Making the Move to Senior Housing with a Good Friend
Two longtime neighbors decided to research communities, but never imagined they would share the same apartment!
When Sean Foohey moved into his townhouse in Fairfax County, Va. in 1969, one of the first people he met was his next-door neighbor. The two immediately developed a friendship and support network that included sharing dinner and conversation nearly every evening. Now over 40 years later, they have made the move to The Woodlands Retirement Community in Fairfax, where instead of living next door, they are sharing the same spacious apartment and loving it.
Living together, however, was not their original intention when they began discussing the challenges of maintaining their homes, especially after several tough winter storms.
“We lived in three-story houses with lots of steps that were just getting to be too much for both of us,” said Sean. “What I really envisioned was living in a retirement community next door to each other, in two smallish apartments.”
Using resources provided by the Fairfax County Area Agency on Aging, including a copy of Guide to Retirement Living SourceBook, the two were able to narrow down the communities they were interested in touring. One day, while on an errand together, they realized they were near The Woodlands, an option on their list. Although a bit apprehensive, they decided to stop by without an appointment and see if they could look around. With a warm greeting from the staff, they were able to tour the community and several apartments. “We fell in love with the place,” said Sean.
One of the first things that struck them on their tour was how large the apartments were. Budget-conscious, the two realized that it might make sense financially to explore the alternative of sharing an apartment and noted that many of the models could perfectly accommodate this.
The apartment they ultimately chose features two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a spacious living room, dining room and kitchen. “It’s perfect for us. It’s like two little private suites with a common area in between and we love it,” said Sean.
Having lived in The Woodlands for only three months, the friends have settled in nicely. Its convenient location allows the two to regularly visit friends in their old neighborhood, attend the same church and still see their longtime doctors.
With a passion for music, they both enjoy the regular performances at The Woodlands. Sean sits on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Opera and The Woodlands has donated meeting space and refreshments for the board to have their monthly meetings at the community. He also enjoys using the state-of-the-art fitness center, one of the many amenities that drew them to the community. “I believe that you’ve got to use it or lose it and so I keep moving,” he said.
Most importantly, they like how the size of the community enables them to get acquainted with all of the other residents. “What we like about this place is it’s not too big. You have a chance of getting to know everybody, including staff. And we’re well on our way to accomplishing that,” said Sean.
This is not surprising for the two as one of the first residents they met referred to everyone at The Woodlands as a family. “They’re family and friends,” said Sean. “One of the things I hoped to accomplish was to meet more people and have people to talk to, and that’s happened really nicely.”