Senior Living: Inspiring Connections

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Active artists find a place to call home

By Christy Brudin

Whether through careful study or active participation, successful artists are always connected to their subjects. No matter their method or their medium, they have to be engaged in their environments. Art is simply not for the passive.

It is no surprise then that Park View Communities are home to more than a few artists.  At Park View, active older adults enjoy a variety of social and recreational activities, 24-hour maintenance, and community amenities. With nothing to worry about, residents can focus on other activities—like connecting with their neighbors and perfecting their artistic talents.

Life Without a Car (and with a Camera)

Ed Sawyer on his retirement community grounds

Ed Sawyer can often be found walking around his independent living community with his camera at his side.

“Photography forces me to get out and keeps me very active,” said Ed Sawyer, a resident at Colonial Landing, a Park View community in Howard County. “Every day, I wander around somewhere, and I almost always carry a camera.”

The products of Ed’s journeys adorn the walls of his apartment. From a large buck in a nearby field to a bird perched on a snow-covered branch, they tell the story of a man who is intimately connected to his environment and feels very much at home.

Having lived around the world, the move to Colonial Landing to be near his two daughters and their families was an easy decision for Ed.  “When I was ready, I just packed my bags, and I came here,” he said of his move six years ago.

During his years in the Air Force, Ed was trained as a Russian linguist and lived in places ranging from Turkey to Japan.  Even after leaving the Air Force to spend more time with his growing family, Ed continued to frequently change jobs—and locations.

For Ed, new locations have always meant new places to walk. The avid walker averages more than two miles a day and has not driven a car since he was a teenager.  “I’ve never had a driver’s license.  I’ve never seen the need,” he said.  “I’ve always lived where I could take a train or a bus or walk.”

At Colonial Landing, Ed walks to the library and the senior center. He hikes around local ponds. He catches the bus right in front of the community to visit his daughter, and he often joins in community bus trips to local sites.

“It seems to me that you have to be active as you get older,” said Ed.  “You have to get out and move around and talk to people.”  At Colonial Landing, Ed has the freedom to be active and the time to be inspired.

Trading Memories for Adventure

At Timothy House, a Park View community in Towson, Ruth Gaphardt is making some inspiring connections of her own.  “I’m not one for hiding away. I like to be out, and I’m very active,” she said.

In fact, Ruth has become more active since moving to Timothy House and giving up home maintenance. “I think anybody is making a mistake if they hold on to their dear old home because they don’t want to part with the memories,” she said.  “You can’t live with memories, and this has been a fun new adventure.”

Ruth’s adventure has brought with it new friends and new opportunities to participate in a variety of community activities, including the Eating Together program. Eating Together is a Baltimore County program that provides nutritious meals at a low cost to seniors.  In addition to good food, the program offers a great opportunity for residents to socialize.

If Ruth is not at Eating Together or one of the other activities at Timothy House, she can often be found at nearby Bykota Senior Center, where she takes weekly art classes.  She’s even recruited a few of her neighbors to join in her art class.  “Our class is really like family, which makes it so nice,” she said.

When Ruth points out her paintings displayed throughout her apartment, it is clear that she is a star student.  Discussing a painting of the sunset over Smith Island on the Chesapeake Bay, she recalled, “I went there with a friend, and we just spent time painting and looking and investigating the island.”

Ruth showing her creativity at her retirement home

Through art classes at her local senior center, Ruth Gaphardt is pursuing a lifelong passion.

Community Connections

Artists like Ed and Ruth are as engaging and dynamic as the stunning photos and beautiful paintings they create. Moving to Colonial Landing and Timothy House has helped them to make new connections with their environments, their neighbors, and their communities.

“There is a great community spirit at Timothy House,” noted Sharon Murphy, Property Manager. “The residents really look out for one another.” That community spirit is seen during frequent activities and outings and is evident in the way the properties are managed.

“We are owner managed,” said Sharon.  “That’s very important to residents because we are always focused on improving the community.”

By offering affordable apartments for individuals with moderate incomes, Park View is giving active seniors like Ed and Ruth a place to call home—and a place to showcase their inspiring creations.

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