Independence Day

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For Virginia Fowler, a sense of independence is everything, but a home that allows her to maintain this attitude is even greater.

Despite being in a wheelchair, the former writer and editor remains active as ever in the supportive environment she has found at Plush Mills, a continuing care community in Wallingford, Pa.

“I feel like a completely independent person in control of her own life,” she said. “I can come and go as I choose.”

Virginia is able to continue her busy lifestyle that once included writing columns and articles for the well-known Harper’s Bazaar and Esquire Magazine. She raised three children who, after her second husband’s passing, helped her decide on her current home.

“They all agreed that this would be the nicest place for me to come,” said Virginia. “Being at Plush Mills makes my family very happy.”

After realizing she needed additional help when living in her apartment, she read an article about the up-and-coming community. Once construction was finished, Virginia looked at the apartments and had an informal meeting with the owners.

A resident since January, she now enjoys her cozy apartment in which she can easily store her portable wheelchairs. While she is able to venture outside of the community with her nearby family, she feels grateful in knowing a van is also available to transport residents.

Virginia, however, has found plenty of amenities and opportunities on campus that have made her life, and those of her residents, very enjoyable.

“I really do not know of any place that offers the range of entertainment and activities that Plush Mills does,” she said. “I consider myself very lucky to be here where there is a concentrated effort on part of the owners and staff to provide the best of everything to the residents.”

And the best of everything ranges from the exquisite dining that Virginia compares to a high-quality restaurant, to the community’s movie theater that enables residents to see nontraditional films.

“With everything we do here, I have to keep pinching myself and telling myself how fortunate I am,” she said.

The numerous ways to stay involved has helped form camaraderie among residents. Virginia said she has met several individuals whom she feels are on the same wavelength and share a similar outlook as her.

She has even joined therapy classes with others who are unable to walk. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday she engages in exercises that strengthen her upper body. The available programs are just another aspect Virginia adds to her list of how perceptive staff is when accommodating residents.

“They are very pleasant and go out of their way to anticipate your needs,” she said. “It is as if all of the staff is handpicked.”

While she said it is painful to give up one’s independence, Virginia has had no problem adjusting at her new home. “It’s easy to come here and have it seem as if you’re continuing your regular life,” she said.

For Virginia, the exposure to new ideas and activities that fit her lifestyle has far exceeded what she imagined when moving to the community.

“It goes beyond a roof over my head; it goes into the quality of life, which is very high at Plush Mills,” she said.

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