For Jo Leir and Kay Quam, the convenient, central location of Ashby Ponds, an Erickson Senior Living community in Ashburn, Va., was a deciding factor in their search for the perfect retirement community.
"We considered eight or ten senior living communities in the metro area," says Jo. "Ultimately, our decision to move to Ashby Ponds was based on the community's accessibility to Washington, D.C., and the activities that we enjoy."
The couple was pleased to learn that social events and high-quality amenities could be found right on campus too.
"We were impressed with the wide range of amenities on-site, including fitness and aquatics centers, restaurants, and a medical center," says Kay. "And because we're familiar with the local area, we knew that we would be able to balance our activities on and off campus."
Since moving to Ashby Ponds in October 2019 from Reston, Va., Jo and Kay have nurtured their passions for travel, teaching, volunteering, and socializing, thanks to the community's location and engaging lifestyle.
Giving back to neighbors
It didn't take long for the women to immerse themselves in life at the community.
Jo, a retired teacher, has taught student education classes at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum and an iPhone photography class at the Reston Community Center.
"Teaching is in my blood," she says. "When I moved here, I began teaching a similar class."
Jo placed a notice in the Purple Paper, Ashby Ponds' community newsletter, to offer her neighbors assistance with their Apple products, including Apple Watches, iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers. "I hear from neighbors every week and tease that my name should be iJo!" she says.
In addition to providing technology assistance to Ashby Ponds' low vision group, Jo continues to teach her iPhone photography classes in Reston.
"I love being able to teach, both at Ashby Ponds and off campus," she says. "If I see a need, I will volunteer. I really enjoy meeting people that way."
So much to do
On campus, Jo also participates in the Let's Talk Photography discussion group, shows her work in campuswide photography exhibits, belongs to the diversity book club, and attends group exercise classes.
Keeping her own full calendar, Kay participates in group fitness classes, plays bocce, and hosts regular happy hours for their neighbors on the third floor of Belmont Commons.
"I thought that gathering together in our hallway was a great way to get to know everyone better," she says. "As we've gotten closer, we've organized other activities together, including a summer cookout, local winery outings, and occasional dinners."
Kay, the social butterfly, spread her wings further by organizing a "stack party," inviting people from all five floors of their residence building.
"We all had a good time getting to know our 'vertical' neighbors," she says, with a laugh. "It's important to know who lives above and below you too. We are all here to help each other, and we reaffirm that often."
Off campus, Kay volunteers her time with EcoAgriculture Partners, an international nonprofit, and the INOVA Health System, a not-for-profit health organization based in Falls Church, Va.
As season ticket holders at the National Symphony Orchestra, Jo and Kay also regularly attend Met Opera Live, a series of live opera performances transmitted via satellite from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City at local theaters. They also visit other Washington, D.C., venues for events and exhibits.
While nothing beats the convenience of on-campus and local happenings, the couple loves planning national and international trips.
"We typically design the trips ourselves," says Kay. "We look for guides who will provide us with the education and experience we are looking for. For instance, on our trip to Thailand, we stopped at a rice plant and learned how rice is processed. It was enriching and exciting."
Since moving to Ashby Ponds, they've traveled to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, as well as Greece, Canada, Mexico, Norway, Botswana, Italy, and Japan.
"We are so fortunate to live at Ashby Ponds, where it is easy to go off and explore new places, learn new things," says Jo. "For us, it is not just about vacationing. We love learning about the culture, food, art, music, and history of our destination."
Erickson Senior Living communities like Ashby Ponds are redefining retirement living by offering residents an unparalleled lifestyle that combines convenience, opportunity, and the joy of being a part of something greater.
"We are very happy with our decision to move to Ashby Ponds," says Jo. "You can be as involved as you want to be. We appreciate the many opportunities to engage in all the activities we enjoy."
Invest in your future self at Ashby Ponds. From top-notch amenities to affordable, maintenance-free apartment homes, you are sure to live your retirement to the fullest. Request more information today!