It has been a trying year for nearly everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought anxiety, loneliness, and sorrow, yet we’ve also seen countless examples of people lifting each other up and embracing (figuratively) what truly matters most in life. With this in mind, and as we celebrate Thanksgiving, I asked residents of several continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs, or life plan communities) across the country to share their thoughts about what they are grateful for. I hope their responses will warm your heart as much as they did mine.


“At this time of thanksgiving, we are very pleased that we have come to Searstone. This community is very open, very friendly, and as safe a place as we can be in this time of pandemic. We are grateful for Dr. Ron Wilder’s honest and thorough updates on the latest information about COVID every week, which has helped us and our family stay safe. We are also grateful for the many researchers and clinicians who have so quickly prepared vaccines that offer hope for a better situation in the next year. And we are thankful for all of our extended families, especially Betty’s mother, who is celebrating her 101st birthday the day before Thanksgiving.”

— Jerry and Betty
Searstone Retirement Community, Cary, North Carolina


“Living in the midst of this pandemic is a sharp reminder that we made the right decision to join the Crosslands community. We have been supported and protected beyond our greatest expectations. The Crosslands leadership has responded with impressive expertise and full transparency. The Center where we usually dine is closed and now daily we receive a delicious meal delivered to our door. Our health center is open for phone calls and telemedicine as needed, and required prescriptions are delivered to us. Although physically distanced from others, we remain connected through administrative, educational, and social Zoom opportunities. We are especially appreciative of the ways Crosslands supports and protects our staff and the ways staff continue to provide needed services to residents.  Meanwhile, we are surrounded by beauty and walk our extensive campus trails wearing masks and waving to friends from a distance. We look forward to a return to whatever the “new normal” will look like, but between now and then, we enjoy a peaceful, protected, connected life in this special community that we happily call home.”

— Carolyn and Larry
Kendal-Crosslands Communities, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania


“… I am grateful for a community that can work together for our common welfare in a world that is so divisive and self-interested.” — Elizabeth

“We are so grateful for all of the love and support that we have gotten from staff and residents. ‘Thank you’ just doesn’t begin to cover how thankful we are.” — Lynn and Dan

“We are grateful to be safe, alive, well, well-fed, and well-taken-care-of!” — Robert and Ted

— Quotes from residents of Kendal at Oberlin, Oberlin, Ohio


“In this time of turmoil and confusion, I’m most grateful to be living at Heron’s Key. We have food delivery from our own restaurant, personal shoppers, transportation when needed, but most importantly, a COVID-free environment. We are a community that strives for safety and caring for our fellow members.”

— Linnea
Heron’s Key, Gig Harbor, Washington


“Having just moved into our independent living apartment in August, my husband and I are thankful for so many new blessings this year: new friends, a comfortable home, a variety of activities, and a staff that works tirelessly to ensure that we are kept safe, well-fed, and healthy. We’re thankful every day that we are part of this community.”

— Jean
Concordia Life Plan Community, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


“We are thankful for the hard-working and dedicated staff who go out of their way to provide for all our needs to ensure that we are kept safe from COVID exposure.” — Bob and Kathleen

“I am grateful to reside at Cypress Glen, a full-service retirement community. I will soon reach my seventh year residing in this community. I am thankful for the friends I have made, the care that I receive, the attention I get from staff and administration, and the genuine feeling of safety and security that I have here during this pandemic.” — Keith

“Thanksgiving in 2020 is different. I miss my family, but I live at Cypress Glen, and the staff here has adjusted to provide for all our needs during this pandemic. I am thankful for so much — problems are solved by submitting a work order; I can enjoy chapel, activities, musical programs, exercise classes, meetings, etc. on in-house TV in my apartment; meet with small groups, enjoy planned socials, and walk outdoors with mask and practicing distancing; use pool, beauty salon and exercise gym with the same restrictions. Our dining room is closed, but meals are delivered to my apartment by smiling staff. Shopping is done for me. The clinic includes therapy, lab ,and x-ray services, and medical trips are provided if needed. I’ve been taught to Zoom with my family. I am content. I GIVE THANKS!” — Doris

“We are grateful for the people who continually deliver our meals with smiling faces, and for management, which strives so hard to keep us safe. There is an inward feeling of satisfaction knowing that the people really care about you.” — Len and Sharon

“At this particular time, when COVID-19, is the norm of the day and has been front and center for the last eight months, I am most grateful to be living in a community whose real, everyday priority is keeping residents safe in a very unsafe world. Unusual circumstances and wide-ranging changes in organization and service provision have not changed the mood or tenor of our staff. They have accepted and executed tasks that are far removed from their job descriptions; have continued to provide services that are now more demanding and complicated to carry out. Every day I am the recipient of heroic acts of kindness by people who put their personal interests and concerns aside to focus on my well-being. For all of this, I am deeply grateful.” — Barbara

— Quotes from residents of Cypress Glen Retirement Community, Greenville, North Carolina


“I could have been holed up in my former house, having to shop for all my food, cook every meal, and not seeing a soul for days. But I am here, three years hence, passing friends at a distance in the hallways, having services and meals provided at my beck and call. I can view the beautiful buildings of Buffalo through my floor-to-ceiling windows, from my sixth-floor perch. Every night, I watch TV with new and improved programming—including theater, Zoom discussions, and new engaging serials. It’s easy to binge and to enter other worlds from within my pandemically restricted environment.”

— Judith
Canterbury Woods Gates Circle, Buffalo, New York 


“So thankful I got moved to Capital Manor just before the COVID-19 shutdown occurred. So thankful I got to bring my little 8-pound wonder dog with me to Capital Manor. So thankful for the friendly, loving, smiling, helpful staff at the Manor. So thankful for all my new neighbors who are always friendly, but like me, waiting for the time we can party as an entire group. I am so thankful for my new living style that provides help when needed, daily meals, security. I am thankful.”

— Gerry
Capital Manor, Salem, Oregon


“Everyone is pitching in to help— the Life Enrichment Team is grocery shopping for residents, the dining room servers are delivering packages, the restaurants’ chefs are cooking their full menus for takeout and delivery; even the CEO has been at the front gate taking people’s temperatures. With the pandemic, life looks different these days. Beatitudes Campus is helping us make the most of it.” — Robert and Cynthia

“I didn’t want my family worrying about what to do with me if something happened. This rings true now more than ever with the attention we have all received during the pandemic. I feel so humbled to be served in the way that I have through this pandemic. Where others have to take risks, we’re cocooned in comfort and safety.” — Anita

“There’s nowhere we’d rather be than right here, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. We feel safer and more secure at Beatitudes. The staff has worked so hard to keep life fun and engaging as we stay home to stay safe.” — Dan and Marge

— Quotes from residents of Beatitudes Campus, Phoenix, Arizona


“First and foremost, I am grateful that my path led me to Concordia. So grateful for the quality people at Concordia to help me get relocated, as well as outside professionals to help lead me through all the activities required to relocate. So glad to be in a community environment during the pandemic as opposed to being by myself in a house. Also, so grateful for the handling of the COVID-19 situation by the management of Concordia with the health of the residents being top priority. The services provided by staff, particularly food service, has been super.”

— Bill
Concordia Life Plan Community, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


Abundant gratitude

I’m always astounded by the strength, courage, and resiliency of the human spirit. Thanksgiving is going to look different for many people this year, with smaller gatherings or even Zoom calls during dinner, yet I am truly inspired by these sentiments of gratitude from CCRC residents across our nation. Whether you are celebrating in-person or virtually, I hope you and your loved ones enjoy a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

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