.

For anyone considering a move to Seabrook, Cindy has these words of advice: “Don’t get bogged down in feeling like you’re going to a retirement home. You’re going to a place where you have an opportunity to enjoy life without taking care of a house or the lawn. Get past that and then see what’s best for you.”