Assisted Living: The Best Kept Secret

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seniors enjoy retirement home rural setting in virginiaSometimes a secret is so good that you simply can’t keep it to yourself. In the case of Bishop Gordon Charlton, his way of life at Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury was just too enjoyable not to recommend to his friends.

When Mr. Charlton, a bishop who has been retired from the Archdioceses of Texas since 1989, heard that Ellen and Peter Bennett, with whom he had been acquainted through church, were considering a move to his community, he wanted to share his secret to a successful retirement right away.

“I invited them over to my apartment, showed them around and told them that they would love it here,” said Mr. Charlton. “There’s something here for everybody.”

Some view retirement as a time to slow down from the rapid pace they’ve become accustomed to during their working years. Others see it as a time to seize the opportunity to fill their planners and add to their “To-Do” Lists.

For Mr. Charlton, a self-professed bookworm, the leisurely, peaceful way of life is what drew him to the continuing care residential community in Irvington, Va.

“I liked the rural setting,” he recalled. “I’ve lived in major cities my whole life, maybe what’s why I wanted to get away from the busy lifestyle.”

The Bennetts, conversely, were attracted to the Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury for precisely different reasons.

“There’s always something going on here, and it gives us the opportunity to be active in the world around us,” said Peter. “Plus, there is always the opportunity to interact with others because of the intimate size.”

Peter and Ellen did not give much thought to the idea of moving to a community, but considered it a priority after visiting a relative whose community was comfortable and attractive.

“We weren’t even contemplating a move, but after visiting her in her new place we thought we might have some thinking to do,” recalled Ellen. “We wanted to do it for our children.” She and Peter searched newspaper advertisements and consulted with friends about their ideal new home.

From the first time the visited Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury, the Bennetts knew they had found something special.

“Just as Bishop Gordon said, it was a great fit for us,” said Ellen. “We were very warmly received and we loved all the activities that were offered.”

The Bennetts had always lived an active and itinerant lifestyle, living in India for two years during Peter’s sabbatical from his career as a high school social studies teacher. They both enjoy volunteering at public libraries, church and with school groups. Ellen enjoys the exercise program offered at Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury, serves on the board of residents, plays hand bells at their church and belong to a drama group.

“We are not short of things to do here,” said Ellen. “It’s really great for the soul.”

Peter, who teaches adult education classes on India, plays darts, sings with a barber shop chorus and partakes in foreign policy discussions, agrees.

“We moved here being just 70 years old and some people thought that was too young,” he said. “But we wanted to be young enough to be involved with everything they offered.”

However, there are still those residents at Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury who take joy in the slower pace of life.

“You can freely pick and choose what you want to take part in,” said Mr. Charlton. “As for me, though, I don’t feel any pressure to be anything other than be my bookworm self, and I love every minute of it.”

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