Independent Living: Redefining Retirement

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assisted living keeps elderly couple activeTom and Miriam Timoney are always a bit curious when they hear acquaintances say that they “aren’t ready yet” to move into a retirement community.

“Why wouldn’t you want to add to your circle of friends and broaden your interests in an age-accommodating environment?” Miriam said. “Being ready doesn’t mean changing your life altogether.”

Despite their move to a retirement community, 79-year-old Tom, who is an Estate Planning Attorney, still continues to work nearly full-time hours. Miriam is enjoying her newfound time to herself, taking part in creative writing groups and brainstorming her memoirs she eventually plans to write for her nine children and 16 grandchildren. “Our home address changed, and our lifestyles changed for the better,” she said. “I’m so glad we made the decision to plan ahead.”

And plan ahead, they did.

After being on the Foulkeways at Gwynedd Priority List for just over seven years, the couple was pro-active in their decision to move. Tom remembered feeling the groceries getting heavier and the yard getting bigger with each passing year. “We made our move swiftly and efficiently in one step and moved out of choice, not necessity. By the time you’re ready to move, it’s already too late,” said Tom. “This was a gift to our children.”

Both Tom and Miriam stressed that staying culturally engaged was a top priority to them when choosing a retirement community.

“Foulkeways at Gwynedd has a great location because a beautiful campus with wooded fields, but it’s not very far from the cultural and sports hubs of Philadelphia,” Tom said. “We see performers from the Philadelphia Orchestra and ballet groups; we enjoy the cinema; we take courses with college professors about poetry. We are always connected to the arts.”

Though the Timoneys are both in excellent health, they are aware that their lives may eventually change dramatically. This couple believes it is far better to come to Foulkeways while they are healthy, to be prepared if a health condition should arise.

“We have the peace of mind knowing that we will be taken care of at whatever level of care we will require, and we know that we can be together,” said Miriam. “We know if one of us needs additional care, we can share an apartment in Foulkeways Assisted Living facility,” which is filled with two-room suites that were created with couples in mind.

Foulkeways at Gwynedd was founded on the Quaker principles of friendship, diversity and culture. The Timoneys, who are Catholics, feel at home in a community founded on those principles while appreciating the opportunity to worship and take part in the activities of their nearby parish.

“The residents care about each other, but not too much,” said Miriam. “Everybody gets enough of their own space, but if anybody needs camaraderie, it is available.” Every day the Timoney’s decision in choosing Foulkeways is reaffirmed as they experience the kindness fellow residents extend to one another. At the same time, everyone is given their space to be themselves, Tom and Miriam point out, knowing that when friendship is sought they will always find it available among the caring and accomplished people of this unique community.

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