By Sue Blaustein
Those of us currently living in a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) would agree that researching retirement living options required our analytical thinking and emotional energy for multiple years.
My husband and I invested four years in the process. Our decision to become part of a CCRC was particularly challenging because there were five reasonable choices within 15 miles from our Chapel Hill, N.C., home of 30 years. They all featured some version of the important amenities and opportunities that attract well-educated retirees to CCRCs in the first place. Making meaningful differentiations got quite confusing at times. Like so many of us, we needed to feel confident that whatever community we chose, it satisfied a wide range of personal, financial and lifestyle parameters.
Then there was the issue of timing our decision and move. When was our “sweet spot” between feeling that we were committing “five years too early” and “five minutes too late”? Remarkably, after all our list-making, conversations, multiple site visits and comparisons, the “moment of truth” appeared loud and clear. Several key factors moved to the forefront when we decided that we wanted to live in Galloway Ridge in Pittsboro, N.C..
Firstly, the community was among the newer ones. Apartment living became an attractive choice for us and the ones we considered were well appointed and convenient to the resources we planned to take advantage of.
Of equal importance was our desire to live in a CCRC that was also integrated into a non-CCRC community of single-family homes, town houses, shops, eateries and extensive green space. We thought quite a bit about this advantage and knew we made a great decision just two days after we moved into our two-bedroom, two-bath apartment. After unpacking several towers of cartons we set out on a leisurely walk along nearby trails. This was followed by lunch at a restaurant in the village and a stroll through the local independent bookstore. This wouldn’t have been possible with the other CCRCs.
Of course, our decision-making reflected more personal “wants” as well. My husband valued the wide assortment of cultural programs and intellectual opportunities that Galloway Ridge offers. This was certainly a draw for me, too, but not as important as the quality of the community’s fitness center. It is a state-of-the-art facility with excellent equipment and class offerings. I especially like the fact that the center’s membership included people from the surrounding county. Just going to dance and stretch classes during our first month led me to new and lasting friendships with people from multiple communities. The fitness centers at most of the other CCRCs had more limited offerings and served only the on-site population.
Cost-inclusive amenities at Galloway Ridge, such as housekeeping, maintenance, transportation, a 24/7 library, concierge desk, and staff support, were compelling factors in our final decision. They only existed in bits and pieces at the other communities.
Finally, we knew that the true Life Care model in our chosen community would give us the peace of mind we sought when we started the decision-making process in the first place.
As I write these comments, we’ve lived our new life in Galloway Ridge for 16 months. Our hopes and expectations for an active, enriched and productive life is on track, and we’re glad we invested the time to make an informed decision.
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