We recently interviewed Pat and Jim, residents at The Cottages at Allen Springs. It’s clear they value their family very much, as they spoke excitedly about their son, siblings, and other family visiting them at The Cottages. At one point in the interview, they also proudly showed me a beautiful gallery wall which neatly displays photos of their family history, and shared that Jim would like to record his life story one day to pass along to future generations.
Having been at The Cottages for just over three years, this lovely couple provided some great insight into life in the community, as well as how being here has allowed them to hold onto dear treasures from their late relatives and also remain active members of their family.
Q. Why did you choose to move into The Cottages?
A. We had signed up to live at another facility, and friends of ours suggested we check this out. We came, and immediately decided that we wanted to stay here instead of where we had originally signed up. It’s been really good since then! There are just so many features that appeal to us and meet our needs. There is also the option- if the need should arise- of assisted living and memory loss, and Jennifer [the Senior Living Specialist] is very helpful in saying that if that day comes, to let her know.
Q. What are your favorite aspects of the home?
A. It’s very easy to take care of. I also like the simplicity of the floorplans, and it feels so roomy and open with the vaulted ceilings; the angles are interesting so you don’t feel like you’re living in a box.
When people come to visit us, they always say that it’s so pretty and roomy compared to what they had expected. We get good use out of our guest room when our son comes or when my brother and his wife come. Anyone who visits can have their own bathroom and bedroom, it really works comfortably for everyone.
Another aspect that I like is that even though we’re renting, it doesn’t feel like it; it really feels like our home.
Q. How do you use the amenities, and which are your favorite?
A. There are just a lot of features available that make it easy to be here. We like that you can use the amenities as much or as little as you want. We are notified each week which events and services are available, and you can do them or you can choose not to. We’re still quite independent because I [Jim] drive, but some of our friends say the bus service is very necessary for them.
We occasionally will eat [at The Lodge], as it’s simple enough to arrange. They’ll even deliver meals here to your home if you want them to. Chef Eric did an especially wonderful job with Easter dinner this year. My son had to catch his plane back to Atlanta, so we just came back from church, ate at 12, had a few hours to be together, then our son jumped on the plane. We didn’t have to try to go somewhere and make a reservation. I’ve also enjoyed the breakfasts and exercising in the gym.
Q. How would you describe the community environment at The Cottages?
A. We have great neighbors, which has made being here that much more enjoyable. We really love that we can sit out on our porch and gather with neighbors or just wave hello as they walk by.
Jennifer started the Veteran’s Club a few months ago. Once a month, we go in there for coffee and cookies, and fight the war all over again! There are some interesting people- one of my friends is 97 years old and still quite sharp! We also enjoy The Connection, and we have a potluck that I keep reminding Jim to sign us up for! We’ve gone to music programs to hear wonderful singing, school groups, there’s a band, and lots of activities. There’s a lot of variety! I like that there is some communication between The Cottages and The Lodge. They try not to keep us separated, and which we appreciate.
Jennifer is wonderful and has been super. We try not to bother her a lot but she’s always there when you need her. Everyone that knows her says she’s the perfect person for what she’s doing- everybody loves her. She goes out of her way to let you know she’s available, and she’s so accommodating.
Also, the maintenance people are so responsive- we’re both in our mid 80s, so even though I can probably change a lightbulb, I can’t get up on ladders anymore. We had an unfortunate incident when our birdseed graced us with bugs in the house. The exterminator came out, and it was very easy- we didn’t have to do anything. I also know that if we as residents have a concern or a suggestion comes up, they discuss them at staff meetings. They work with us to try to add more services if we need them.
Q. If you could give some advice to someone considering coming to The Cottages, what would it be?
A. Don’t wait! Come early rather than later. Some people wait too long. We know it’s a big decision and you don’t want to leave where you’ve been for the last decade or two of your life, but listen to your kids. Don’t wait too long and come out here as early as you can so you can be comfortable and enjoy this.
Also- downsize! We all know it, but we still bring too much. When you get to this stage of life that we’re in, it’s time to start getting rid of some things.
I’ll say this- I don’t know where I’d rather be. I mean that. We’re content, we’re safe, and we’re comfortable. It meets every expectation that we had hoped for in a retirement community at this stage in our life. Our children like this too. Our son visits us from Atlanta, and he says it’s so comforting to know that we’re happy here. Over all, it’s been a good experience, and such a great fit for us. Since I’ve moved in, I’ve had to use a walker, and I’m glad I was here when that happened. I can’t think of anything I would change.