August 14, 2020 —At Kendal-Crosslands Communities, we have residents who have come from all over the United States and even overseas, to take advantage of everything our community has to offer.
Bill and Gail Van Wie have travelled the world, but lived for much of their lives just outside New York City. Bill worked at Columbia University, and Gail worked as a medical social worker at a hospital in White Plains, NY. When they were looking for retirement living options, they started by asking friends. One close friend had done significant research, and told them about continuing care retirement communities.
“We knew that’s what we wanted,” Bill and Gail agreed, based on the issues they faced caring for their elderly parents. Gail’s mom was in a community close to the Canadian border in Upstate New York, and Bill’s mom was in West Virginia. “Trying to make sure they got the care they needed from a distance was hard, and we didn’t want to put our kids through the same thing, “ Bill said. Their friend said that the Kendal retirement communities were the best she found in her extensive research, so Bill and Gail started looking at the different Kendal communities, and liked what they saw.
“We visited several of the communities, and it was clear Kendal-Crosslands Communities was our first choice. We came several times to visit, and spent time talking to residents. That’s the best way to figure out if a community is right for you- spend time with current residents- after all, they will be your friends and neighbors!”
We talked about the other options, including staying closer to New York City. Since they both wanted to be close to nature and Bill loves fly fishing, they knew they didn’t want to live in a high rise. Also Gail loves music and the arts and still wanted to have access to the symphony and theater that they love. “I have tickets to the Philadelphia Orchestra and we have tickets to People’s Light playhouse, and it’s been terrific.”
Bill frequently takes trips out to fish all around the area, and ties his own fishing flies. You can see his eyes light up when he talks about the ability to get out there and really enjoy nature. Bill’s also active on the Kendal Nature Conservancy and the trail team which maintains the seven miles of trails here on campus.
Their kids and grandchildren live about 90 minutes away, as Gail says “Close enough to go down for the day or to see a school performance, but still be able to be home the same night.” The grandkids are regulars at Kendal at Longwood, and stay with them in their one bedroom with den cottage. “We have all the space we need, and in fact, we spend so much time at the Center and out doing things, sometimes it seems like we’re not here that much! I overheard a child say “Grandpa, I love your big house! “ while walking through the main center, and that’s just what it’s like- we have so many resources available.”
What was important to them in making the decision to move to Kendal-Crosslands can best be described as Value meeting Values. Moving to Kendal-Crosslands was an affordable option for retirement and the guarantee of Life Care meant they didn’t have to worry about health care down the line if it were needed. “When someone needs to be in the hospital, they can just come here to recuperate, with our fantastic physical therapists- and that’s so comforting- to be with your friends and trusted caregivers.” “You can see it especially when some people start to have memory problems- it’s such a comfort to be around friends,” added Gail, who volunteers with the therapists in the Skilled Nursing area. And it’s also a blessing if one person in a couple has medical issues- their spouse is just close by, and never has to worry about travelling across town to be with them. Bill and Gail have seen that happen to friends who live outside of Kendal, and it gives them peace of mind to know they’ll never be in that situation.
This sense of community and community support was what set Kendal-Crosslands Communities apart. “We knew from visiting and talking to residents that this was a place where we could live our lives to the fullest, with other people who shared our same interests and values.” Even though they came to Kendal-Crosslands not knowing anyone, they felt right at home almost from the start.
While the first few months always seem like a whirlwind and can be exhausting, they both found groups and activities they loved, and so many interesting people and opportunities to learn and explore- it clearly helps keep everyone engaged. Both Bill and Gail raved about a wonderful literature course that was taught by a resident who had been a Dickens Scholar. “The opportunities to learn, the book clubs, and the intellectual life here is amazing. The people here have a sense of curiosity and we’re always learning and exploring,” Bill said. “There’s also a new film class a resident is running, showing some amazing and diverse films- it’s great.”
And it’s clear that that spirit of curiosity and always learning something new really shines whenever you talk with Gail and Bill.
Bill and Gail chose to get on the waiting list at Kendal-Crosslands while they were still in their 60’s, and moved in when they were both in their early 70’s, about six years ago. “We no longer have to worry about shoveling the driveway, or the damp in the basement- everything’s taken care of,” and they clearly spend their time exploring the area, going out to a new Indian restaurant with a group of friends from Kendal, and of course, looking for new trout streams for Bill.
If you’d like to learn more about Kendal-Crosslands Communities and the opportunity to live in a community that is truly transforming the experience of aging, please click below to download our digital brochure.