She Paints; He Frames: How These Grandparents Stay Active

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senior couple enjoying their retirement painting and framing“He’s my framer,” explains artist Rose Rains of her husband Lloyd. When Lloyd, a proficient gardener, is not busy framing Rose’s drawings and watercolor paintings, he can be found caring for his flowers and shrubs-with help from Rose of course. During their 61 years of marriage, the couple has raised two children, welcomed two grandchildren, experienced countless adventures, and found over and over again that they “work really well together,” as Rose says.

As she describes the art work that covers the walls of their new apartment at Mays Chapel Ridge, an independent and assisted living community in Timonium, MD, Lloyd points out his favorites. While he inspects the community garden where his flowers will soon flourish, Rose comments on how much work he has done. Having quickly settled in, the couple is busy adding a little more color to their new community.

Mr. and Mrs. Rains met shortly after Lloyd, who was in the Navy Air Corp., and Rose, a “government girl,” moved to Washington, D.C. Lloyd remembers, “I had just been transferred to the Naval Air Station in Anacostia. I went out for a walk one evening and stopped at the WCA where there was a dance going on. I saw two girls standing on the mezzanine; one was wearing a red dress. I was somewhat bashful, but I gradually inched my way up to her and made a date. You see how that ended up!”

Rose quickly adds, “We were looking down at all the dancers, and I kept saying to myself, ‘now why doesn’t he ask me to dance?’ Finally, he admitted that he couldn’t dance. We learned how later though.”

After a brief courtship, Rose and Lloyd were married in Washington. When Lloyd was discharged from the Navy, the Rains settled in New York where Lloyd worked for the Railroad Inspection Agency, a job that opened the door for his career with the Department of Agriculture. Lloyd’s new job would take the couple around the country before landing them back in the D.C. metro area. Because of her experience as a “government girl,” Rose always found employment wherever they lived. During this time, the couple raised their two children-Doug and Linda.

They moved to Maryland when their daughter, Linda, attended the University of Maryland. When Linda graduated, the Rainses settled in Virginia but decided that the next time they moved it would be to Florida. Rose explains, “Lloyd was always traveling for work, and he loved Florida. We knew that when we retired, we were moving there.”

Rose and Lloyd bought a house in Tarpon Springs, and Lloyd began to explore what had always been a passion for him-gardening. “I always said when I moved to Florida I was going to grow every fruit tree I could find, and I did,” he says. From orange trees to fig trees, the Rainses had a veritable grove in their yard. While the fruit was delicious, it proved to be a lot of work.

Lloyd laughs, “I was always fighting with the birds over my trees.” Rose adds, “We made preserves; we pruned; we did so much work.” Between keeping up with their fruit trees, their garden, and doing normal home maintenance, the Rainses felt like they still had full-time jobs. After deciding that it was time to relax, have more fun, and do some traveling, the couple moved to an active adult community in Sun City Center, FL.

Their move to Sun City Center proved to be a time of rediscovery for the Rainses, who learned how to dance. “We learned all the dance steps, and we had a great time doing it,” says Rose. After finally getting Lloyd out on the dance floor, Rose fulfilled another life-long dream: she learned to paint. She took classes to learn to draw and taught herself how to do watercolors. With less than a year of experience as a painter, Rose won a Blue Ribbon for one of her paintings at the Kings Point Art Show at Sun City Center.

After 18 years at the active adult community, Lloyd and Rose began to consider a move to an independent living community in order to avoid the continuing burden of caring for their large duplex. They also liked the idea of knowing that assisted living would be available should they need it in the future. After touring communities in Florida and Maryland, they found themselves more impressed by the quality of care offered in Maryland. Moving to Maryland provided the added benefit of allowing them to be close to their daughter and their grandchildren.

Rose explains, “Before we moved, my daughter was coming to Florida every time anything happened to either one of us, and we didn’t think that was fair to her. We were already considering a move when I fell and broke my rotator cuff and my hip at the same time. The recovery was very difficult, and it made us realize that it was time to make a move.” When their daughter saw a billboard for nearby Mays Chapel Ridge, she convinced her parents to visit the community.

During their visit to Mays Chapel, the Rainses first noted the smaller size of the community. “We didn’t want to live in one of those huge places,” says Rose. “Another thing that was immediately apparent was that the staff was all very friendly” she continues. The couple was pleasantly surprised to learn that there was no large entrance fee for the community, only a small application fee. This meant that they were able to pay the application fee without worrying about selling their house in Florida first.

Returning to a seasonal climate proved to be a welcome change for both of them; Lloyd gets some time off from gardening, and Rose has found new inspiration from the changing colors of the seasons. “I didn’t realize it until we moved back, but I did really miss the change of the seasons. I had actually gotten a little bit tired of all that steamy hot weather in Florida, and I had forgotten how beautiful and dramatic the colors are when the seasons change. That first year back, I spent hours collecting, drawing, and painting leaves,” relates Rose.

The move has added color to the Rainses landscape and their lives, in the form of new friends and exciting activities. Since moving a little over a year ago, the couple has quickly become involved in their new community. For the first time, Lloyd is tuning up his singing voice as a budding member of The Ridge Boys Choir, a mix of 20 gentlemen from independent and assisted living who provide musical entertainment throughout Maryland. Rose volunteers as an office assistant and in the community gift shop. Rose says, “We have gotten to know almost all of our fellow residents, and they are really wonderful people.”

Mays Chapel Ridge’s Executive Director, Amanda O’Neill, adds, “Mr. and Mrs. Rains are incredibly vibrant and active. They are very involved in the community and are so happy here. The great thing about our community is that it is only three years old, so we are able to develop targeted programs to meet our residents’ needs, and that really works well for residents like the Rainses, who take full advantage of our wonderful activities staff.”

Rose sums up their experience, saying, “We are just so happy here; it has all worked out so well.” Comfortable in their new home, the Rainses have once again made a fresh start. Adding a touch of fertilizer here and a splash of magenta there, they are now busy framing the perfect retirement.

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