Taking Advantage of her Retirement

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grandmother in retirement communityTrudy Brown retired after more than 20 challenging years as a school social worker and now finds herself enjoying an active, invigorating lifestyle while pursuing a long list of interests: study and book discussion groups, theater, art/independent films, travel, bridge and participation in various committees at Meadow Lakes,the continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Hightstown, NJ where she lives.

Mrs. Brown moved to the community in 2001, knowing that she wanted to come in early enough to take full advantage of the active lifestyle. When researching retirement communities, Ms. Brown said she met many CCRC residents who told her: “I should have made this decision five years ago.”

Not wanting to be in the same position, Ms. Brown says, “I listened and I learned-and I’m glad I made the move when I did.”

Ms. Brown is no stranger to a high-energy lifestyle. Just before retiring from the Cedar Grove Public School system, she plunged back into the challenge and vigor of college life. “I had always taken courses to enhance my professional skills, so going back to class seemed like a natural thing to do,” Mrs. Brown said. “And, I just enjoyed being with young people; I found it stimulating and exciting.”

Mrs. Brown said her course of study-gerontology-was a logical choice, considering that she was about to enter her retirement years. She began taking courses in gerontology at Kean College, ultimately completing the program and earning a Certificate in Gerontology.

“Perhaps it was that background that enabled me to plan ahead in researching CCRCs,” she said. “I did a lot of investigating. I began visiting CCRCs in the area. I’ve been to many of them, many times.”

Since moving to Meadow Lakes, Ms. Brown finds time to serve on the health care and activities committees. She said she was pleased to have a hand in adding more life-long learning programs to the mix of activities at the community.

Thinking ahead about retirement options, Ms. Brown said she liked the security of knowing that her needs would always be met. “Hopefully I’ll always be in good health, but I know that if I do need assistance, it’s here for me,” Ms. Brown said.

It was only after moving to Meadow Lakes, Ms. Brown said, that she discovered a surprising new aspect that her research had failed to uncover. “There’s something you just can’t quite measure,” Ms. Brown said. “In coming here, there’s a feeling of well being that you start to internalize. It lessens stress. I think this lifestyle does contribute to longevity in a very positive way.”

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