Meet the Webers and join them on their journey to Fairway Knoll – 4th in a Perspectives blog series
With all the boxes packed and stacked and the last stick of furniture loaded in the moving van, Carol and Fred Weber closed the door of their condominium where they have lived for over 20 years. “Looking at it as we left, it wasn’t home anymore,” said Carol. She and Fred have been ready to move to their new senior living apartment for a long time. “I’m just glad the day finally came.” Carol said.
We introduced the Webers last fall and invited you to come alongside them to learn about their choices, decisions and experiences as this next chapter of their life unfolds. At 1 p.m. on June 27, Carol and Fred stepped across the threshold of their new home at Fairway Knoll, the newest PHS senor living community, located in Germantown, Wisconsin.
The community staff met them at the main entrance with a warm welcome and a smile. Among them was Danenne Hirsch, Housing Counselor, whom they met over a year ago as they were making their decision to move to Fairway Knoll. Carol and Fred were the first residents to reserve their apartment with Dannene. The Webers have been eagerly anticipating this day and, over the past several months, spent countless hours going through countless boxes and making countless do-lists.
Moving day finally arrived, but for all their careful planning, the final packing days were hectic.” We had so much time beforehand that we were relaxed. We didn’t realize how much we had left unpacked because we needed it to live,” said Carol. They found out that their life didn’t stop for the convenience of their transition. “I wanted some cheese, but couldn’t find a sharp knife,” said Fred. “Carol asked for some yogurt but I told her, ‘We don’t have a spoon!” he laughed.
Fortunately they had the assistance of their two sons, Fred Jr. and Michael. As the professional movers brought furniture into the 3rd floor apartment, Michael, a professional interior designer, directed its placement. “I've been able to help them with a floor plan of what items of furniture will go where,” he said. With his best suggestions, Carol and Fred had mapped out the arrangement on a printed floor plan of the apartment. The print-out, which for months sat on the dining room table of their former condo, is now on that same table in their new apartment, and the plan has proven to be a good one. Even Fred’s beloved roll-top desk, a point of compromise for Carol, seems right at home in their 2nd bedroom/office.
Meanwhile, Fred Jr. worked up a sweat hauling boxes from the parking lot to the apartment. “I’m taking bets on whether they find a place for everything,” he jokes as he drops another stack in the kitchen. The boxes are four deep and three high before he’s finished. “I still have my work cut out for me!” Carol admits as she thinks about the days of unpacking ahead of them.
Fred Jr. and Michael are also glad to see this day arrive. “We’ve learned from our parents, and they learned from their parents how to age well,” said Fred Jr. who feels that a senior living community in general, and Fairway Knoll in particular, is a good choice for their lives going forward.
Michael agrees. “Having services and amenities onsite will make it easier for them. And that fact that moving to Germantown to be physically closer to their church and friends in Menomonee Falls will be big plus,” he said.
Their sister Cindy Brengosz, who lives out of town, is especially happy and relieved. “I was thrilled to hear my parents had spent time searching for their next home and found Fairway Knoll. I could tell from my Mom's excitement that this was really something they were ready to do. It was not a decision made lightly,” she said.
All three children are especially glad that their parents made this decision together and for themselves. “I love my folks, and wanted them to choose for themselves and to choose well,” said Fred Jr.
Cindy adds, “This makes it much easier on us as their adult children, knowing we don’t have to make the decisions for them. It brings peace to my soul that they know what the want and where they want to be and this can happen in a way that they can enjoy.”
They enjoy doing this while they both are in good health and while they can do it together,” Michael said.
In the midst of their new surroundings, Carol and Fred have much that is familiar as they sit in their comfy chairs and eat at their dining room table. A high priority task was making the bed to be ready for their first night. They’re also eager to take on all that is new. “I want to just walk around and get our bearings. I’m looking forward to meeting out new neighbors. It will be fun!” said Carol. They’ve met their neighbor Wayne, who was the first resident to move in and lives down the hall from them.
While they plan to prepare and eat most of their meals in their apartment, Fred is glad to have the option of the dining room. “The daily continental breakfast is a plus,” he remarks. The morning community meal is included in their monthly rent. “It adds so much value,” he said, even though Carol reminds him that he’ll have to get dressed earlier to take advantage of it.
The Webers expect that while some of their familiar routines will remain, there will be adaptations to the rhythms and rules of the community. “We’ll adjust,” said Carol. They understand that such adjustments take time. It may be hard at first but they are confident that once they unpack all of their belongings and their daily lives become more normal, they will feel like they’ve settled in.
For now they are taking a deep breath and letting it all sink in. They are ready for the fun to begin in the days and weeks ahead. Looking out from their balcony, they can see Fairway Knoll’s circle drive and main entrance. It’s the perfect vantage point to see the community and their future come to life. “It already feels like home,” said Carol.
Previously in this series...
• Meet the Webers and join them on their journey to Fairway Knoll
• Envisioning Home
• What comes and what goes? The art of downsizing