Should I Move Into a Retirement Community

Paul’s Dilemma

There was no question that Paul loved the home in which he and his wife, Janet, had raised their three children. Set on a quiet cul-de-sac, the two-story colonial on a half-acre held nearly a lifetime of memories.

But with Janet gone nearly three years now and the kids scattered in different states, the house was starting to feel like more of a burden than a blessing.

But with Janet gone nearly three years now and the kids scattered in different states, the house was starting to feel like more of a burden than a blessing.


Even the neighborhood seemed to be changing. The nearby homes of old friends Paul and Janet had known for decades were occupied by unfamiliar families now, and the neighborhood block parties were a thing of the past.

Paul has noticed, too, that even with hired help for grass moving, tree trimming, snow shoveling, and house cleaning, daily chores, from grocery shopping to laundry to car maintenance seem like a real grind—even overwhelming at times. But mostly, Paul has noticed that he often feels lonely.

Asking the Question

For the past few months, Paul has been saving the post cards he gets in the mail from retirement communities. He has been invited to all number of events, luncheons, lectures, and tours. Sometimes in the evenings, he re-reads the post cards, wondering what life would be like in a different setting. He wonders if selling the family home would upset his children and disrespect Janet’s memory. But then he thinks of the big house, the upkeep, the isolating winters and long evenings. And the question he keeps coming back to is this: Should I move into a retirement community?

Finding Connections

For the first year or so after Janet passed away, Paul stayed in touch with several longtime friends, including Al, with whom he had worked at the post office for nearly 40 years. When Al passed away last year, Paul felt the loss keenly because he and Al were league bowlers together for years. Dom and Millie, friends Paul met through bowling when the league was still active, stayed in touch with Paul and the three meet occasionally for lunch.

One afternoon, Dom called Paul and asked if he would like to join him and Millie for a special New Friends luncheon in the dining room of their Life Plan community. As new residents, they were still getting to know the community, and thought Paul might enjoy an afternoon out.

Revisiting the Post Cards
After agreeing to meet Dom and Millie, Paul looked through his stack of post cards, and pulled the one from their new community. He read about restaurant-style dining, trips to nearby attractions, an indoor pool, a woodworking shop, and dance classes. They even have a small bowling alley on campus, he noted. Looks like maintenance is included, inside and out. He saw that the community has cottages, which is what Dom told him he and Millie have, and apartments, which Paul figured would be plenty big enough for him. Paul liked the pictures of the apartments, clean and new, especially the ones with patios that looked out over the lake and flowerbeds.

Setting the post card down, he again asked himself the question—a little differently this time: Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if I moved into a retirement community?

“I’m Having a Great Time”
Dom hadn’t mentioned the comedian when he told Paul about the New Friends luncheon, wanting it to be a fun surprise.

Paul hadn’t realized how long it had been since he’d laughed, really and truly laughed out loud—he even found himself wiping his eyes at one point he was laughing so hard.

Then came lunch with table service, cloth linens, and delicious food—plus dessert. After the servers cleared, everyone played an ice-breaker game that led to more laughter. There was even a gift-basket drawing and table centerpiece giveaway, with Millie taking a beautiful floral arrangement back to the cottage.

At one point during lunch, Dom turned to Paul, and asked if he were enjoying himself. Paul smiled, saying, “Thanks for this, friend. I’m having a great time.”

A Decision is Made

That evening, Paul asked his oldest son to organize a Zoom call so he could talk about his future with his children.

Paul was surprised to find that his children were relieved with his decision, and not at all resentful when he said he wanted to meet with a realtor about selling the family home. “Dad,” said his daughter, “we just want you to be happy and healthy. It’s what Mom would want, too.” Paul smiled and said, “I’m glad I’ve decided to move into a retirement community.”

At The Heritage of Green Hills, behind our doors you’ll find a community buzzing with activity. In fact, nearly 90 percent of residents are involved in some kind of physical activity, thanks to our community-wide wellness program, Well by DesignSM. We work with each resident to determine interests, hobbies and goals they’d like to pursue, and then create customized plans to help encourage a well-rounded and engaging life. The bottom line is, we want residents to stay independent longer. And the best way to do that is by living well.

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