Residents Milena V. and Bill E. find companionship in walking Bill’s dog.

My husband and I moved to RWC in 2004 when I was 67 years old. From the first day here – when he unexpectedly needed medical treatment from the on-campus clinic – and over the next 20 years, living on our beautiful campus has been a blessing. My husband and I enjoyed nine carefree years of traveling the United States and abroad. We’ve received the best care day in and day out, and we formed friendships for life. This continues for me, now 87 years old, after his passing.

Because my in-laws had lived in a continuing care community, we understood that RWC would give us freedom and independence from keeping up a home and yard and everything associated with these time-consuming possessions. We also realized that it would take the proverbial “village” to raise senior citizens to a contented and secure life. RWC is such a “village.” The residents and RWC’s dedicated and well-trained staff form a caring unit that uplifts all of us.

In thinking about my life in this beautiful place, I’ve gained new insight. With more time for a leisurely life and contemplation, I’ve met an important person – perhaps the most important person of my life – ME!  

My childhood was brutally pockmarked by the dictatorial Nazi regimes of Germany and Austria, culminating in WWII, which called on so many sacrifices from all of you in the United States. After the war, my family moved to Prague, now the Czech Republic, shortly before another totalitarian regime – Communism – took over. 

As I’ve walked through our beautiful campus brimming with nature and wildlife, I’ve reflected on the dark, pesky, persistent memories of my childhood and early teens. I slowly and hesitantly began writing about my experiences and found it to be a great solace. In time, I wrote an essay, which I read aloud on campus to an audience of 65 residents. Their support, understanding and empathy was, and still is, healing.

Another insight I’ve gained is noticing that aging can cause a shift in priorities. An active prior life might now lend itself to a new slower pace. While a slower-paced former life may call for more excitement and participation in the many activities offered at RWC. Whether an introvert, extrovert or something in-between, anyone can fit in here. The choice of how that’s done will always be up to the resident.

Regardless, I know RWC’s natural setting with its lake, trails and wooded areas will continue to inspire and comfort residents, like it has me. Lately, my solitary walks have morphed into companionable daily ones with a friend and his faithful dog. Hurrah for flexibility in high age! 

Come and meet our exceptional residents and outstanding staff, and perhaps you will even meet a new YOU in our pleasant and supportive environment.

By Milena Van Sant

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