Retirement Communities: A Foundation for the Future
“I was so impressed by the people, they just come up to you and really seem to care that you’re having a good time in their country,” said Sally, “You part as best friends.”
Perhaps there is one place, however, that can match the welcoming Australian atmosphere for the Jones.’ Not only will their future home, The Woodlands, a continuing care retirement community opening in spring 2008 in Fairfax, Va. be accommodating, but it has just the right environment to form strong friendships.
But this is old news for the Jones.’ After researching their options, it was the smaller size of the planned community and the greater chance of establishing connections that appealed to the couple initially.
“We looked at other communities and they were very nice, but what bothered us was they were very big,” David said, “The Woodlands will have 102 or so families which I think will be very nice.”
The Jones’ heard about the community from David’s Naval Academy classmates and longtime friends, and in turn they passed the word on to another former classmate.
“There will be three Class of 1953 Naval Academy couples in here,” said David.
Although they will know a few of their future neighbors, the couple said moving into a new community will allow everyone a fresh start.
“At another community we would’ve been the new kids on the block, but here everybody will be the new kid on the block,” said Sally.
Keeping this fact in mind, the staff at The Woodlands has made arrangements offering their future residents opportunities to become acquainted. Every month, they hold a luncheon at Wegman’s, which has proven to be a very fun and beneficial experience for participants.
“We chat and compare notes to see how far each person has progressed towards the move and if there are any newsworthy tidbits we might need to know that The Woodlands is doing,” said Sally, “It’s very nice to be able to start getting to know some people before we actually get there.”
And forming long-standing relationships with others is important for the Jones,’ who have been married for 53 years. Their families met through a mutual friend from the Naval Academy which introduced David and Sally at the age of three. He grew up in Asia and Los Angeles while she was born in New York and was raised in New Jersey. They were reunited when in their early 20s and David, after his graduation, went into the U.S. Air force. He eventually retired from the Pentagon and his position as the Naval Academy Class of 1953 Secretary, through which he wrote a monthly class column in the academy’s alumni magazine titled Shipmate. For three years now, David has been the President of his Naval Academy class.
Over the years, their family grew with two children and two grandchildren. Their son and daughter are very grateful for the couple’s decision to move into a continuing care community.
“We are doing this on our own and it’s not something they have to worry about,” said Sally, “Over the years a lot of our contemporaries had problems with their parents who didn’t want to move into a retirement home.”
For the Jones,’ moving into a continuing care community means a great deal after visiting Sally’s mother in a similar home in Florida and seeing the supportive care she received for 20 years.
“We have to face the fact that we’re in our 70s and it’s not going to be too long until we’re going to need help and we’ll be right where we need to be,” said Sally.
With The Gardens at Fair Oaks Assisted Living right next door, the Jones said that if something were to happen to either of them, there is a sense of security in knowing the other would be able to walk over rather than have to get in the car and drive.
Among the many reasons why the couple finds The Woodlands so appealing is the fact that there is Fairfax Nursing Center nearby.
“A friend of ours is in Fairfax Nursing Center and we visit there frequently,” said Sally, “He’s receiving very good care there and it’s a very pleasant place.”
For now, after living on their farm in Gainesville for 37 years, the couple is ready for a maintenance-free lifestyle.
“We just figured this way we could be freer while we’re still able to travel and have more fun,” said Sally, “When we would leave the farm, we had to worry about who would keep an eye on it, now it’ll be much easier to close an apartment door and turn the key.”
“It’s going to be much easier to get on a touring bus and go on trips to tourist centers and the Washington area,” David added.
And traveling will in fact be easier for the couple as The Woodlands is a convenient distance from Dulles Airport, Interstate 66 and Fairfax County Parkway. Its ideal location is also near Fair Oaks Mall and the Patriot Center, as well as various medical centers and places of worship.
What greatly interests the couple about their future home are the different social programs that will be offered. With its beautiful, wooded grounds, residents can take walks on the trails surrounding the community. The various activities and amenities at The Woodlands will also include a health club and spa, theater with fresh popcorn, library, and game room as well as an activity and creative arts center.
Another aspect of The Woodlands the couple enjoys is the staff’s accommodating attitude when customizing their apartment.
We had choices on the countertops as well as appliances such as a side-by-side washer and dryer,” said Sally.
The staff, knowing how stressful a transition can be, has also been trying to ease the process for future residents.
“A year ago, in January, they had a moving fair with a big luncheon and had all of the various venders there,” said Sally.
With the help of individuals at the community, the Jones’ were able to find a moving service to help them when they leave their farm.
“The staff at The Woodlands has been very pleasant to deal with,” said Sally, “They always seem to be upbeat.”
With the positive and helpful attitudes of the staff, and the various amenities offered at The Woodlands, the couple has many years ahead of them filled with relaxation and a sense of security.
Once they make their move, it is anyone’s guess as to where the Jones’ will visit after having seen Russia, Europe and Hawaii. But one thing is for sure for the couple’s future at The Woodlands: there will be no place like their home at this community.