They wanted to be closer to their three children—spread out in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.
They toured Glenmeadow after looking at a handful of other life plan communities. “We fell in love with Glenmeadow right away,” Tanya remembers. “We were so pleased with how friendly everyone was.”
Tanya and Peter moved here in October 2013 and quickly made fast friends. Peter died unexpectedly just five months later, and Tanya said the support and condolences she received from fellow residents was heartwarming. “We were already like a family.”
Tanya is tremendously thankful for the five months she and Peter shared at Glenmeadow. She had a chance to enjoy our activities with him, and it allowed her fellow residents a chance to get to know her husband.
“It’s important to me that my friends have a memory of Peter, who was such an irreplaceable part of my life,” she says. “It’s important to move to Glenmeadow when you are healthy in mind and body, and not to wait. That way, you can create new memories in your new community.”
Ruth Schwarz and Cissie Kitchener also moved to our Life Plan Community with their husbands, Maurice Schwarz and Gabe Kitchener, respectively. Ruth, Cissie, and their husbands were all in good health when they arrived and had a chance to enjoy Glenmeadow.
“Move in while you can enjoy it and enjoy it with your partner,” says Ruth, whose husband died in 2013, shortly after their 70th anniversary. “So many widows and widowers are moving in on their own, which is a completely different experience. It feels more like starting a new life.”
Cissie, who was married to her husband for 67 years, explains that making close friends at Glenmeadow helped ease the pain of losing her husband. “When you move in and meet people, it’s like having a family,” she says. “People are concerned about you. When Gabe passed away in April, I had so many supporters. People made me feel like I didn’t need to worry; they were there for me.”
Now that they are living without their lifelong partners, all three women are grateful to be at Glenmeadow, where they are active members of our community. Both Tanya and Ruth work in the Glenmeadow store. All three are members of the Residents’ Council. Ruth is chairwoman of the Food Committee. Tanya is chairwoman of Neighborhood Parties, and Cissie remains in charge of the library.
They also attend lectures, watch entertainers and movies, take exercise classes, and play bridge most afternoons. The three women agree that new residents will feel welcome at Glenmeadow whether they’ve lived in Longmeadow for decades, like Cissie, or were strangers to the area, like Ruth and Tanya.
“Many of the people here grew up together,” says Ruth, who moved to Glenmeadow with Maurice in January 2012 from Florida to be closer to their daughter. “Maurice and I were strangers to the town, but we didn’t feel like strangers. We were welcomed right away. Everything is here at Glenmeadow that you could ever want to experience, and everyone is willing to help with whatever you need. That’s such a good feeling.”
Tanya adds, “I am absolutely amazed at the number of people who live here and have lived in the area all their lives. There are people here who are sitting at the dinner table with somebody they went to kindergarten with.”
As someone with a long local history, Cissie was familiar with Glenmeadow, having been invited here for dinner by her former neighbors, the Schoenbergs. When Cissie and Gabe moved in in August 2016, their fellow residents held a welcoming dinner for them and sent them a beautiful plant as a gift.
“I try to make other people feel accepted now,” Cissie says. “I want them to feel that they have family, too.”
Tanya and Peter moved here after Peter retired from his work in the transportation industry. His sister had worked for life plan communities in Washington, D.C., and informed them that Glenmeadow is among the top 100 communities in the country. In Tanya’s eyes, our community certainly lives up to its reputation.
“Everybody knows everybody by their first name, whether you’re a housekeeper, an aide, a maintenance worker, whatever,” Tanya agrees. “We get to know each other so well that some people feel like your brother or sister.”