By Rich Fernsler
Long before turning 40, both my wife and I knew we would eventually choose to live in a life care retirement community, based primarily on the very different life experiences our parents had during their retirements.
Our principal reason then was to guarantee good medical care as we aged, independent of our children and our functionality. However, having now lived in such a community, Galloway Ridge in Pittsboro, N.C., for nearly three years, we have learned of many other equally important reasons for choosing to retire in a quality life care community, and every day we are grateful that these communities exist and that we have the resources to live in one. Since moving here, we have never once regretted leaving our old life behind.
As already stated, health care is one of the most important considerations in retirement. In life care communities like ours this care extends from residential living to assisted living to nursing care, with no additional cost other than paying for extra meals as needed. As a result, our medical path is now as secure as we can make it, which benefits not only us but also our children. Our community is unusual in that it has two independent, on-site medical facilities offering a wide choice of physicians and health care services.
An equally important benefit is the rich social life obtained through sharing meals and activities with fellow residents. Residents in our community come from all parts of the country and world and are highly accomplished individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
Community dining is of course important in itself, and our community offers three dining venues with different menus covering 20 or more ever-changing choices for dinner. Plans here cover all meals or no meals, as desired, with the monthly bill adjusted accordingly.
The educational and entertainment activities offered are another important benefit, and our community presently provides four different movies per week (either in our community theater or streamed to our homes), in-house courses, lectures by outside speakers, concerts, and trips to museums, local sporting events, plays, concerts, restaurants, and shopping.
Another benefit common to most life care communities is a swimming pool and a physical training room with a workout advisor. Again, our community is somewhat unique in that the gym is open to the public and thus able to offer a salt-water pool, a hot tub, an indoor track, seven trainers, and a plethora of workout devices and courses.
Not all features offered by retirement communities are equally important to all residents, and some features deemed important initially may become less important over time. For example, my wife and I originally thought a nearby university or college would be essential, but in practice our life here is so rich that we rarely make use of the several nearby schools, other than for occasional concerts and sporting events.
However, we also wanted to live within walking distance of a multi-aged community, and in fact we now walk several times a week to a village less than a mile away. There we enjoy a cup of coffee or a pizza and beer (often with free music), or we just visit the cows, goats, chickens and donkeys in the surrounding fields.
My wife and I joined our community at the relatively young ages of 67 and 70, respectively, and we would do so again without hesitation.
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About Rich Fernsler
Rich Fernsler is a physicist who spent his entire career at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.
After graduating from the University of Maryland with a Ph.D. in plasma physics in 1976, Rich Fernsler spent his entire career at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. Six months after retiring at age 67, Rich returned as a rehired government annuitant for two years, and after that he continued as a part-time consultant for another four years. He still occasionally consults today, although now on an informal basis only.
Rich, his wife, Christine, and their dog Murray live at Galloway Ridge in Pittsboro, N.C., where they enjoy many outdoor activities. The two humans volunteer on several Galloway Ridge committees.