Beth and Chuck Van Anden share mutual experiences of a life working in medical care and of watching their parents and grandparents live in Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). So when their home in the Adirondacks began to seem too remote, they started the search for a community that suited them.
“We actually looked at places everywhere between Maine and Florida,” says Beth. But Collington fit the bill.
“We had criteria,” Chuck explains. “We wanted to live near real airports. We wanted to be near trains. We wanted to be someplace where we didn’t have to drive everywhere. And we wanted to be near quality health care.”
Beth and Chuck know a thing or two about quality health care. Beth spent her career in healthcare research as a physician’s assistant, while Chuck, a family nurse practitioner, worked to increase access to care for underserved populations.
With their daughter in the New York City area and their son in Iowa, Beth and Chuck knew they needed a system in place in case something happened. After exploring their options, they moved to Collington where they could live in a cottage “with front and back doors” and enjoy the wilderness area the community affords and the metro area within easy reach. “Collington is a place that they can easily get to and know that the emergency measures are going to be available should we even need them,” says Beth.
As residents, Beth and Chuck have seen the care Collington provides first-hand and are involved in supporting and promoting quality care for all residents. Beth serves on the health care committee and Chuck is the District Representative for the Creighton Center, Collington’s assisted living and memory care neighborhood. “We’re trying to make sure that there’s not a separation between independent living and assisted living, so it’s not a mystery,” says Chuck. “What I observe is a caring staff, and that’s what I look for, for my sunset years, is to have someone who cares about me as they care for me.”
But moving to Collington wasn’t only about healthcare. “There’s as much to do as you want to do or as little to do as you want to do,” says Chuck. He recently “had the joy” of being in a play here. “It’s the first time I’ve been in a play since I was a flying monkey.”
Chuck also appreciates the primary care physicians who are available on campus through Collington’s partnership with MedStar. “We both use the clinic here for our primary care. We like and respect the practitioners that are there, and it takes us two minutes to walk to the doctor’s office.”
Beth appreciates being part of a cluster of 14 cottages which gathers every Tuesday after dinner to spend time together. “I think this really exemplifies a lot of the value and fun of the social interactions of Collington,” she says.
Having seen the care and community that their parents and grandparents experienced, they knew that moving to a CCRC would provide the resources that they need as they get older. And now their kids and grandkids are seeing it too. Beth and Chuck’s two grandchildren, aged 4 and 6, stayed with them in their cottage for 10 days, enjoying the trails and pond in the community and the nearby activities, just as their parents had done before them, visiting their grandparents in their CCRC.
“We’re deeply convinced of the importance of this model of senior living,” says Beth. “It’s not one size fits all, but the advantages of living in a community are clear to us.”