Do we make major life decisions, or do they make us? Is there a “right” time or is it just time? For Don and Marilyn Crosby, the decision to move to Oak Hammock came months before a worldwide quarantine. But health concerns and an uncertain economic market expedited a decision nearly two years in the making.
“Only thing I wish is we had done it 15 years earlier.”
With their children living thousands of miles away and their 80th birthdays in the coming year, Don and Marilyn felt the pressure to come up with a plan to prepare for the next stage of their lives. They wanted a community that would not only cater to their future health care needs but a place that aligned with their active lifestyle. Together, they searched and toured and made deposits at three continuing care retirement communities, or CCRCs, with those guidelines in mind.
Finally, in December 2019, they visited Oak Hammock. It was love at first sight! From the energetic community to the dynamic operations, Oak Hammock checked all the boxes. The Crosbys were ready to call the new community home–but there would be a waiting period. They followed protocol and were put on the waiting list.
In the spring of 2020, with the pandemic in full swing, Don and Marilyn grew restless. They were eager to start the next chapter and COVID-19 was creating some concerns. They checked on their status and wondered if the move could be expedited. Unfortunately, all that was available at Oak Hammock was a small apartment and they hadn’t lived in such a small space since they were first married. Don and Marilyn engineered a furniture layout, accepted the apartment and began the process that would change their lives.
They understood the transition during the pandemic could be challenging but they forged ahead anyway. Committed and determined, they listed their house for sale in the late summer and closed just three months later. As they continued to prepare for their move-in date, Don and Marilyn visited Oak Hammock every chance they could and regularly ate lunch in Duckworth Gardens. They took every opportunity to make a new friend.
When they officially moved-in on Friday the 13th, in November, a huge weight was lifted and the day would go down as incredibly lucky! Their atrium apartment was a comfortable size, and they wouldn’t change it if they could. On their second day at Oak Hammock, they found a welcome gift on their doorstep and the following day, another. Don and Marilyn immediately felt like they were part of the Oak Hammock family.
“I will say this, it was an excellent move for us and we couldn’t be happier.”
They wasted no time in joining activities and volunteering through various opportunities and have continued to make close friendships. Don is active in the workshop and volunteers in data entry for Oak Hammock websites while Marilyn found the quilting group and volunteers in the library and with Recycled Riches. Daily, the couple dines in the dining room to catch up with other residents. Now, half a year later, they have lots of friends.
“One thing I love about Oak Hammock is that you’re not alone. There’s a whole support system.”
Just over a month after they moved in, the COVID-19 vaccine became available. With their new Oak Hammock status, Don and Marilyn found they had the access and convenience that some of their friends back home had to drive far to obtain. Plus, in the shadow of uncertainty and previous quarantine isolation, the sense of community brought them relief. Don and Marilyn reflect on the decision to push against the pandemic and continue to move forward with the best move they’ve ever made.