Finding a Vibrant Environment in a Retirement Community

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Throughout their 60-plus years of marriage, Robert and Shirley Gradle have led fascinating lives, filled with love, adventure and varied interests. So as they contemplated where the next chapter of life might take them, it wasn’t because they wanted to move somewhere to slow down. What the Gradles sought was a community that could keep up with their lifestyle.

When they complete their 14th move together, they’ll be consolidating the contents of their two homes – one in Potomac, Md., and the other in Boynton Beach, Fla., – into a newly constructed courtyard home at Asbury Methodist Village, a continuing care retirement community in Gaithersburg, Md.

“After hearing our church and Kiwanian friends talk about their wonderful retirement community lifestyle, we knew it would be a good fit for us too,” said Bob.

While putting down roots at the community, the Gradles say they’ll still always be on the go. They plan to take advantage of the community-planned trips to plays, museums, the Kennedy Center, the National Gallery of Art and other destinations across the country.

“We are excited to continue enjoying the trips and activities through the travel groups,” they said, eager to hand over the reins of making travel arrangements. “We love to learn about new places to visit. We know we’ll have more than enough opportunities to enjoy the open road.”

As active travelers, they have made more than 20 trips to their favorite spot at the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. In the early ’90s, they even spent two summers as VIPs (volunteers in the park). “We’ve already practiced living lighter, having spent two seasons in an RV,” Shirley said.

The Gradles’ journey together started when they met at the age of five in their church kindergarten class. Having reunited in high school, their childhood romance blossomed into a career and family. Bob spent 38 years with AT&T, five of which were with Bellcomm, providing systems engineering support for NASA’s Apollo-manned space flight program, a job that helped keep the couple on the move. Along the way, the Gradles grew into a wonderful family of three children, seven grandchildren, with a great-grandchild expected this spring. Of course, their children are thrilled with their decision.

“Our daughter asked us several years ago to look into a retirement community so she wouldn’t worry about us. But if something should happen, she wanted to make sure that we’re taken care of,” remarked Shirley.

What convinced the Gradles to choose Asbury Methodist Village was the vibrant environment that will allow them to continue their healthy, active lifestyle. With their new home only 15 miles from where they currently live, they won’t be too far from their current social network.

“We do great on our own and wanted to stay in the area close to our friends,” remarked Shirley. “I think we should have made the move earlier, but after 13 tries, we know this one will be just right.”

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