Their Place in the World
Guide to Retirement Living
By Mary Clark
Carolyn and Richard Egan took off for parts unknown and full of adventure once their children were grown.Tiger safaris in Nepal, orangutans in Borneo, lemurs in Madagascar and polar bears in Churchill, Canada. Meeting new people everywhere, they traveled most of Europe, China, Vietnam, Cuba and beyond.
Travel turned out to be great practice for making smart retirement living decisions. They had explored different cultures and unknown landscapes while traveling light for the journey. Skill sets they learned along the way they put to good use again as they started researching retirement options.
“Don’t go into it with preconceived notions,” insisted Carolyn. “It’s like selecting a college. Go visit. Every senior community has a different personality; you look until you feel a connection. You’ll know when you find it because it just feels right.”
The Egans’ search began with geography, as many odysseys do, focusing on something convenient to children and grandchildren, and close to international airports. More accustomed to moving than most thanks to Richard’s career as a chemist for Merck & Co., they were familiar with the Delaware Valley and wanted to establish their retirement home in the area.
“There was a place that I had in mind and researched,” Richard explained. “But as we looked around, we realized that there was more to the selection process than floor plans. We really wanted to get it right.”
Questioning what would work for them, they accepted Pine Run’s offer to come and stay overnight in one of the new cottages at the continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Doylestown, Pa. They used the time to explore the Bucks County campus, naturally encountering friendly Villagers, as residents refer to themselves at Pine Run. A convivial evening of laughter and conversation over dinner wrapped up a day full of discovery for the two.
“That was our big ‘Aha!’ moment,” said Richard. “We looked around and realized that we not only liked the community experience but saw how easily we could fit into that environment. A retirement community lifestyle in general, and specifically the culture we found at Pine Run.”
Their old home was in a beautiful but remote setting, and as much as they loved living there, they recognized that being closer to conveniences made more sense. It was a relief when they discovered both important commodities at Pine Run. “One of the first things we noticed was all the green,” Rich said about their visit to the community. “It was a beautiful Bucks County landscape; the sort of natural garden setting that was familiar to us. Of course, we had heard all the good things about Doylestown and the healthcare that was readily available.”
Involved in scouting all his life and now a certified trainer of Scout leaders, Rich doesn’t need to be reminded to be prepared. “We’re both very active and in good health now. Science tells us what to expect. We felt we should be better situated for our age and I didn’t want Carolyn to have to manage that on her own.”
Even for the adventurous, settling into a new environment can be daunting, although Carolyn didn’t find it that way. “You just say yes to what you want to do, not what you don’t.” She found her comfort zone at the center of Pine Run Community life, the clever and indispensable Country Store, one of over a hundred different ways that Villagers get involved, volunteering their time and talent.
“It was the perfect way to meet everyone,” she said. “Wherever I go now, even in Doylestown, I see Villagers and staff members who I helped with purchases in the Country Store, selecting cards or gifts.
It’s a nice common ground. There’s always time for conversation or a friendly word or two.” Carolyn also stepped up to take advantage of complimentary art classes in Pine Run’s Craft Barn. The popular painting class is a good time for everyone, and something that might not have happened at all for Carolyn if she had not moved to the retirement community. The gift of time is one of the best benefits. More time in the day to say yes to something new and the real luxury of having a choice. The iconic Craft Barn, part of the original homestead, is filled with every variety of arts, crafts and creative hobbies. Carolyn may easily try other artistic mediums. Inspiration comes from being surrounded by all that activity.
Villagers participate and guide much of their agenda through many volunteer committees.
Not surprisingly, the Trips Committee at Pine Run attracted Richard. He explains that it’s an active volunteer group with lots of ideas and destinations. “There’s always plenty to consider. Philadelphia of course, particularly world class music at the Kimmel Center,” he said. “The best surprise was the range and quality of the arts right here in Doylestown and Bucks County. Town and Country Players is always a delight, and there are more festivals, concerts and museum events to attend than we have the time to go.”
Like many new retirees, Rich is busier than ever. His priorities didn’t change after moving to Pine Run, as he continues training Scout leaders how to instruct their troops in traditional scouting skills. So it happened that he discovered Pine Run Marketing Assistant and local Scout leader Sandy Cantone attending his how-to-teachknot- tying class. “I wasn’t surprised; Carolyn and I were impressed from the start with the management and staff members at Pine Run, who have their priorities straight. We found them open to new ideas, and they really always try to say yes.”
Likewise, the Egans have found that same word has jumpstarted their future. They said “yes” to something new, to finding the perfect home and to volunteering by reaching out to their community. What the Egans prove is that when people find their place in the world, no matter their age, it is theirs to step into and make the most of.