Lessons Learned–The Lutheran Village at MILLER’S GRANT
By Christy Brudin
Bill and Jan Nelson both became teachers later in life. They came to the profession hoping to help others and quickly found that the biggest reward of teaching is the lessons you learn. However, despite all their students have taught them, the single most valuable lesson they ever learned didn’t come from a classroom or a textbook; it came from their parents.
After spending her childhood in Baltimore, Jan attended college in Tennessee before returning to the area and settling in Ellicott City, Md. A stay-at-home mother of two daughters, Jan also taught second grade for several years.
Jan’s love for teaching has only grown since she retired. Through her church, she has been teaching English as a Second Language to adults for the last ten years. “I love meeting so many international people,” Jan said. “I teach people who speak no English at all, and it is just wonderful.”
Teaching ESL has also given Jan the opportunity to travel—both physically and mentally. “I travel around the country and teach others how to teach English. It’s fun and incredibly rewarding,” she said. “I also learn so much about other countries. I may never visit Korea or China, but I’ve learned a lot about them in the last ten years.”
For Bill, teaching was a second career. He left his native Hampton, Va., as a young man to attend college in North Carolina. After graduating, he took a position as a mathematician for the Social Security Administration in Baltimore. Bill served in that role for 30 years before retiring.
Shortly after retiring, Bill found a teaching position that allowed him to share his passion for math. For the next 15 years, he taught math part-time at a private Christian school. He retired for the second time just three years ago.
Bill and Jan met at a church in Ellicott City. They became friends long before they became a couple. “We were friends first, and our children were friends,” Jan recalled. “Now, we’ve been married for 12 years, and together we have four daughters and nine grandchildren.”
As they started to plan for their future, Bill and Jan looked to his forward-thinking parents for inspiration. “My parents moved into a retirement community when they were 70, and they lived there for 20 years, with various levels of care,” Bill said.
When his parents initially made the decision to move to a continuing care retirement community (CCRC)—a decision that was incredibly unusual among their peers—Bill had his doubts. “Initially, I thought it would never work for them,” he recalled. “But it did work, and it worked very well. Every time I went down to visit them, I remember thinking, ‘I wish I could live like this. This would work for me.’”
An only child, Bill was grateful for his parents’ foresight. “My dad didn’t want to wait until they were at a point in life where I’d have to make the decisions for them, and that was a good thing for all of us, and such a relief for me,” he said.
Seeing Bill’s parents flourish in their retirement community really influenced Jan as well. “They were initial residents of the community, and that was a very positive experience for them,” she recalled. “Because it was so positive for them, and because we saw them move through the various stages of care—and saw how well they were cared for—that made a huge impact on us.”
When Bill and Jan found out that a brand-new retirement community was being constructed in their beloved Howard County—where retirement living options are limited—they were thrilled. The couple quickly became charter members of The Lutheran Village at MILLER’S GRANT.
The Lutheran Village at MILLER’S GRANT is sponsored by Carroll Lutheran Village, a CCRC in Westminster, Md., with a long history of success and financial stability. “When Carroll Lutheran Village was presented with the idea of developing a senior living community in Ellicott City, we saw it as an opportunity to extend our mission of service to an exciting new area—one that had limited resources available for the aging population,” explained Geary Milliken, President/CEO of both communities and a leader in the field for more than 30 years.
The new community will feature senior living apartments and single-family and duplex homes, all in a beautiful Ellicott City location. With stunning homes and resort-style amenities, MILLER’S GRANT will provide residents with a world-class retirement experience. Residents will also enjoy the security of knowing that their health care needs will always be met, either in their home or in the state-of-the-art Care Center on campus.
“We’re so excited to be moving into a new community,” Bill said. “I think the average age tends to be younger for new communities, and younger populations are more likely to be active and involved.”
Jan added, “In a new community, you are able to easily make friends. Cliques haven’t been established. Everyone is excited to be in a new place, and they are all in it together.”
While the couple is excited to be moving, they are delighted to only be moving a few miles. “It is so important to us that this community is in Howard County—the first of its kind right here in this county,” Jan said. “We are very involved in our church that is right up the road and so much of our family lives here, so we can stay connected.”
Having found a community that meets all their needs and is close to home, Bill and Jan now have a sense of relief. “We’ve seen people who have waited until the last moment to move, and it’s never good,” Bill recalled. “If you wait until your health is going downhill, you can’t really enjoy the advantages that a retirement community like this has to offer.”
In addition to their own peace of mind, the couple is glad to know that the burden of care decisions will never fall on their children. Bill explained, “No parent wants to be a burden on their kids. Now, we can make all the decisions and work through the process of moving and downsizing without having to clutter up their lives.”
Both Bill and Jan are looking forward to helping build an active and close-knit culture at MILLER’S GRANT —and to watching the community grow. “We know from watching my parents, that moving into a new community will be a positive experience,” Bill said. “My dad loved being one of ‘The Originals’ at his community, and I’m sure we will too.”
Both accomplished teachers, Bill and Jan have proven to be even better students. When Bill’s parents provided an example of how to create a rewarding retirement, the couple watched closely. Now, having found their own brand-new retirement community at MILLER’S GRANT, they are ready to apply the lessons they learned so long ago.