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An Insider's Guide to Making the Most of Your Retirement

By Michele Harris
September 26, 2023
friends eating dinner

When you move to a continuing care retirement community, like those developed and managed by Erickson Senior Living, a world of opportunity awaits. 

Thanks to maintenance-free apartment homes and an array of amenities and activities at each community, Erickson Senior Living residents have all they need to enjoy the engaging retirement they've always dreamed of. 

Recently, the Tribune asked current Erickson Senior Living residents for their best recommendations on how to make the most of an active lifestyle.

Tip #1: Attend events

Joan and John Donovan first visited Linden Ponds, the Erickson Senior Living community in Hingham, Mass., as guests of a friend--a musician who was performing at a dance event on campus. They weren't sure what to expect, but they were very excited by what they found. 

"We were thrilled to discover a vibrant community with such welcoming residents," says Joan. 

They decided to join the priority list, which grants members right of first refusal on desired apartment homes and exclusive invitations to informational and social events. 

The Donovans were especially interested in speaking with current residents at the events to gain firsthand insight into life at the community. "I strongly recommend attending events and speaking to the people there," says Joan. "We found it really helpful!" 

They moved to Linden Ponds in 2019, eager to enjoy all the amenities and activities they learned so much about through the events. 

Joan soon began hosting a weekly magazine show on Channel 918, Linden Ponds' in-house TV station. More recently, she started a karaoke group with friends. "I had never done that before, and it's so much fun. It's good to sample new things."

Since John is still working full-time, he spends his free time meeting up with neighbors at the community's on-site restaurants for dinner. "Whenever we dine with new people, they talk about what they enjoy doing, so that's how we continue to learn about the different activities here," says John. 

He adds, "Once I retire, I'm going to get in shape at the fitness center here so I can play pickleball. I also want to play cards--something I haven't done in years!"

Tip #2: Get involved

Soon after moving to Windsor Run, the Erickson Senior Living community in Matthews, N.C., Bill and Jacqui Claypool were ready to socialize. 

"We focused on getting involved, organizing a meet and greet for our neighbors on the third floor," says Jacqui. "It was a great way to make new friends."

They also attended an activity fair to learn about all the different things to do at Windsor Run. "We spoke with residents who were involved in activities that we were interested in," says Bill. "There's so many things to take part in here."

Now, Bill meets with the chair volleyball club, works out in the fitness center, and regularly plays euchre, a faster, wilder version of bridge. Jacqui writes for The Pulse, the community's newsletter, and sings hymns and plays the piano at Sunday church services. 

When Bill and Jacqui aren't busy participating in clubs and activities across Windsor Run's campus, they enjoy hosting casual gatherings in their apartment home

"It's also been easy for us to maintain our outside friendships, so we have the best of both worlds here," says Jacqui. "We like getting together with friends, old and new, to play games in our apartment home. We feel so good about our home, so we want to share it with others!"

Tip #3: Pursue your passion

Growing up in West Virginia, Gray Parks loved playing guitar and listening to country music programs on the radio. But as an adult, his work on classified Department of Defense and NATO projects left little time for his musical interests.

When he moved to Greenspring, the Erickson Senior Living community in Springfield, Va., he saw an opportunity to pursue his lifelong passion for making and sharing music. 

"When I came to Greenspring and saw our closed-circuit TV system, the idea of doing a music program took shape," says Gray. Now, he plays guitar and sings on his own weekly 15-minute country music TV show.

Gray advises new residents to consider what they've always dreamed of doing but never had the time to pursue. "With the burden of home maintenance off my shoulders, I get to use my time however I want," he says. 

He concludes, "I am in the right place. It's like a small town here! The residents at the TV studio are my family. That, to me, is the best part about living at an Erickson Senior Living community."

Find a community near you and learn more about how a move to an Erickson Senior Living community can help you start the next new chapter of your life.