Independent Living: A Welcoming Environment

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Lida Moser and Leslie Katz are happy to have found a community that makes individuals and their furry companions feel right at home.

If you walk into the lobby of the Revitz House in Rockville, Maryland on a typical day, you are sure to see many smiling faces and residents rushing to make their next appointment or activity.  What might surprise you, however, is that you are also likely to see a few tails wagging around.  This is due to the fact that the independent living residence located on the campus of the nonprofit Charles E. Smith Life Community wholeheartedly embraces the importance of small pets in residents’ lives.

Guide to Retirement Living SourceBook was able to catch up with two interesting residents who have thrived in the community with a little help from their “best friends.”

Lida Moser
A native New Yorker, Lida Moser exudes energy and has a countless supply of stories of her life in New York City. Although she considers herself “a normal child of immigrants,” she was at the epicenter of the New York art scene for over three decades.  Referred to as a pioneer in photojournalism and a well-respected photographer, Lida has travelled the world for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and many other magazines in addition to creating a highly-regarded photo documentary assignment throughout Canada.

Her travels eventually led her to the Washington, D.C. area.  “New York got to be too difficult, too expensive, just too many ‘too’s,’” she says with a laugh.  “I wasn’t photographing much anymore, so I thought, ‘What am I living here for?’”

Lida and Leslie in their Pet-Friendly Senior Living Environment

Both New York natives, Leslie Katz (left) and Lida Moser are now happy to be living at Revitz House, the pet-friendly independent living residence of the Charles E. Smith Life Community.

Now a resident of Revitz House, she is quick to share how much she loves the surroundings, the staff and her fellow residents along with the countless amenities in the community.  In addition she says, “The food is phenomenal.”

A HUD-subsidized residence, Revitz House enables individuals to be part of a warm and friendly environment with access to restaurant-style dinners and the security of a personal emergency call system and 24-hour front desk.  It is just one of the soon-to-be six residences on the Charles E. Smith Life Communities campus that range in healthcare services from independent and assisted living to outpatient medical care, in-home private duty assistance and outstanding rehabilitation. Revitz House, the Hebrew Home’s Wasserman and Smith-Kogod Residences, Ring House, Landow House and the Hirsh Health Center will be joined this coming September by the Cohen-Rosen House, an assisted living residence designed to care for individuals with memory issues.

“Beginning with the first Hebrew Home in 1910, we have grown, changed and adapted to meet the dynamic and emerging needs in our community,” says Warren R. Slavin, President/CEO.   “The move from downtown Washington to the campus in Rockville more than 40 years ago opened the opportunity to expand both in terms of residences and programs, always staying true to our Jewish values.  Our goal is to make life more caring, more vital for that one man, that one woman, that one family.”

On the campus is a full-time onsite medical staff that includes physicians skilled in geriatric medicine along with a podiatrist and nurse practitioner who specialize in geriatric care.  The community offers person-centered quality care and programs and services that touch so many families, and prides itself on being open to everyone in the greater community.

Lida Moser in Active Independent Living Residence

A well-respected photographer and pioneer in photojournalism, Lida loves the amenities, surroundings and staff at her retirement community, but she particularly appreciates being able to have her dog, Melissa.

This welcoming nature extends even further, as Lida will happily vouch alongside her trusted companion, a miniature greyhound named Melissa.  In addition to the convenience and many offerings at Revitz House, it is clear Melissa has played a vital role in Lida’s happiness and well-being as the duo has been together since 2005.  “I love animals and I love nature. I think she’s gorgeous and graceful,” she says.

As perhaps expected, Lida willingly admits that she ‘spoils her friend rotten.’    “I’ve been feeding her too much. Her little behind was like nothing when I got her,” she says grinning.

Leslie Katz
Like Lida, Leslie Katz hails from New York, where she was on a fast-track career path. “I had an incredibly fascinating job,” she says.  Over the years, Leslie obtained two Masters Degrees, lived all over the globe and learned to speak several languages.

Her world dramatically changed, however, when she became sick and needed to leave her job and ultimately change the lifestyle she had loved so much.  Her condition was very rare, and was undiagnosed for nearly 13 years.

Leslie started to modify her lifestyle to accommodate her disability and budget, but after living in New Mexico and Charlottesville, Va., she yearned to return to the D.C. Metropolitan area.  While researching options, she learned about the Revitz House, which met her three key requirements: a central location, affordability and, most importantly, it was pet-friendly.

Animals have been an important part of Leslie’s life, spanning back to her childhood passion for horseback riding.  She refers to her current dog, Comfort, as her “lifeline.”

“He’s a much loved dog here and people like having him in the community. He loves to come down to the lobby and see all his friends,” Leslie says with a smile.

Now in the “recovery phase” of her illness, Leslie is taking her love for animals one step further by enrolling in a two-year education program to become a veterinary technician.

Leslie Living Independently with her dog Comfort

Leslie is enrolling in a two-year education program to become a vetrinary technician. Her dog and "lifeline," Comfort, is extremely popular at the senior living community as he is often seen greeting individuals in the lobby.

Although she has a driver’s license, one of the reasons she chose to move to Revitz House is the abundance of public transportation nearby in combination with the community’s complimentary bus transportation for regular trips to shopping and cultural outings.  As a result, Leslie enjoys saving money and not having to worry about the other hassles of maintaining a personal vehicle. 

There will soon be even more advantages, however, for Leslie and her peers to enjoy on the Charles E. Smith Life Communities campus.  Over the next several months, the public areas at Revitz House will undergo major renovations and redesign.  As for other residences, the Ring House apartments are being upgraded with a fresh new look featuring new baths and kitchens with stainless steel appliances while at the Hebrew Home, the Rakusin Rehab Center will be expanding the size and capabilities of the therapy suite.

With these impending changes, a vibrant environment and secure lifestyle, Lida and Leslie could not be more pleased with the choice they have made. Though they have the ability to be mobile and access the many amenities outside their community, it is especially important for these two women to know that when they return, they have two special friends happily waiting for them.

“I know that when I go home, he’s waiting for me, and he’s ‘it’ for me,” Leslie beams.

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