Recently the CEO of Vantage House decided it would be good for the Board to hear directly from residents about how they made the decision to move here and their experiences since doing so. For some unknown reason, I was picked to be the first “volunteer.”
Here’s, in part, of what I said:
…My wife, Marcia, and I moved to Vantage House late last June. To our adult daughters, it seemed like a rash decision. And in some ways, it was.
We decided to investigate Vantage House one spring-like day the prior February, while on a walk around Lake Kittamaqundi. Less than five months later, we had sold the house we had built ten years earlier, downsized and moved in to a one-bedroom unit here awaiting the availability of a two-bedroom unit. It gave our daughters whiplash. And for us, it was some time until our respective stomachs caught-up with our brains’ decision.
But it really wasn’t a quick decision. We had watched the positive experiences of Marcia’s parents living in a Continuing Care Community (Meno Haven, in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania) for about 20 years. About five years ago, we investigated (at Marcia’s suggestion) continuing care communities in New Hampshire where my older daughter and her family lives. We spent a December week exploring five or six communities and learning about the concept of Continuing Care Communities. Do you know how cold it gets in New Hampshire in December?
When we built our house, it was to be a retirement home. But as Marcia retired in 2010 and I got closer to retirement in 2016, we realized that:
- The remote location of the house was not conducive to having a post-employment community
- In my declining years, it didn’t seem prudent for me to be climbing ladders, shoveling a quarter-mile drive and being the care-taker for building and grounds.
Hence the “snap decision” a year ago in February.
The transition to Vantage House and our living here have both exceeded anything we expected. We were pleasantly surprised by some things we had not counted on.
· We had never asked and didn’t know about the weekly housing-keeping provided each week. How cool.
· We couldn’t anticipate the service orientated – culture of the staff. They really care about the residents and (being a former HR manager) I can see that employee selection and orientation and the workplace culture perpetuate that sense of care and service.
· We didn’t anticipate the benefit the in-house fitness staff.
Marcia began attending fitness classes as soon as we moved in, but I didn’t begin attending until I retired in December, choosing instead to take advantage of the fitness facility in the mornings before work. Once I retired, I decided to join Marcia in an 8:00 AM boot camp workout conducted by fitness staff. I thought I’d go to boot camp, work out with some of my more mature friends and then go to the fitness center for a real workout. Instead, after boot camp, I went for a shower and a nap. It seems the exercises are adapted to what you can do and one can do a little more at 66 than his 90-something-year-old classmates, for example.
Finally, and most importantly, Vantage House gives us the community we need in our post-employment years. The size of the community is just right and the people familiar. Before building our house in Baltimore County, we had lived in Columbia for 30 years and raised our family here. There’s something about Columbia and the values of the people here that resonates with us unlike any other place we know. Vantage House is microcosm of Columbia – the people, the values and the community.
So, we feel we made the right decision to come here and to come here now. We know we’ve move here on the early end of the age curve, but we feel that, if we’re lucky, we’ll catch up to everyone. Meanwhile, we hope to enjoy many more years living here in this vibrant and caring community.
While I’m still getting used to the retirement thing, having to articulate this helps me down the path. Who knew that would be a benefit of this assignment.