Dallas, Texas--When Jerry and Treva Smutz traded the responsibilities of home ownership to enjoy the maintenance-free lifestyle at Highland Springs, an Erickson Living-managed community in North Dallas, they quickly gravitated to the rich social atmosphere on campus.
"We should have moved sooner for the social aspect alone," says Jerry, a retired information technology professional. "One of the biggest challenges in retirement is staying involved because too many people in your neighborhood are either still working or really busy. At Highland Springs, you just walk out your front door and people are there, activities are there, and it's easy to stay engaged."
Highland Springs' bustling 89-acre campus is home to more than 1,100 residents. The community's monthly calendar details the happenings of more than 100 resident-led clubs and events.
Abundant on-site amenities include five restaurants, fitness center, exercise studio, indoor pool, bank, pharmacy, salon, neighborhood market, outdoor greenhouse, walking trails, Arts and Enrichment Center and medical center.
"The lifestyle our residents enjoy at Highland Springs is full of exciting opportunities to socialize and be engaged," says Sales Director Christina Christie. "We have a diversity of options on campus. There is something for everyone to get involved and connect with friends and neighbors."
Easy to stay connected
For Jerry and Treva, the social benefits of living in community while still having the privacy of their spacious two-bedroom Thornbury-style apartment offers the best of both worlds.
"A friend called me up the other day and asked what I was doing at 3 p.m.," says Jerry. "We met in the Lone Star Pub and talked for two hours before dinner. Those impromptu get-togethers are so easy here."
Treva, an actuarial assistant who retired from the professional services firm of Willis Towers Watson, feels the same way.
"Right after Jerry and I moved in, friends from my knitting group helped me to unpack a few boxes in the kitchen," she describes. "After we finished, I wanted to treat them to lunch in the Fireside Grille. As we were walking to the restaurant, every single person we met said 'hi.'"
The nation's population of seniors [65 and above] is projected to increase by more than 60 percent over the next three decades, reaching 84 million in 2047. Like Jerry and Treva, those entering their retirement years will need to evaluate what living arrangement best meets their needs.
A national study found that seniors who live in continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) enjoy greater levels of wellness than older adults in home-based settings due to the abundance of social interaction. More than two-thirds of the residents surveyed said that moving to a CCRC "somewhat or greatly improved" their social wellness, a concept that encompasses a person's sense of connectedness and belonging within their sphere of influence.
Highland Springs offers all the benefits of community, including opportunities to socialize, pursue meaningful endeavors and volunteer both on campus and in the North Dallas region.
"One of the greatest things about living in community is that we can continue to encourage the people around us and to draw joy from them," states Jeff Watson, Director of Operations for Erickson Living. "People who live at Highland Springs have hundreds of peers to appreciate, dozens of groups to join and multiple causes to fuel."
Sue Polinski moved to Highland Springs with her husband Paul in December 2016 from Red Oak, Texas, south of Dallas.
"I have a much more active social life now than I did when we lived in our home," notes Sue. "There's something to do all the time, and you can be as involved as you want to be."
Sue meets friends for breakfast six mornings a week in the Bistro on the first floor of the community's Hillcrest Clubhouse. Then she gets together with another group of friends, the Tea-Time Girls, every mid-afternoon in the Pecan Grove residence building.
"When I was growing up, people would sit on their front porches and visit with neighbors as they went by," says Sue. "When Paul and I lived in Red Oak, people came and went through their back door, so you didn't get a chance to know each other. Now at Highland Springs, we enjoy the same sense of community I had when I was younger. We're like a family, and we look out for each other."
About Highland Springs: Highland Springs, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 89-acre campus in North Dallas, Texas. The not-for-profit community of more than 1,100 residents and 520 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of Highland Springs. Additional information can be found at http://highlandspringscommunity.com.