Opportunities for connection abound at Highlands Ranch community
February 3, 2020 – Highlands Ranch, Colo. – "I find that a lot of times when people retire, they don't know what to do with themselves," says Diana Martinac, who retired from Lockheed Martin after 39 years in configuration and data management.
"Here, it's right up my alley," she says of her new home at Wind Crest, a senior living community developed and managed by Erickson Living in Highlands Ranch. Diana and her husband Rick moved to Wind Crest in September 2017. "They have all these groups and entertainment, and the people are just wonderful."
"At Wind Crest, we take a proactive approach to health and well-being," says Executive Director Craig Erickson. "Every aspect of our community is designed to empower our residents to live longer, more independent, healthy, and vibrant lives."
Wind Crest offers around 100 interest groups and activities—everything from wood shop to theater, Bible study to book club, political interest groups to a drumming circle. Most are resident-run, and new groups form often.
While Diana didn't have much time for hobbies while she was working, since moving to Wind Crest, she has joined the Women's Club, Welcoming Committee, and Resident Advisory Council. She also volunteers at Children's Hospital just up the road.
"I find that so many retirees don't want to leave their homes. I'm just the opposite—you don't want to be by yourself, you don't want the home maintenance, and then when we have bad weather like a blizzard, you don't want to be alone," she says.
The Wow Factor
Diana and Rick moved to Wind Crest from Lakewood, Colorado when Long's Ridge, one of ten independent living residence buildings on Wind Crest's scenic 84-acre campus, opened. They had been interested in Wind Crest ever since they started looking for a maintenance-free community for her parents more than eight years ago.
"I had heard about [Wind Crest] on TV and said we should check it out. When I walked in here I thought, 'Wow! This is like a four-star hotel!' It was nothing like what we were used to seeing," Diana says.
They joined the Priority List, which secured them a place in line for the apartment home of their choice, the Newbury, one of Wind Crest's most popular floor plans featuring one a one bedroom, one-and-a-half bath layout with a den.
"We live on such a great floor. Once a month we meet and connect over food with our neighbors," Diana says. "What makes this place even more amazing is it's like a melting pot. There are a lot of people who are not native to Colorado. You meet people who have great stories, people who are still working—there's something for everyone."
She and Rick enjoy meeting new neighbors over a meal in any of Wind Crest's four dinner restaurants—Windows, Burton's, Mile High Café, or The Fireside.
"All the restaurants make it a lot of fun because you meet people there, eat with them, and hear their stories. It's fun listening to others' lives, and it's so interesting to be able to talk with different people every single day."
As the nation's population of seniors is projected to increase by 60 percent over the next three decades, more and more people will be in Diana and Rick's shoes, evaluating what living arrangements best meet their needs.
According to the National Institute on Aging, several studies show a strong correlation between social interaction and health as we age.
For example, social relationships are consistently associated with biomarkers of health, and positive indicators of social well-being may be associated with lower levels of interleukin-6, an inflammatory factor implicated in age-related disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer.
Those living in an amenity-rich senior living community like Wind Crest can pursue their passions and be engaged in a plethora of opportunities for social interaction, including enjoying entertainment, participating in clubs and activities, and volunteering. These opportunities promote healthier living and longevity.
"The culture on campus has so much richness in terms of social wellness. Residents are engaged in a variety of meaningful activities from socializing with their peers, to organizing and participating in clubs and groups, to serving others by volunteering in and outside the community," says Jeff Watson, Erickson Living's Director of Operations.
Wind Crest is a not-for-profit organization developed and managed by Erickson Living®. The community is governed by its own board of directors affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community.
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 not-for-profit community of more than 1,400 residents and 800 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Additional information can be found at WindCrestRetirement.com.
Photo Credit: Julia Collins
Photo Caption: Diana Martinac and her husband, Rick, moved to Wind Crest while she was still working. Now that she's retired, they can take full advantage of all amenities and opportunities to connect and socialize, keeping them active and engaged.