“It’s like being on a cruise ship, there’s really everything you could want.”
– Judy Davis
High school sweethearts Judy and Sam always loved the adventure of traveling. They enjoyed their early retirement touring the U.S. and Canada and wanted to see and do as much as they could. When it came time to decide where they would retire in place, there was no question. They grew up in Gainesville and knew, despite 61 years of being away, that they would return to the place they always called home.
They have no children, and Sam has some advanced medical needs, so Judy wanted to be sure they were in a community where they would have access to multiple levels of care in one place. In previous years the couple lived in St. Petersburg, Florida where they were responsible for the care of Sam’s mother. They watched her as she transitioned from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing–each stage having to move to a different facility. To visit her, they would have to drive across town, sometimes fighting horrendous Tampa Bay traffic. Both Judy and Sam knew they didn’t want that for each other. They thought it would be best to get into a life plan community equipped with a continuum of care at one location.
When they made their ultimate decision to move to Oak Hammock, the world was grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic–but that didn’t stand in Judy and Sam’s way. As the pandemic’s seriousness became apparent, they came back to their hometown and toured Oak Hammock. The comprehensive continued care had them sold. They loved how it would be just a short walk to visit the other should one of them need rehab or memory care.
Despite the pandemic, Judy and Sam were able to get everything in order and made their way up to Gainesville for the big move. They sold their condo and stayed in their Airstream trailer for three months until their Oak Hammock apartment was fully renovated.
Now that they are settled in, they feel at home. Living in their atrium apartment reminds them of living in a row house, and it’s much more peaceful than their life in St. Pete. Plus, they love the convenience of having everything right on site, from veterinary services for their pup, Maggie, to skilled nursing options for them.
Even though the decision wasn’t made because of COVID-19, Judy and Sam discovered the benefits of moving into a CCRC during the pandemic. At Oak Hammock, all the things they might need were right there on campus. They didn’t have to leave if they didn’t want to. They were welcomed to go anywhere on the 136-acre campus, and they never felt isolated or alone. Their first-floor apartment is perfect for taking their dog, Maggie, for walks, and the virtual classes through the Institute for Learning in Retirement allow them to participate and meet new people. Plus, the proximity to the university provides access to medical care at UF Health.
Today, Judy and Sam are still meeting new neighbors and finding ways to engage in the community. Sam is often at the woodworking shop, and Judy hopes to soon resume Mah Jongg. They’re well on their way to happiness in their new forever home!