Why wait?

Why this active couple chose to move into a CCRC before they were ‘ready’

Created date

September 26th, 2019
A man and woman in dark blue shirts smile for the camera.

Shirley and Ray Wagenhorst seized the opportunity to live at Seabrook when it presented itself and say they’re so glad they did.

Ray and Shirley Wagenhorst had vision when they first saw their Harrison-style two-bedroom, two-bath apartment home at Seabrook. And that’s all it took to move them from “Are we ready?” to “Let’s do this now. We’re ready.”

The tipping point

Two and a half years ago, the couple from Wappingers Falls, N.Y., was researching retirement communities for their future and had no plans to move anytime soon. They had visited several communities in New York and New Jersey, including Seabrook, the Erickson Living community in Tinton Falls, N.J. They liked it so much they joined its priority list, which reserved their place in line for an apartment of their choice whenever they did decide they were ready. 

“We were happy where we were,” Shirley says. But then they had a conversation with a friend. 

“Her folks fought against moving to a CCRC [continuing care retirement community], and they waited too long. When they finally decided to move, they weren’t well and weren’t able to be comfortable. They weren’t able to make a home,” Shirley says. “That said something to me.”

Serendipitously, they were visiting their son, who lives near Seabrook, around the same time. The conversation with their friend prompted them to revisit the maintenance-free community, which they liked for its amenities, activities, and spacious floor plans.

Sales Counselor Dennise Baldwin knew Shirley and Ray’s priorities when it came to selecting an apartment home. One of those priorities—windows in the kitchen—is only offered in two popular apartment styles, the Jackson and the Harrison. 

A staged Harrison model was available. Shirley says when she walked in and saw the wooded view from the kitchen windows, she immediately knew she could live there. 

“We realized it would not be available if we waited for when we were ‘ready’ to move,” Shirley recalls. 

A little vision

They reserved the apartment and haven’t looked back. In fact, they’ve truly only looked forward, especially when it came to interior design. 

“It’s important that you have a little vision because you have to accommodate change. Then you can make your apartment into something that suits your personality and your needs,” she says. 

For example, while most people use the master bedroom as such, Shirley and Ray turned it into their den and use the second bedroom, on the opposite side of the apartment, as a master. 

Now, she has space for her alone time, which she cherishes, while he’s typically found out and about the community, involved in various clubs and activities. 

“We’re grateful to be here because we know if we have an emergency, if we don’t want to cook, if we want to see a movie or something, we have resources here,” says Shirley, who enjoys exercising in the on-site fitness center.  

And while they’re quite involved, they’ve appreciated Seabrook’s medical center and on-site care, especially recently when Ray tripped and fell. “Security was right there to give him the assistance he needed.”

Shirley advises anyone considering a move to a community like Seabrook to realize, “You never know what the next day is going to bring, so if you have an opportunity to move into a place you like, that opportunity may not be there later when you’re ready. And if you don’t think you need help now, you never know when you’re going to need help. We could have still been in Wappingers and fallen and not had immediate help.”

The bottom line? “You might as well make a home when you can still feel comfortable and can enjoy all there is to offer.”

While they are capable of doing lawn and home maintenance, Ray smiles when the lawn mower goes by his apartment. “It’s a relief. It really is,” says Shirley.