My Journey to Otterbein: Joan’s Story

Posted by Otterbein SeniorLife on Jul 24, 2020 12:34:58 PM

Joan H. is a resident at Otterbein Pemberville. Below, she shares what brought her to Otterbein Pemberville and why she calls it a gift to her family. Keep reading to learn more about Joan’s journey.

Making the Move to Otterbein

When my husband Bruce and I were just 68, we moved to Otterbein Portage Valley (now Otterbein Pemberville). Most of our friends were very skeptical and actually thought we were crazy! 

We had been retired for about five years and loved to travel, especially to Central and South America. But each time we planned a trip we had to find someone to take care of our dog, as well as check on our home every so often, mow the lawn, etc.

We wanted to downsize, so we started looking for a smaller home and then explored retirement communities in the area. We chose Otterbein because of the rural setting, amenities, friendly residents, and outstanding staff. From our patio room, we could watch deer, wild turkeys, songbirds, and other wildlife.

Bruce was a life insurance agent and I was a physical ed teacher. He still kept in touch with many of his clients, but I chose to become active here on the Otterbein Board, head the Hospitality Committee, and join in the numerous activities. 

Life at Otterbein Pemberville

Our experience here has more than validated our choice. When we are not in a pandemic, the activities are many, the neighbors are friendly, and our very capable and willing staff do all of the yard work, house cleaning, (if you wish), and all household repairs that we don’t care to do.  

When we would travel, all we had to do is fill out an Absence Form. Someone, whom you indicate, will check on your villa or apartment often. Just lock the door and leave!

Transportation is an important feature here and often overlooked. When traveling, we were taken to Detroit Metro or Cleveland to fly to our destination. And we’ve been driven to many doctors’ offices and other spots.  

When we first arrived, the villas and apartments were only about 55 percent full! Now there are often waiting lists. The skilled nursing and physical therapy are excellent. Both Bruce and I spent close to three weeks in rehab after operations.

Now that Bruce has passed away, I felt a bit lonely and chose to move into an apartment in January, right before COVID-19 hi. The staff tries to keep us busy with crossword puzzles, jokes, prayers, etc., but it is a difficult time. I am lucky to be very close to the library.

I still feel that Bruce could not have left me at a better place, and after almost 18 years here, I know that Otterbein Pemberville is the best senior living community for me. 

Giving Our Family the Best Gift

I have seen many people move in here that have delayed their downsizing, and one or both has a health problem. 

When is the best time to explore your options leisurely? When you can do it at your own pace, not when one or both of you has a health problem. By doing it early, we have given our family the best gift possible.

Learn more about living at Otterbein and our independent living services to see what your life could look like here.

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Topics: Independent Living