Sennior Living: From Grade School to Retirement

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active grandparents enjoying retirement livingKay Waltz still remembers the moment she saw her husband, Mark, back when they were both in elementary school.

“I knew who he was, but he was older than me, so he didn’t know who I was,” she recalled of the first time she saw her husband. “It was only after we were introduced when I was in high school that things really took off for us.”

After being introduced by mutual friends, Kay and Dr. Mark Waltz were married 52 years ago and have never been apart since. When Mark opened his own dental practice, Kay took the responsibility of raising their four children. When Kay became involved with the Women’s Club of Pennsylvania, and the Questers, Mark was teaching at Temple University School of Dentistry while still managing his practice.

They’ve pursued their own dreams, but have always done so side by side. The Waltzes wanted to make sure that commitment didn’t change in their retirement, especially if one spouse’s health declined. After extensive research and thoughtful discussion, they decided on Meadowood, a continuing care retirement community in Worcester, Pa., in central Montgomery County.

“We knew of other communities where a spouse would have to leave their home and travel for several miles to see a partner in declining health,” Mark said. “With Meadowood, we have such an advantage with easily being able to visit spouses because we have a complete health center on campus.”

The Waltzes also liked the community because of the dozens of friends and neighbors who also live there. Some came before them, and some came after them, but everyone in the group enjoys Meadowood and spending time together.

“We joke that we had built-in friends upon moving in,” said Mark. “I think that says something about a community when so many people you know opt to live there.”

Mark and Kay said they don’t quite understand why anyone would delay the move into a community like theirs. “Being in a dental practice, I saw so many patients who waited too long and lived in situations where they ran into problems,” said Mark. “When you join a group environment, it takes your mind off aging and puts you around people with likeminded ideas.”

While every day is different, the Waltzes seem to have found their niche in the Meadowood community, enjoying the many activities that keep residents’ schedules active and full. Water exercise, yoga, crafts, photography, card games and musical performances are a few of their favorite ways to fill their days. Meadowood also includes a membership in a local golf course for its residents.

“One thing I really like is that the residents are very considerate to one another,” said Mark. “One way to volunteer is to help people in the health center who are confined to a wheelchair.. Nobody gets left alone, so you’re not sitting at home by yourself.”

While some weekends are busy exploring sights around the Delaware Valley with the Trip and Travel group, others are spent entertaining friends at the couple’shome. The Waltz’s Bichon Poodle, DeeDee, has always been welcomed into the community.

“She is very popular with the residents,” said Kay of their dog, which she rescued from a shelter. “We’ve been here two years, and so everybody knows her by now.” Another appealing aspect of the community is its rural location, near historic Skippack Villagewhich is not far from the home where the children grew up. Just like their parents before them, two of the couple’s daughters have also married their high school sweethearts.

“Mark and I have known each other since we were kids,” said Kay. “I just can’t imagine my life without him, and while we’re living at Meadowood, we won’t have to worry about being apart.”

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