My parents have moved through three or four retirement periods. At any given time, it seemed like one of them had a retirement job of some type, and my father, until a couple of years ago, accepted regular “fill-in” church assignments, helping out a church for a week or two here and there. They have always had big projects going — church, political, community.
Because they moved more than a few times throughout their adult lives — especially during times when they ministered at a church, my parents were used to reorganizing possessions, paring down, and making moves. So when mom and dad purchased a house and settled in the Shenandoah Valley late in retirement, very little changed as they continued to live their lives independently and actively.
The two of them were happy in their little house, but over seven or eight years they found themselves tiring of the extra tasks that are required of homeowners. Snow meant shoveling, spring meant planting and cleaning up, and summer weeding and mowing the lawn. And fall meant leaves. The leaves looked gorgeous when we took autumn drives through the Shenandoah Valley, but they were onerous on the ground around their house. There was also home maintenance — a repair here and there, some expected, some not. Finally it all got to be too tiring.
So about five years ago my parents began to think about a retirement community. They offered two specific reasons. They wanted to simplify life and they wanted to avoid putting me, their adult child, in a position to have to make a decision for them.
There were several retirement communities in and around their town, all with views of the mountains, and all with at least a bit of church or college affiliation, characteristics which were significant for them. My parents wanted three tiers of care — independent, assisted, and nursing — but they also wanted a place that would let them hire a caregiver and remain in their small retirement apartment if they desired.
They paid the deposit, put themselves on a waiting list and waited — a several year wait that was longer than they expected.
A number of times a unit came up, but they did not make the move. Sometimes there was a family issue, but more often they were involved with activities that consumed all of their time so they could not focus on moving. A couple of times they simply disliked the unit that was available. But one day the moons were aligned, a desirable unit presented itself, and it felt like the right time.
So within a few weeks, the wheels of relocation and change turned. Papers were signed. The unit was inspected and carpets, paint, and a few other fixtures were selected. Then they moved in.
There were anxieties, about downsizing especially, which I’ll write about in another next post. But my parents had done their homework and were comfortable with their choices. They are also intrigued by the green housing project initiative that their new retirement community is developing, a living option they might make use of in the future,
They loved their new home and live full and rich lives in the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. They have not looked back.