How to Make Your Apartment Feel Like Home, According to Brookdale Residents

Ken has lived at Brookdale Clinton for a little more than two years, and he joked with us that it was either “come to Brookdale or go to jail.” Maureen has called Brookdale Manlius home for about five years, and Nancy moved in to the same community two-and-a-half years ago. They all took different paths on their journey to Brookdale, and each has some great guidance for future residents.

What’s something you wish you had brought to your new apartment?

Ken: “Extra clothes.”  

Maureen: “A candy dish. [laughs] It’s a great form of bribery, and I fill it with wrapped candy like chocolate kisses. I also wish I’d brought a cassette deck to listen to books on tape.”

Nancy: “Remember to pack for the different seasons. I came in the summer time, but when fall started, I needed more cold weather clothes.”

What’s something you’re glad you brought with you?

Ken: “My wife made almost all the decisions on what we were going to bring like the furniture, big screen TV, [laughs] and me. I’m glad I brought my clothes.”

Maureen: “We had crochet blankets at home that a friend of my husband made for us. I brought one of them with me, so there’s a piece of my house here with me.”

What is something you brought that you didn’t need?

Maureen: “My sewing machine.”

Ken: “I didn’t bring a lot of stuff. We donated a lot of our stuff before we moved. But I do have some books that I haven’t read yet.”

What is your most favorite thing in your apartment?

Ken: “My books. Whoever taught me how to read did me a big favor. It’s also great when Bonnie and her Band of Angels [a home care agency that operates within the community] has someone who stops in to see me.”

Maureen: “My table and antique chairs. I brought them from home.”

Nancy: “I like having my table accessible. I use it as a desk with my iPad®, and if somebody comes to visit we can sit at the table. It’s multi-purpose.”

We asked Nancy what her favorite app was on her iPad and she replied, “Facebook®. Every Thursday night I have a video chat with eight of my high school friends from 55 years ago. They’re all over the East Coast. We all dial in and catch up on stupid stuff, but it’s fun.”

What is some advice you’d give your former self about moving to Brookdale?

Ken: “Get in as quick as you can. Don’t try to bring too much stuff. It just adds clutter to your apartment.”

Maureen: “Go to as many classes as possible. You’ll meet more people and discover things you didn’t know about yourself. I never liked craft projects, and now that’s all I’m doing. I do a lot of coloring and fabric coloring, and I’ve gotten into painting stained glass. We also have a lot of fun Wii™ Bowling.”

Nancy: “Be aware you’re moving into a place that’s different than you’re used to. There will be new noises that you wouldn’t hear in your house. There are going to be noises in the hallway, doors opening, and things like that. Sometimes you’ll hear good gossip. [laughs] But I don’t tell. I hold that close to my heart.”

What made you feel welcome when you first moved in?

Ken: “Everyone was very welcoming. My wife and I didn’t feel we were treated as strangers. It’s a really pleasant place. We were both very satisfied that we came here.”

Maureen: “I enjoyed my dining room time. I got to meet quite a few new people. I just went to a table filled with people who looked friendly and asked if it was OK if I joined them. I’m looking forward to going back to the dining room after COVID-19. That’s where you really hear the gossip [laughs].”

Nancy: “The people were all very nice. Trying a new activity was great — especially as a way to meet new people. Getting to interact with friends in the dining room was also a great way to feel welcomed.”

What are some parting words of wisdom for future neighbors?

Maureen: “Go to the events where you can learn something new.”

Nancy: “Get involved in things you like to do. Try an exercise class, to go to the library or get outside for a little while.”

Ken: “I think it’s a great thing that there are places like this. I wish I’d moved sooner. Also, have some interesting things to do and have things to entertain yourself instead of expecting people to entertain you. Bring some of the things you enjoy doing. You can’t just watch TV all day.”

iPad is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc. Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc. Wii is a trademark of Nintendo Co., Ltd.



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