Selling a house
While her husband Ray was ready to take a look at retirement living, Joan Wickham wasn’t quite as sure. Looking at the scope of such a move made Joan hesitant.
The Keizer, Ore. couple would have to sell their home in a buyer’s market and downsize, parting with many of the valuables they spent a lifetime collecting. Plus, their daughter Debra lived close to them and offered to provide the support they need.
“In my mind, I always felt like we would stay in our home,” Joan said. “Plus, our daughter lived fairly close and could provide support for us.”
But after experiencing a series of medical problems that forced him to use a cane, Ray had difficulty navigating the family’s home.
“As time went along, it was harder and harder to do things,” Joan said.
After three years of living in their home, the Wickhams decided to explore retirement communities after enjoying a visit with friends at Hidden Lakes in Salem, Ore.
The couple toured Madrona Hills, also in Salem, Ore., and was “very satisfied” with what they saw. Madrona Hills’ independent retirement lifestyle suited them perfectly, allowing them to receive the support they need while maintaining their independence in a secure environment.
“We realized that moving there would make our lives much simpler with a lot less cooking and housework,” Ray said. “Plus, we found the food to be very good and the building to be very accessible since I use a cane. We both came to realize that this is what we should do.”
During her tour and subsequent visits, Joan met many of the community’s residents and was able to learn about their experiences.
“Many of the ladies I talked to said that moving to independent living was the best thing that ever happened to them,” Joan said. “Many had moved in with their husbands and their husbands passed away. The ladies then had support from the community right there. They didn’t’ have to make tough decisions alone.”
The Wickhams made sure to include their daughter in the search process. Once they received her blessing, the couple began prepping to make the transition.
“It was a little stressful because of our age, compared to other moves,” Ray said.
The most difficult part of the process, Joan said, was downsizing. The couple eventually donated many items to a local church.
“We were in a bigger house so we had to get rid of things that had been with us for our whole married life,” she said. “But we got to bring the things that meant the most to us. And, once we both came to the belief that we were doing the right thing, we relaxed and enjoyed the move.”
Once settled in, it didn’t take long to understand they made the right choice.
“The actual thing that surprised me was that it was easier to walk out the door of our home for the final time,” Ray said. “We are opening a new chapter. We’ve both been quite pleased with this move.”
Any move, particularly one late in life, can be stressful and present many challenges. The Wickhams experienced many hurdles during the process, but they worked through them together while never losing sight of the ultimate goal – to live a more secure and carefree retirement lifestyle.