By Ann Burnside Love
One might have thought that I, of all people, would not have hesitated when it was time to move into a retirement community. As the founder of a senior living marketing company, I’d visited scores of communities, led the planning and fulfillment of their marketing needs, and along the way written tens of thousands of words about them.
So I knew very well how to recognize when it was decision-making time for myself. That didn’t mean I would decide, of course. (“I’m not ready yet!”) Oh yes, I knew the decision-making and moving drills very well — and how to advise others!
However, my whole background had made me, shall we say, very independent. Long, long ago, and far, far away — I was suddenly a physician’s young widow with four small children living out in the Maryland countryside. As an only child, I, with the help of my kids, was about to be responsible for a growing number of aging relatives … in the days when “the dreaded nursing home” was the only alternative to home care. Because I needed to remain available at home for my family, I used my experience and reputation as a magazine and newspaper writer to start an advertising business in our basement.
Love & Company evolved into a leading national agency devoted to senior marketing. My son, who joined the business early “in order to put a solid base underneath the company so the creative people could create,” is our president — and a highly regarded leader in our field. I became chair of the board, and had been semi-retired long enough to travel widely.
Then a slew of “predictable breaks in health at that age” began catching up with me, including several of the major ones. I spent months, often, in outpatient rehab and owe my present good health to many skilled physicians and therapists.
Finally I recognized it was time. I had two lovely and very different communities to choose between in our area. One, I had paced the property with the builder while it was still in the planning stage, and we had worked on their marketing from groundbreaking to full occupancy. The second, I had served on its board of directors. Both had lovely campuses, and both offered a full continuum of care (independent living, assisted living, and various levels of nursing care).
The choice became obvious: Location, location, location. I would be only 10 minutes from two of my children, the same from our company offices, the hospital and our city’s concentration of doctors.
I decided, acted, and here I am, comfortable, happy, safe, with a great view, lots of new and older friends, and very busy. Vanessa, the cat, likes it, too!
With all this experience, I am writing this blog to help you — retirees who need or wish to simplify your lives or have already done so — and your adult children. We’ll discuss making decisions, selecting the right community and new home for you, the many aspects of shedding and moving, getting settled, making new friends, and choosing from a plethora of activities and opportunities to expand your new lifestyle, among a variety of topics related to retirement living.
Let’s start the conversation!