A Rewarding Relationship: Active Adults in Retirement Communities

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active adult in retirement community with daughterHal Gwinn recently celebrated her birthday on April Fool’s Day. One thing that isn’t a joke is her age-98! Meeting Ms. Gwinn is a remarkable experience, since at 98 she is still vivacious and living independently.

Ms. Gwinn grew up in the state of Washington and attended the State of Washington College, majoring in business. She came to Washington, DC, in the 1930s to work for the Federal Security Agency, now the Social Security Administration. She claims it was a terrific job; she helped find government jobs for people without work during the depression. She was an admirer of Franklin Roosevelt and, in particular, his wife Eleanor.

Hal has been living in a continuing care retirement community for nearly 18 years. “I visited all of the communities, and I praise this community in the care that they provide. My apartment is clean, and the meals are great.”

Although Hal may be old in years, she maintains an upbeat attitude and sense of humor. “I can’t manage all of my affairs like I could when I was younger, and I feel very fortunate to have nice people to help me.” One of those people is Laurie Duncan, a Geriatric Care Manager and Daily Money Manager. Hal hired Laurie in 1998 to help with paying bills. Since then, the relationship has grown – the company helped her set up her will, prepares all tax information for her accountant, communicates with her great nieces and nephews, keeps her power-of-attorney informed about her affairs, and visits weekly. Periodically, they enjoy outings together and recently visited the FDR memorial.

In the years they have worked together, Hal and the Choices for Aging staff have developed a bona fide relationship. Says Hal, “I like having her come to see me and help handle my affairs; she has been a lifesaver.” As to working with and learning from Hal, Laurie declares, “She is without a doubt the most upbeat and optimistic person I have ever met. The key to her independence has been remaining flexible and open to new people and ways of living her life.”

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