Q: How long have you lived in this community?
A: Seven years total. I lived in my own home in a condo, which is part of the Brookdale community, for the first six years, and decided to move into an apartment one year ago. And that proved to be a very good choice.
What do you love most about your community?
That is a hard one. There are so many reasons. The sense of community, friends, activities, travel — there is always something to do, or just stay home and relax.
What features helped you determine your community was right for you?
Water aerobics in our pool was a big draw, as well as the fitness classes at first, and then iPad classes became available to us and opened a whole new opportunity. It was not long until Joe Green, our community sales manager, introduced the idea of a weekly news program. It has become a huge hit both here and on the internet. It became a way for residents and families to watch what we were doing.
What was most difficult about selecting a senior living community?
Determining the level of care. Here at Brookdale, besides the choice of condo, which is fully Independent Living, or a cottage, which is semi-independent, then there are apartments in the main building with meals, housekeeping, a watchful eye and help when necessary. That’s Assisted Living. Then there are adjacent facilities if more care is available. Knowing these different levels are available is very comforting.
Do you participate in activities, outings or clubs at your community? If so, which ones?
Oh, yes! All of the above. I participate in several fitness classes, yoga, seated exercises, kickball, water aerobics and a number of other activities that are offered, all of which are very well attended. We have many opportunities for outings, as well as overnight trips, offered several times each year. And we have even had cruises! We went to Alaska one year, then Hawaii, Panama and Central America, and now I’m looking forward to three days in New York and a cruise to see the fall colors in New England and on to Nova Scotia.
What would you tell someone considering your community — or moving to a senior living community in general?
A new resident said she checked out the dining room to hear the conversation level. When she came here she heard talking and laughter and knew she had found the right place for herself. She moved in and immediately got involved in the many activities and is very happy with her choice, too. What great advice!
What should they know before making a decision?
Cost. It sounds expensive, and it is, but when you calculate all that is covered and the feeling of security, I find it acceptable. Look at the accommodations carefully, check the cleanliness and see the attitude of the staff. In this case, they all passed with flying colors.
What have you learned about yourself since moving to your community?
I came here as someone who was unsure of myself, even though my life experience had been as a primary school teacher, followed by 30-plus years as a farmer’s wife. With the many opportunities, I feel I’ve broken out of my shell, as have many of my friends.
Do you have any additional advice, words of wisdom or thoughts you’d like to share?
I chose to just say ‘yes’ to most things, even if they are out of my comfort zone. Most times I have been pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
What kinds of technology do you use (iPad®, smartphone, smart TV, etc.) in your daily life? What about social media websites or apps?
I make extensive use of my iPad, thanks to the classes offered here. My computer died, so it has taken on that role as well. I use it in so many ways, like reading the news. I’m visually challenged, and the size of the type is adjustable. Facebook has been nice, so I can see what the family is up to, and there are many apps to use.
What would you tell other seniors who may be interested in learning about technology, such as social media or iPads?
The iPad has opened up a whole new world for me! And, of course, there are games of all kinds. I particularly like Tetris™. I find it fascinating, and I’ve gotten pretty good at it, if I may brag.
What are your thoughts about building or maintaining relationships through technology?
It is just one more way to reach out. I have been able to reconnect with old friends and former students. Such fun.
What advice could you offer other seniors about staying connected and finding friends?
Make an effort to learn names and greet everyone by name. I know it can be a challenge, and if you just can’t remember, ask again. They will understand, because we are all in the same boat. Don’t be afraid to try new things. You will find people are very supportive. I have found everyone is friendly if I am friendly to them.
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