The stress goes away

Livingston couple trades responsibilities of home ownership for maintenance-free living at Eagle’s Trace

Sara Martin
February 24, 2020

What a difference a year makes.

If Dick and Pamela Grant could talk to themselves from March 2019, they wouldn't have believed the changes coming their way: a new home, a new lifestyle, a new community. 

And yet, looking back, they wouldn't have it any other way.

"Everything happened so quickly," says Pamela, a business and life coach, management consultant, and author of Career Callings. "But we're still congratulating ourselves on making the decisions we did when we did. The one thing we say consistently is, 'Thank goodness we didn't wait another five years.'"

Exploring their options

In early 2019, Dick and Pamela were considering a potential move to an active retirement community. The couple loved their house of 17 years, set on a half-acre lot on the shores of Lake Livingston, north of Houston, but felt changes were coming.

"We wanted to move into Houston because our kids and grandkids are here," says Pamela. Now that our grandkids are teenagers, they had less and less time to come up to Livingston. Our house also needed new energy, and it was getting difficult to find contractors."

Dick and Pamela visited several retirement communities across the city but couldn't find one to suit their lifestyle.

"We didn't want to move someplace where we had to eat meals at a set time in one big dining room," says Pamela, who still works full-time. "We wanted flexibility, activities, and social opportunities."

A television ad for Eagle's Trace, the Erickson Living-managed community in West Houston, prompted Pamela to explore the community online.

"I liked what I saw, including the fact that you can arrange a ride to the airport through the community's transportation services," says Pamela. "We love to travel, so the ease of locking our door and heading out was appealing."

The right apartment

In March 2019, Dick and Pamela scheduled a visit with Sales Counselor Jodie Schroeder.

"Jodie showed us the medical center, the fitness center, the swimming pool, the bank, the pharmacy, the restaurants," says Pamela. "We liked the idea of having all those amenities on campus."

The couple joined the priority list that day, putting down a fully refundable $1,000 deposit to reserve their place in line for the apartment home of their choice.

"We knew we wanted a two-bedroom apartment on the ground floor with a patio for our dogs, Buddy and Bella," says Dick. "We thought it could take up to two years for the right apartment to become available."

It was a surprise, then, to find the perfect apartment two months later at an open house barbeque for the community's priority list members.

"When Jodie saw us walk in, she said, 'Don't miss the Mesquite on the first floor of Galveston Crossing,'" says Pamela. "As soon as we saw the apartment, we knew it was for us."

At 1,344 square feet, the Mesquite's two-bedroom, two-bath layout offers abundant living space and modern finishes. Galveston Crossing, the newest residence building at Eagle's Trace, opened in July 2018.

"We signed the paperwork that day," says Dick. "Suddenly, we were moving in sixty days."

Seamless and successful move

The couple's accelerated timeline sparked different reactions for Dick and Pamela.

"Dick went into logistics mode, while I went into panic mode, wondering if we were making the right decision." says Pamela. "I didn't see how we could possibly get everything done in such a short period of time."

Fortunately, Erickson Realty and Moving Services offers a network of moving resources designed to assist future residents through every step of the move. Haven Benoit, personal moving consultant at Eagle's Trace, visited Dick and Pamela in their Livingston house to map out a path forward.

"Haven referred us to a real estate agent, Lisa Hudgens, who was wonderful because she was straight to the point," says Pamela. "A lady walked in the open house and asked, 'What do I have to do to buy this place?'"

Benoit also referred Dick and Pamela to senior move managers, Greg and Crystal Drake with Lone Star Transitions. 

"I didn't know such a service existed," says Pamela. "The panic went away once we started working with Greg and Crystal, because they had the experience and expertise to handle the details."

The sixty-day window included a two-week Baltic cruise Dick and Pamela already had on their calendar.

"We closed on the house on a Thursday afternoon and boarded a flight the next morning," says Dick. "When we came back, we spent two nights in a guest suite at Eagle's Trace while Greg and Crystal set up everything in our new apartment. When they called us to say it was ready, we came right in and started living."

"The stress went away from that moment," says Pamela. "All my unfounded fears about whether we were making the right decision vanished."

Enjoying a vibrant lifestyle

Now, the couple is enjoying the amenities, social opportunities, and maintenance-free lifestyle at Eagle's Trace. They opted for the 20-meal plan, giving them flexibility to dine in any of the community's onsite restaurants whenever they like. Pamela recently hosted nine business associates in the private dining room at Stetson's, relishing the opportunity to entertain while Eagle's Trace's dining services took care of the accompanying cooking and cleaning. 

Dick's a regular at the Cardio Pump fitness class, and Pamela's using her professional skill set to mentor student waitstaff as they explore career options.

"Everything we need is right here," says Pamela. "Dick had a minor medical concern and called the medical center at 4:15 in the afternoon. They told him to come over, he saw the doctor, and he had the medicine he needed from the on-site pharmacy by 5 p.m. You can't find that anywhere else."