Dallas, Texas—School is almost out for the summer, meaning vacations, sleeping late and being outdoors. In August, though, Linda Matzen will be back to work at Brentfield Elementary School in Richardson, Texas.
As the administrative assistant for student services, Ms. Matzen is the first person visitors typically see when they walk into the school.
"I handle the attendance, enrolling and withdrawing students, and whatever else needs to be done for teachers and students," said Ms. Matzen, who just completed her 18th year at Brentfield.
In July 2017, she sold her 3,000 square foot home in Richardson and moved to Highland Springs, the Erickson Living community in North Dallas.
"I no longer worry about taking care of a big house and keeping up with all the maintenance and repairs," described Ms. Matzen, who lost her husband Neil to an illness in 2009. "Last year, I got an estimate to fix the swimming pool and when I saw the amount, I thought, 'You know, it's time to make a plan. I'm ready to move.'"
Driving by the campus on Frankford Road while traveling through North Dallas, she literally saw the community grow from the ground up.
"One day I stopped in to see what Highland Springs was like," recalled Ms. Matzen, who found the idea of a maintenance-free lifestyle appealing.
After touring several apartments with a variety of floor plans, she chose a two-bedroom, two bath Madison-style apartment with a balcony and open layout. She opted to move during the summer break and list her home after she was already settled in her new apartment.
"My house went on the market on the first day of the 2017-2018 school year, and it closed in less than three months," she noted.
Now, Ms. Matzen is enjoying a work-life balance that's enhanced by her new lifestyle at Highland Springs.
"I don't have to think about what to fix for dinner since we have a choice of multiple restaurants," she said. "The food here is fabulous."
She also appreciates the onsite fitness center and medical center, both just a short walk from her apartment.
"With my work schedule, I haven't had the opportunity to join any clubs or activities yet," she says. "I'm looking forward to this summer when I can take yoga classes, exercise regularly and see what other activities are available."
Part of a growing movement
As one who is still engaged in her work, Linda Matzen is not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, men and women working past the traditional retirement age are the fastest growing segment in the workforce. Labor force participation among 65 to 74 year olds is expected to reach 32 percent by 2022, up from 20 percent in 2002.
"There are good reasons to continue working," says Dorian Mintzer, Ph.D., a retirement transitions coach and co-author of The Couple's Retirement Puzzle. "Work can provide a sense of connection, engagement, purpose, and meaning, all essential components of well-being."
For Ms. Matzen, the opportunity to work provides structure and significance.
"I need routine, continuity, and a reason to get up every morning," she says. "I enjoy being around people, especially the staff, students, and parents at Brentfield."
As much as her work provides an opportunity for socialization, so too does Highland Springs.
"Isolation isn't good for the body or soul," she adds. "I've made friends at Highland Springs, and it is fun to have people around when I'm not at work."
She is in good company with her peers at the North Dallas community.
"Our residents are amazing people," noted Matt Neville, Executive Director of Highland Springs. "They are changing the traditional concept of retirement, taking advantage of opportunities to volunteer, travel and, in Linda's case, continue to pursue career endeavors. Our team is proud to offer them a worry-free environment so they can live to the fullest."