Finding the Right Chemistry–Hermitage

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By Christy Brudin

Chemistry is the study of the composition, properties and reactions of substances. It is also the inexplicable connection that unites people. John Mutchler knows both types of chemistry well.

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John Mutchler found the perfect balance of amenities to meet all his needs at The Hermitage.

A native Washingtonian, John grew up in Kensington, Md., and attended Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. From this top-rated public high school, he was able to go on to Cornell University, where he graduated with a degree in Chemistry.

John’s first job brought him back to Washington, D.C. He worked for the Gillette Company on Teflon-coated razor blades. Later, he pursued other ventures, but found himself drawn back to his work as a chemist. “As most people do, I changed jobs just to see if the grass was greener on the other side of the fence. I found out it wasn’t,” John recalled of his career move.

After returning to his original passion, John found his dream job as a chemist at a manufacturing plant in Northern New Jersey. “When I retired, I went out with a bang, instead of a whimper! I felt very fortunate that my last job was so satisfying,” he said.

While he found a lot of fulfillment in his work, John also enjoys spending time with his family, including his two children. He is also very close to his twin sister and spent many hours on the tennis court playing the single’s champion.

After retiring, John continued to live in Northern New Jersey. Several years ago, while still living alone, he fell and broke his back. While the injury was slowly healing, John realized that he needed some additional help. “I really couldn’t walk very far on my own, and I was very curtailed in my physical activities,” he said. “My daughter had always wanted me to come and live near them when I retired, so we started talking about it.”

When John’s daughter found The Hermitage, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Alexandria, Va., she thought it would be a perfect fit for her father. The location meant he would be close to most of his family. The community also offers the security of on-site health care or in-home services should they be needed in the future, all without an entrance fee.

“I came down here, and I was very impressed with the community,” John said. “Sure enough, I moved, and I’m really very happy here.”

John quickly discovered that The Hermitage offered the perfect balance of amenities to meet his needs. “They are really very good at serving three aspects here: physical needs, mental needs and spiritual needs,” he said. John explained that he participates in fitness classes and a bible study group and that his medical needs have always been promptly met.

While John is an avid participant in many activities, it is the friendships he has made since moving that have really changed his life. “Like any place, it’s the people that really count, and I’ve made so many friends here,” he said. Many of John’s friends are fellow participants in two of the community’s most active groups: the current events group and the poetry group. “We all look out for one another, and we’ve really become very close,” he explained.

Connecting with so many fascinating peers has made John’s transition easy. However, his unwavering positive attitude has also served him well. “I think people should try to focus on the many positive aspects of life in a community like this, and there are many, many positive aspects,” he said.

At The Hermitage, John has found a retirement lifestyle with the perfect balance of social, physical, mental and spiritual offerings. Most importantly, he has also discovered a community where the residents are truly connected and deeply engaged – a place with the right chemistry.

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