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Life at Wind Crest gives Keystone couple sense of freedom

February 26, 2019

Annette and Gerry Fricke say goodbye to tough winters & hello to vibrant retirement living

Highlands Ranch, Colo. – Last winter, it snowed from October until May in Keystone, Colorado, where Annette and Gerry Fricke built their home back in 1980. For years, the couple enjoyed spending both winters and summers there, enjoying the beautiful mountain landscape with their nine children. In 2000, they moved from their primary residence in Illinois to Keystone full-time when Gerry retired.

But last year, when the last snowflake fell on May 5, they found themselves ready for the next step. "It's tough to live in the mountains when we no longer ski," said Annette. "It makes winter very long."

They had been introduced to Wind Crest, a continuing care retirement community developed and managed by Erickson Living in Highlands Ranch, by another couple they knew from Keystone who had recently moved there. The Frickes visited their friends at the community several times and decided to join Wind Crest's Priority List. They knew that at Wind Crest, they wouldn't have to worry about shoveling snow or salting sidewalks, because all of that is handled by the community's professional grounds staff.

When an apartment home with the spacious Wyeth floor plan became available last year, the Frickes decided it was time for them to make the move as well. "We didn't even look at any other places," said Annette.

A smooth transition

Annette and Gerry loved the layout of the Wyeth, which came complete with an outdoor patio. There was just one problem—a wall between the kitchen and main living space. "I walked in and thought, 'I can fix this'," said Annette. Luckily, Wind Crest's Custom Interiors team agreed and was able help bring Annette's open-concept vision to life.

"The Frickes worked with our Custom Interiors team to customize their Wyeth apartment home into an amazing open concept, and their modern décor has their apartment looking like a model home," says Tony Stephenson, Sales Counselor at Wind Crest.

In addition to opening up the space, Wind Crest's Custom Interiors team helped them choose paint colors, carpeting, window coverings and more. They worked with Beth Brandenburg, Wind Crest's Personal Moving Consultant, to arrange their furniture in a way that maximized the apartment's 1,430 square feet.

"We were able to make it what we wanted. All the work was done as promised and on time, and that made us feel really good," said Annette.

Busier than ever

A few days after moving in, the Frickes got a call from a Resident Ambassador, inviting them to dinner. He introduced them to a few other residents and now, both Annette and Gerry's calendar are booked solid with bridge games, classes, committee meetings, plays, concerts and social engagements. Weather never gets in the way, since all activities are offered right on campus, steps away from the Frickes' apartment home. "We are doing more now at Wind Crest than we did in our entire last year in Keystone," said Annette.

Once known as the "Computer Doctor of Summit County," Gerry continues to help others with their computers and volunteers to help residents utilize My Erickson, a free digital application that provides easy access to Wind Crest community information such as maps and phone numbers, messages, dining menus, activity calendars, transit schedules and more, all on residents' mobile devices.

The couple enjoys monthly dinners with other residents from Summit County, including five other couples from Keystone. And as avid travelers, they love the ease and convenience of life at Wind Crest. "All we have to do is lock the door," they said.

Next January, the Frickes plan to travel to Egypt and are excited to be participating in a Learners course about the country at Wind Crest this spring. Last fall, they enjoyed a course on classical music.

"We are busier now than we have ever been," said Annette.

Close family

An added bonus of living at Wind Crest is that the Frickes are now closer to their family. "We've never really lived in the same town as our kids. Now, we have six of our children within 20 minutes of us. We are seeing them all the time now."

"When we moved here, our children thanked us," the couple said. Now, the Frickes love having their family to Wind Crest for dinner. The best part? Neither Annette nor Gerry has to cook or clean up when company comes over. It's all taken care of by Wind Crest's expert dining team.

Other times, their daughters will come pick up Annette for lunch or an afternoon at the salon. "We just have a ball," she says. "It's so nice to be able to do that."

Feeling lucky

After only a few months living at Wind Crest, Annette and Gerry find themselves wishing they had moved years ago. "Wind Crest has the perfect framework for us as we get older but still want to maintain an active life," they said.

For Annette, the best part is the people she has met and the friendships she is building.

"This is the best thing we could have done, with our kids and our friends all right here. We are just plain lucky."

About Wind Crest: Wind Crest, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 84-acre campus in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The community is located in Douglas County and is home to more than 1,300 residents who are supported by a team of more than 600 employees. Additional information about Wind Crest can be found at

Photo Caption: Annette and Gerry Fricke love living at Wind Crest, where they can enjoy a vibrant retirement lifestyle and Colorado's natural beauty without the work and worry of winter weather.