Tom and Bettilyn Bogia had a vision for their retirement and were about to realize it when the pandemic hit. On a Monday in early March 2020, the offer on their house disappeared, and their move to Ann's Choice, the Erickson Senior Living community in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, was put on indefinite hold.
Tom recalls feeling stunned by the sudden turnabout in their plans. “On Saturday we were selecting custom carpet for our new two-bedroom apartment home and ready to settle on the sale of our house. On Monday the state implemented lockdowns, which halted real estate transactions. We couldn't move forward on either end.”
When the state began restoring services in June, the Bogias sold their house, finalized the custom work in their new apartment home, and moved to Ann's Choice in July. Now, six months later, the couple says that moving during the pandemic was an even better decision than they had anticipated.
Says Tom, “We were among the first people to arrive when restrictions lifted. We were extremely pleased with the safety protocols they put in place. They delivered meals, essentials, whatever we needed. The staff did an incredible job keeping everyone safe, connected, and well-cared for.”
Bettilyn adds that Ann's Choice TV, the in-house station, was an excellent source of up-to-the-minute information. “[Executive Director] Chris Donati held weekly televised updates and answered residents' questions. He was completely transparent about why they were implementing certain measures. It was reassuring to know that they were doing everything possible to minimize the impact.”
As pandemic numbers improved and state restrictions eased further, the couple began using the fitness center and carrying out meals from the dining rooms. The connected indoor walkways provided a perfect walking loop during inclement weather.
Tom joined the tennis group, and Bettilyn, a retired librarian, took over operations of the community library, which has more than 4,000 books, movies, audio books, and magazines in its main location; there also are branches in the other two clubhouses. “As you can imagine, I've been very busy,” she laughs.
“One of the main reasons we moved to Ann's Choice now was because we wanted to be young and healthy enough to fully enjoy the active, maintenance-free life,” says Tom. “Although we didn't have full use of the amenities initially, for good reason, we still were able to stay fit, active, and engaged.”
Now, one year after the pandemic began, the Bogias are thrilled to see life gradually return to normal. Ann's Choice has completed its COVID-19 vaccination clinics with 95% percent of its residents receiving both doses. They applaud the efficient way in which the community carried out the inoculation program.
“We have friends in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland who have no idea how to get a vaccine,” notes Tom. “They are on multiple waiting lists and feel so vulnerable. All we had to do is wait for a call. We are unbelievably grateful for how Ann's Choice has handled it.”
“We all know that there are still risks, and the community ensures that we're all doing our part to mitigate them. Everyone wears masks,” adds Bettilyn. “Everything is sanitized. Capacity is limited. They've done a wonderful job of managing the logistics to make health and safety a priority.”
“It is gratifying to see our residents take advantage of our amenities and services, everything from enjoying dinner to getting their COVID-19 vaccinations if they so choose. We continue to hear from residents and family members that this service excellence sets Ann's Choice apart,” said Director of Sales Deborah Olcese.
The couple feel that their quality of life at Ann's Choice is exemplary for many reasons besides the pandemic protocols. “If I ever question the decision,” chuckles Bettilyn, “I just say ‘weeds.' I hated gardening but did it because it had to be done. And the snow…we would have been shoveling 450 feet of sidewalk in front of our house plus our driveway all winter. I feel so freed not worrying about any of that.”
Adds Tom, “We had an issue with our kitchen drain one morning. We called, and someone arrived in 10 minutes to fix it. It took all the stress out of the situation.”
The Bogias agree that the best part of their life at Ann's Choice is the people. “Everyone is so warm and friendly,” notes Tom. “You're welcomed, and there's plenty of help if you need it. We have more contact with people here than we would have at our house. It was absolutely the right move.”
Comfort, quality care, and community are just a few of the hallmarks that make Ann's Choice the perfect independent living community (Continuing Care Retirement Community) for seniors. Request a brochure or schedule an appointment to take a closer look at Ann's Choice and the beautiful, maintenance-free apartment homes.