We know that downsizing and making the move to senior living is already a daunting task. But, imagine how much more overwhelming the experience is for couples with twice the belongings, and twice the collections and memories.
We spoke with Holiday Retirement, who shared a story with us about a senior couple — married for 65 years — that recently made the the move to independent retirement living. Learn more about their experiences and advice to other couples considering a move.
Nick and Dottie are residents at Pinecrest Retirement Community in Hickory, North Carolina, who recently made the move to senior living and shared their story with Holiday Retirement. Learn more from their firsthand accounts of the experience.
Holiday Retirement (HR): How long have you been married?
Nick (N): 65 years! We were married on September 17, 1949.
HR: See, Dottie! He remembers!
Dottie (D): He always remembers.
HR: Why did you decide to move?
N: We’ve admired it several times when we moved into this area, and we thought, “Well gosh, if we ever did need it, it would certainly seem to fit our lifestyle.”
D: Every time we drove by, I thought to myself, “Isn’t that a beautiful home?”
N: That’s true, and we were able to make some comparisons. We looked at other communities in our area, and we thought Pinecrest was the best in our town. For us, anyway.
HR: What was the hardest thing about transitioning from home ownership?
D: Definitely trying to think of what to do with all the mementos we had from our travels. Where were we gonna put it? We didn’t need it anymore.
HR: What did you do with most of your things? Donate them? Give them away?
D: We’re lucky enough to have three sons, so we divided a lot of it up between them and their families, but we did donate quite a bit.
N: …We gave away a lot of stuff that we should have kept! Ah well, too late now.
HR: Oh no! Well, do you have what you need now, at least?
D: Oh, yes! We think we have a lovely apartment. We’ve got it situated and decorated to our taste now. We’ve very much at home. We really don’t miss our things.
N: We have a two bedroom apartment. Ours is a little bit of an odd shape, it’s on the corner of the building, so it comes to a right angle. We’ve got it set up just right now, though.
HR: Glad to hear it! What is your favorite thing about living in an independent retirement community?
D: We just feel like we’re living the life of luxury here. We don’t have any responsibility of getting our meals ready, our cleaning done, anything like that — everything is given to us here. Everyone is so accommodating!
N: The staff, managers, maintenance, enrichment coordinator and everyone is personal and friendly. They get things done. Everybody is willing to help. We residents help each other a lot, too.
D: That’s true, we both have difficulty walking. We are able to handle ourselves pretty well, but any time we need help there is someone to pitch in. When we go into the dining room, people are willing to help move chairs, help us get to our table; there’s always someone there to help us, which is nice.
HR: What is your favorite community activity?
N: Well, we spend a lot of time just Dottie and me. We play games together and enjoy each other, but I really like to play bingo and Dottie enjoys entertainment, you know, the performers. Every week we have something. We have a great enrichment coordinator — she gets great acts to come in!
D: I do love that. They play the kind of music we like. I also really enjoy going down into our atrium and sitting and visiting with our neighbors.
HR: If you could give one piece of advice to another couple considering independent retirement living, what would it be?
N: We feel very comfortable and safe living here. Our basic needs are all met. Everything is provided for us, and we don’t have to worry about anything like driving or cleaning — it’s all taken care of. That’s the name of the game. Everything we want is right here.
Do you know a couple, or are you a couple that made the move to senior living? What was the experience like? Share your story and tips for other couples making the move in the comments below.