Embracing the Many Opportunities Retirement Living Offers

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senior woman in assisted living communityRuth Huffer’s 25 year career in the Anne Arundel public school system began as a kindergarten teacher. Her career path changed dramatically while substituting for a fellow teacher. She explains, “I was filling in on parent’s day, and after class, one of the parents asked me to stop by her office. I remember thinking that I had done something wrong, but when I got there I realized that she was the principal of the special education school. She told me that I was in the wrong spot and that I should really be teaching special education.”

After their conversation, the principal agreed to pay Ms. Huffer’s first year tuition if she would go back to school to become certified in special education. She did and that was the start of a long and successful career in the then-emerging discipline. “I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to help those children learn to be independent and to give them the chance to succeed,” she says. Ms. Huffer has maintained contact with several of her students, who are now in their 40s and 50s.

When she fell and broke her pelvis several years ago, Ms. Huffer was planning to return to her family home after recovering. “When the doctors told me that I could no longer live alone, I knew I needed to find a nice place to live. I did not want to be a burden to my children or disturb their lives by moving in with them,” she recalls. While she was recovering, her children began looking for assisted living communities.

One of Ms. Huffer’s friends had recently moved to Autumn Meadows, a small assisted living home, so her children decided to look into it. Autumn Meadows is comprised of several homes located in Crofton and Bowie, MD. When they visited Autumn Meadows, they immediately knew it was the right place for their mother. When Ms. Huffer moved, she could not have agreed more. She says, “It felt like home from the moment I walked through the door.”

Ms. Huffer has been living at Autumn Meadows for nearly six years now and her initial impression has not changed. She remains active in clubs in the community and with her church, but she is always happy to come home. In fact, she has helped several new residents make a smooth transition to life at Autumn Meadows. She says, “I tell everyone that they should not hesitate for one moment to make the move and that they should never look back.”

She goes on to explain that many people feel sad when they have to leave their long-time homes but insists that an open mind and a eye toward the future will help make the transition easier. “We all get along so well. What is there not to like? It’s especially nice that we are so small, and we all really know each other,” she says.

The same flexibility that allowed her to move smoothly from kindergarten teacher to special education teacher so many years ago still serves Ms. Huffer well. She has easily embraced the many opportunities that retirement living offers.

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