October 26, 2021
Smaller Space, Big Family Ties to Collington.
Happenstance first brought Barbara Morris to Collington. In 1996, she had to go to the community to drop off some local historical literature for resident Mildred Gray, who was chair of a committee supporting a celebration of Prince George’s County Tricentennial. Barbara thought she was going to Mildred’s house, but to her surprise, it was a retirement community “tucked away in a lovely, protected area” of the county.
Though they never met in person, Barbara muses that “Mildred is why I discovered Collington.” Little did Barbara know that a chance visit would become the beginning of a family legacy at Collington. Since discovering the community, Barbara has led many of her family members to live there: her stepfather, her brother, her husband’s parents, and her son’s father-in-law and mother-in-law. While thoughtfully choosing to be in a community where she would be close to family, she also discovered that a smaller-sized home was the perfect fit for her.
RESIDENT HIGHLIGHT OF THE MONTH
Multigenerational living was nothing new for Barbara Morris and her family. In 2013, she and her husband Richard joined their daughter and her husband in building an accessible, multigenerational home for the entire family (grandparents, parents, kids) in Hyattsville, MD. Barbara and her husband, Richard, were happy there and planned to age in place. But unexpected circumstances would eventually lead Barbara back to Collington.
The first family member to move to Collington was Barbara’s stepfather, Walter Smith. When her mother back in Alabama died, Barbara suggested that he come up to Maryland to be near the rest of the family, so he decided to move north. He was considering other communities, but while visiting Collington he decided on the spot to move in and took an apartment that was available immediately.
A short time later, Richard’s parents were visiting the family home in Hyattsville, and his mother had a medical emergency. After his mother’s convalescence, Richard’s parents realized they needed to move to a place where they could get more support. Being familiar with the community after visiting Walter, they decided to move to Collington and got an apartment overlooking Walter’s apartment. Family became neighbors!
After his parents’ move to Collington, Richard devotedly visited them every Friday, taking them to sing in The Arbor. This made him feel felt deeply connected to the community, and even after his parents passed away in 2009, he continued to visit and help with musical programs until his death in 2017.
The next family member to move to Collington was Barbara’s brother, Bill Gilmore. In 2018, she was questioning where he might want to live as he got older, but he wasn’t sure. He was living in his own home in Pennsylvania, and while he wanted to be close to family, he wasn’t yet ready to give up his home. Barbara cleverly suggested that he use a Collington apartment as a “summer home,” and when he visited Collington he decided immediately that arrangement was a great solution for him, so he moved in. He continued to go back and forth between his two homes, delightedly calling Collington his “resort hotel” and “cruise ship.”
Barbara enjoyed frequent visits with Bill, sharing meals and having drinks at the Ivy Bar. But in time it became harder to travel at night between Collington and her home, so she decided she would do what Bill did: get an apartment as a second home that she could use as she wished. That worked extremely well—the space was perfect for what she needed—and she loved being close to her brother.
When Collington shut down during the first COVID outbreak, Barbara and her brother knew that—for a while at least—they could no longer leave the community and return regularly. They faced a major decision: would they stay in their respective homes or stay more full-time at Collington? They both had no hesitation about choosing Collington. Living at Collington meant they could benefit from all the amenities in the community and remain close to one another as they got older. Their apartments offered them everything they needed while they needed to stay in place.
In addition to remaining close to family, Barbara continues to enjoy her busy life between Collington and her other home. She recently attended a performance by a favorite local R&B group, she regularly attends performances in the Ivy Bar, she and Bill host movie nights in her apartment, and she volunteers to deliver packages, which she reveals is “a great way to get exercise, as well as find out where everyone lives and visit with people in the hallway.”
As it was for so many family members, Collington is the right place for Barbara to be, and she finds her space the perfect fit for her lifestyle. She came from a very large house, but said that her new apartment is very accommodating and works very well for her.