We recently interviewed Jane and Doug M., residents at The Cottages at Allen Springs. The couple has become very active members of the community and are also new enough to provide their fresh insight on their transition into this new stage of life and their new home. Let’s hear what they had to say:
Q. Why did you choose to move into The Cottages?
We began looking due to health issues, and initially looked at a place in Wyoming. Then, we heard about The Cottages and thought it sounded like what we were looking for. Before we came in, another couple had asked if they could come with us. They had also been looking for a while and had already visited 5 or 6 places. The ones we had all looked at were mostly buy-ins, not rentals. A few days later, the four of us came to look together, and our friends actually moved in before we did! We loved it too but wanted to think about it. During those two weeks, we kept telling each other “that’s where we want to live.” We also used to live in the area for many years, so it’s nice to feel like we’ve come back home and to be near our grandchildren.
We especially loved the 2 bedroom floorplan with the sunroom, and it really worked out for us that one became available for us.
We’re also so close to everything! Where we lived before, we were 25 miles from the nearest Meijer- or anything for that matter- so this is a very convenient area close to shopping and everything.
I should also mention that one of the key reasons we’re here is because of Jennifer, the Senior Living Specialist. We all say she’s our daughter, we all love her. She couldn’t be kinder, she cares so much about all of us, and she knows us all well.
Q. I know you love your sun room, but what are your other favorite aspects of the home?
We like the cathedral ceilings- it was the first thing I noticed when I walked in. It has a perception of being quite large and open. We came from a traditional home that was pretty segmented room by room, and our kitchen was just large enough to function as our gathering space. This is different because we now have an actual great room to gather in. It’s so light, open, and airy.
This is about the same size as our previous home, so it was perfect because we didn’t need to buy anything new- we just moved in! We were, however, surprised by how perfectly our antiques and belongings fit in here. We were afraid we would have to get rid of some things, but many are from Jane’s grandparents and other family so they’re special to us. The only downsizing we did was get rid of junk that we really didn’t need anyway! It was an easy move.
The home has given us a very comfortable lifestyle. This is a spacious place; when people come in, they say, “There’s another room? Another space?” There’s a big closet, a storage room, and there’s space in the garage. We also have another bedroom with an extra closet, so there’s a lot of storage here.
Q. How do you use the amenities, and which are your favorite?
Bible study. I go to a men’s group, and then we both go to an open Bible study on Fridays. We go to a lot of stuff at The Lodge, and we just love going there. I [Jane] do book club, and Doug also gets massages.
I love the fact that I don’t have to do the yard, all of the maintenance is done for me. It’s very easy living for us. We feel very comfortable and relaxed here. The doorbell will ring, and it’s the maintenance guys, and they’ll come in to change the filter, check the lightbulbs, and smoke detectors- it’s really nice. We have yet to wait more than a day after calling maintenance. We appreciate being taken care of, and to know that there are different levels of care available here that we may at some point take advantage of is one of the reasons we came here.
Jennifer sends out a weekly list of what’s going on, so we look at that to decide which activities and events we can attend here and around town. There’s a symphony at the performing arts center, or sometimes there are concerts nearby, and the community has bus trips that we look forward to attending. We sometimes have dinner at the Lodge which is wonderful. We go to almost all the special holiday gatherings like at Christmastime and Valentine’s Day. We were also in the talent show, we sang with a set of twins who also live here. We were on the “Connections Committee” and planned 3 months of activities with Jennifer.
When it’s nice out, we sit out on our porches, we go down by the pond, we go out and see people, and it’s also nice to just take a walk around the community.
Q. How would you describe the community environment at The Cottages?
It’s very relational. People are very friendly, especially in our little quad! We have a group of neighbors that are phenomenal! Every other month, we take turns in our homes having 8 of us over for dinner together. They’ve truly become our family. In fact- tonight is our night to host! Now some other groups are starting to do the same with their neighbors too. This is a new type of community for us because we lived in a house surrounded by woods so we didn’t really have neighbors.
I’ve also learned so much from the widows here. I look at these women, and despite the fact that they have lost their mates, they are strong and happy, and participate in the community. It’s so friendly and people are so caring here. We’re all here because we’re getting older, and many of us have health issues that maybe our kids or younger people can’t understand; it’s nice to be around those that do understand so we can talk to each other about it.
Q. If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering coming to The Cottages, what would it be?
Definitely get your name on the wait list! But first, you need to visit. If you need to visit multiple times, fine, but make sure you talk to Jennifer! When we visited, Jennifer took us to The Lodge to meet the staff, we saw some of the rooms there, and explored the amenities. It was important for us, at least, to see the whole property and discuss our options. Jennifer also had us meet some of the residents and had us sit with a couple and have lunch with them in the dining room to get their perspective and ask them our questions.
To be completely honest, I have yet to hear any negativity here. They really do take care of us. We’re rather spoiled here!