‘Wonderful place to live’

Pioneer resident reflects on 15 years at Linden Ponds

Created date

February 24th, 2020
Barbara Ward (center) was one of the first people to move to Linden Ponds after it opened in 2004. She wears green vest and is standing between two men.

Barbara Ward (center) was one of the first people to move to Linden Ponds after it opened in 2004.

Last fall marked the fifteenth anniversary since Linden Ponds opened its doors. The Erickson Living-managed community marked the milestone on October 14 with a lunch for staff and an anniversary dinner for residents. The celebrations were extra special for the so-called pioneers, who were the first to move to Linden Ponds in 2004, and they were honored during the anniversary party.

“What a wonderful time everyone had celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of Linden Ponds,” says Jim Centola, Linden Ponds’ executive director. “We have many residents and staff who have been here since the community opened, and it has been fun reminiscing over the past 15 years. It has also been an honor watching all the special relationships that have formed between the people who live and work here.”

Among those pioneer residents were Barbara Ward and her husband Robert who moved to Linden Ponds in 2004 when there were fewer than 300 people living on the Hingham, Mass., campus. With a relatively small group of residents at the beginning, the pioneers got to know one another well and formed close bonds.

“We only used about a quarter of the dining room and everybody was new back then,” Barbara says.

Growing strong

Over the years, Linden Ponds has welcomed several hundred more community members, dozens of resident-run clubs and committees, several new residence buildings and amenities, and a number of additional staff members. The pioneer residents have played an important role in creating the warm, welcoming, and vibrant culture that is alive and well at Linden Ponds, and the anniversary party was the perfect time to recognize their special contributions to the community.

“It was lovely,” Barbara says. “There was a picture taken of the people who have been here for 15 years, and they had a reception with wine and cheese and hors d’oeuvres.

An easier lifestyle

The decision to move to Linden Ponds was an easy one for Barbara. Her mother had lived at a retirement community, which gave Barbara and her sister peace of mind knowing that she was in a supportive environment. When it became apparent to Barbara and Robert that their Bridgewater, Mass., house no longer suited their retirement lifestyle, they decided to make the move to Linden Ponds.

“We lived in a big old house, but we were only occupying three rooms and the rest was collecting dust,” Barbara says. “The home repairs were out of control—we would have someone come for a leaky radiator and they’d want to put in a whole new heating system.”

At Linden Ponds, community members enjoy maintenance-free living, giving them more time for the enriching activities they truly enjoy. Barbara has been an active member of the community from the start. For 11 of the 15 years she’s lived at Linden Ponds, she served as chair of the Resident Advisory Council (RAC), an important and influential committee that serves as a liaison between residents and staff. Barbara is proud of the things she achieved during her terms as RAC chair, including getting Linden Ponds declared a voting precinct and spearheading a new walking trail on campus.

Barbara, who came to the United States from Germany in 1948, is also a member of Linden Ponds’ German club. The group is called Der Stammtisch, which loosely translates to “a get-together with the regulars.” The regulars, who are native or fluent German speakers, gather on a regular basis for fun and to keep their German-speaking skills sharp. They also periodically go on German-themed outings, such as Oktoberfest in Boston.

Barbara sums up her lifestyle this way: “Linden Ponds is a wonderful place to live.”