An On-the-Go Lifestyle in a Retirement Community
As Atrium Village resident Ruth Klein walks through the crowded lobby of her home during a musical program, friends greet her enthusiastically. It is only a matter of minutes before she is dancing center stage with the performers, Gary Richman and “The Night at The Copa” Singers.
This comes as no surprise to her peers and the staff of the senior retirement community, located in Owings Mills, who know that Ruth’s motto is to stay busy and involved. Crediting this attitude for keeping her healthy and active at the age of 95, Ruth said, “I just wish I had more hours in the day.”
Born and raised in New York, Ruth and her husband raised a family in their beloved home in Randallstown that they purchased in 1963. Her husband has since passed away, but she has the support of her five children, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
While several of her family members live nearby, Ruth enjoys visiting those outside of the area since travelling has always been an important part of her life. In fact, she has several unique destinations under her belt, including a 21-day African safari and a recent trip to Antarctica. She books most of her trips through Grand Circle Travel, an agency founded by Ethel Andrus in 1958, who also founded AARP.
Although her husband loved going on cruises, Ruth has always had a passion for more exotic locations. “Every year we went on a cruise, which I wasn’t too fond of because you would only get one day in a country,” she said. “As long as I went on one cruise a year, he would let me travel by myself on trips I was interested in.”
With a love for adventure, the outgoing and independent Ruth has had no qualms about venturing to various places by herself. “I make friends, so I don’t have any problem travelling alone,” she said. Although she has trips to Norway and Iceland planned, she also looks forward to an upcoming excursion to West Virginia with friends, along with a trip to Gettysburg, Pa. to explore its history with her granddaughter and great-grandchildren.
Aside from traveling, Ruth spent her days working in the library for over 25 years as the head of the clerical department. Retirement, however, was not very easy for Ruth. “I stayed home for one week and I couldn’t take it,” she said.
As a result, she got involved in a variety of volunteer opportunities, one of which involved working at the Liberty Senior Center. It was there she met Arnold Eppel, who was the director of the Baltimore County Department of Aging at the time and is now the executive director of Atrium Village. “I have known Ruth for 15 years. She is an exuberant lady who has fully embraced life and I am thrilled to have her here,” he said.
Although Ruth’s family had looked at several communities in the area, it was her relationship with Arnold that had fully assured them Atrium Village was the best choice, and there has been no question it was the right choice. Since the move, Ruth has made several friends and established strong connections with the rest of the staff as she lends a helping hand whenever she can. “The staff really appreciates the help,” she said. In fact, some even refer to her as “GG.” Ruth said, “It stands for great-grandma, which is what my kids call me.”
One example of the assistance she offers is folding the napkins after she enjoys her breakfast every morning in the Atrium Village dining room. “The food is very good,” she said. Not only good, the daily meals offered at the community are prepared with the goal of further promoting healthy lifestyles for residents.
As part of Atrium Village’s focus on hospitality, its Dining for Wellnessâ„¢ program offers Ruth and her peers creative dining choices that support specific areas of healthy living for seniors. Additionally, a fresh baked bread program and a no-sugar-added dessert program also provide unique options for individuals.
Active Aging Week is another initiative of the community, in conjunction with the International Council on Active Aging, that promotes active lifestyles for seniors. It includes activity for the mind, body and spirit, incorporating the six dimensions of wellness: physical activity, intellectual stimulation, emotional support, spirituality, social opportunity and vocational activity.
The community’s mission is also evident in its award-winning Wellness Everydayâ„¢ programs, classes and experiences that encourage residents to live life with meaning and vitality. This is a hallmark of the Senior Lifestyle Corporation approach, and every member of Atrium Village’s staff is committed to making residents feel like family.
The overall focus and support system at Atrium Village helps keep residents like Ruth thriving as she clearly takes advantage of these programs and amenities that enhance her busy lifestyle. While the community provides numerous activities and an exercise facility, its convenient location allows residents to enjoy opportunities offsite as well.
“I am a big exercise freak,” said Ruth. “I do water aerobics and I take a walk every day; I get up early before it gets hot outside.” She can also be found frequently using the exercise bikes in the community’s fitness center in addition to taking classes at the nearby Liberty Senior Center and utilizing the swimming pool next door at the Randallstown Community Center.
While Ruth maintains her busy schedule of social engagements and exercising, she has peace of mind with the knowledge that extensive health services are available onsite should anything happen to her. Atrium Village has an ongoing relationship with Genesis Rehabilitation Services, who provides physical, occupational and speech therapy for residents. A vibrant and outgoing rehab team assists residents in regaining the highest level of physical, social and emotional level of function by providing them with an individualized treatment plan. The majority of such services are covered 80 percent by Medicare part B and 20 percent by co-insurance while residents also have the assurance knowing they are welcome to use the exercise equipment in the Wellness Center anytime, regardless of therapy status.
For those considering the transition to senior housing, Ruth of course offers the advice of getting involved as much as possible based on her own experience at Atrium Village. Coming from someone who can enjoy the flexibility of traveling knowing she is returning to a home where she will be happily greeted by friends and continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a sense of security, this is certainly sound advice to follow.