October 28, 2020
Ron and Mark moved into the Cartmel neighborhood after looking at many retirement communities around the country. Mark was a painting conservator and Ron taught elementary school in the Washington, D.C. area. They knew they wanted a community that would offer them everything they loved, but one of the most important factors was that it would be welcoming of LGBTQ residents.
“We don’t have our own children, and we didn’t want to be dependent on our nieces and nephews for care as we aged,” Ron stated. “We wanted to live in an accepting community and to be sure there were different care levels available in case we needed them over time.”
Kendal-Crosslands Communities was the first community they looked at. On that visit, they met one of the neighbors who was a United Church of Christ minister who said to them, “Oh, you belong here!” and those words ended up being prophetic.
But Ron and Mark wanted to make sure they chose well, and they researched communities all over the country. They ended up touring several of them, including Collington in Maryland and Lathrop in Massachusetts (both Kendal communities), as well as others in Colorado and New England. In the end, and after looking so widely, they still felt most at home at Kendal-Crosslands.
“Of all the communities we toured, the Kendals were the only ones with their policies fully stated in a written document — the Kendal Values and Practices (Opens in PDF). Other communities gave lip-service to tolerance, but no one else wrote it down.”
Mark and Ron chose Cartmel in part because they are still relatively young — in their 60’s — and knew that they could always move to Kendal at Longwood or Crosslands later. They both said they felt welcomed and at home right away. Everyone was very friendly, and neighbors promised to “have our back” as they were moving and settling in.
“The neighbors are really warm, but not invasive — there to help, but not to pry — and we feel right at home here.” The Caring Committee helps everyone get oriented and feel included, and that’s important when you aren’t originally from this area.
At Cartmel, the neighborhood gets together twice a year for banquets, in the spring and at the winter holidays, and they have an outdoor celebration on July 4th as well. There are also “No Frills Friday” events, which the neighbors take turns hosting. Everyone gets together for a glass of wine and brings hors d’oeuvres to share. No Frills Fridays are a great way for the community to bond and for individuals to get to know one another.
Easy to Get Involved
Just as at Kendal at Longwood and Crosslands, residents at Cartmel have various committees, and most residents participate where they choose. Mark and Ron are co-chairs of a committee that maintains the meadow and the trails. Mark is on the property committee, which helps residents identify problems with their homes and communicate those to the Kendal-Crosslands maintenance staff. They’ve helped ensure that the numbers on all the homes are standardized and easy to read for emergency services, for example.
Ron and Mark are also exploring the area. Ron has been participating in a meditation group in Wilmington. Both enjoy hikes in the nearby nature preserves, and also going into Philadelphia and Wilmington. “We use the gym at Crosslands regularly and have taken pottery classes there. There are so many choices of things to do — plus the Crosslands cafe is a great place to have a good (and affordable) lunch!”
Once a month, the LGBTQ residents of Kendal-Crosslands Communities also get together for dinner and ice cream. They share stories and talk about what’s important to them. The dinners are postponed right now because of the pandemic. Zoom is allowing neighbors and friends to keep touch and committees to meet during this time.
Mark and Ron said they were very impressed by the responsiveness of the staff in this difficult time. The residents at Crosslands are having Zoom cocktail hours and “Dining Services even delivers a box of hors d’oeuvres for each person — they really think of everything!”
“We’re happy to have found a home where we feel safe and loved just as we are.” Cartmel has ended up being the perfect fit for Ron and Mark. It is a welcoming community that is accepting of everyone, and it’s something they feel and experience every day. The beautiful, natural surroundings and the easy accessibility to everything that Wilmington and Philadelphia have to offer makes Kendal-Crosslands Communities a great choice. Everyone is celebrated for who they are, and honored for the contributions that help weave the colorful fabric that makes up the Community.