Community members enjoy active and engaged lifestyle at Peabody community
Peabody, Mass. – When Stan and Judy Stephenson began to consider potential living arrangements for their retirement years, they realized they couldn't overlook the value of socialization.
The couple explored retirement communities across New Hampshire and Massachusetts, including Brooksby Village, a senior living community developed and managed by Erickson Living.
"We liked the atmosphere at Brooksby Village," says Judy, a retired choral director and secondary music education teacher. "It's nice to have a warm feeling when you drive onto a property."
Stan and Judy also appreciated Brooksby Village's abundant opportunities for social interaction, including dining with neighbors, participating in clubs and activities, and volunteering.
"We felt a sense of community even before we moved in," says Judy.
Weighing the options
Like the Stephensons, a growing number of retirees are evaluating their living arrangements to determine what best meets their needs. The nation's population of seniors is projected to grow by 60 percent over the next three decades, giving rise to this timely conversation.
Social networks tend to thin as people age, and the effects of isolation and loneliness on health can be detrimental.
Research by the National Institute on Aging found that people who engage in meaningful, productive activities with others tend to live longer, experience better moods, and have a sense of purpose. Staying socially active is a cornerstone of healthy aging.
"While people have all kinds of reasons for choosing Brooksby Village, one I hear often is the opportunity to make friends and enjoy the wealth of amenities and activities on campus," says Sales Director Suzanne Davis. "There is no doubt a person's sense of connectedness and belonging at Brooksby Village is helping residents' live happier and healthier lives."
Stan and Judy's social engagement at Brooksby Village began even before they moved to the Peabody community. In preparation for their move, the couple attended several Lunch and Learn presentations by Brooksby Village's Personal Moving Consultant Laurie Phillips.
"Those luncheons were invaluable both for the information shared and for the people we met," says Judy. "Laurie has a gift for seating people together who she feels will connect. We made several lasting friendships through those events."
In August 2018, Stan and Judy felt right at home once they moved to Brooksby Village, a not-for-profit organization, developed and operated by Erickson Living®. The community is governed by its own board of directors affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community.
"Our new neighbors reached out and drew us into their circle of friends," says Judy. "We were welcomed right away. Social opportunities come naturally here."
"The culture on campus has so much richness in terms of social wellness," says Jeff Watson, director of operations for Erickson Living. "Most often, good habits are incubated and maintained through strong relationships – whether we are exercising together or learning together or laughing together. Collectively, we are adding quality to our lives and probably living longer as a side effect."
Brooksby Village's Embrace Wellness program is an initiative to create greater appreciation for all the dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, occupational, spiritual, and environmental.
"When it comes to the social dimension of wellness, Brooksby Village is pulsing with life," says Watson.
An engaging lifestyle
Stan's hobbies and interests include photography, working out in the community's onsite fitness center and around the 90-acre campus, and going on day trips coordinated through Brooksby Village's trips department.
"The day trips are fantastic because they allow us to share experiences with others in the community," says Stan, who served in the U.S. Air Force, then taught business statistics at the collegiate level. "Then there's the conversations that take place with your neighbors and friends you meet on your way to the fitness center or to dinner. Living in community provides built-in opportunities to connect with others."
Judy is equally engaged. A member of the P.E.O. philanthropic organization, Judy coordinates monthly get-togethers for P.E.O. members who live at Brooksby Village. She also plays with four different bridge groups and attends classical music concerts on campus.
"It's been wonderful to connect with so many people groups – other residents, the staff, the student wait staff," says Stan. "We have a beautiful apartment we enjoy, but we also have an engaging community right outside our door."
Photo caption: Judy and Stan Stephenson chose Brooksby Village for its abundant activities and social opportunities.
About Brooksby Village: Brooksby Village is one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living® and is situated on a scenic 90-acre campus in Peabody, Massachusetts. The not-for-profit community, located in Essex County, is home to 1,700 residents and is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Additional information about Brooksby Village can be found at BrooksbyVillage.com.