Embracing the College Spirit in Retirement Living

“It’s fun to be old at Bethany Village,” is how resident Beth Shank sums up her freshman year in the community. “I seriously feel like I’m living on a college campus.”

When Beth, 66, and her spouse Terry Wise, 65, moved to their Bethany Village East Cottage in July of 2020, most of the world was in some stage of lockdown. But Beth, a former nurse, knew the benefits of a continuing care retirement community, especially during a global pandemic.

The couple was so impressed by Bethany Village’s infection control and safety protocols, they accelerated their move by five years, left their house on the Delaware shore and moved. “We both used to work in this area and have family and a large network of friends, so we knew we wanted to come back here,” Beth says.

Jumping into community life

As a gay couple, Beth wondered if she and Terry might have problems fitting in. But those worries soon evaporated. “We have been welcomed with open arms, and it warms my heart,” Beth says. “We have great, accepting neighbors. I wish we had moved here years ago.” In 2024, Beth and Terry shared more about their experiences as LGBTQ seniors in this video.

They love swimming in the pool, taking fitness classes at the gym, enrolled in line dancing classes, signed up for a disc golf clinic, and have refined their ping pong skills, regularly taking medals in Bethany Village’s own Olympic-style summer games. They love greeting neighbors as they ride their bikes around campus with their cat Rusty strapped into a carrier.

Giving back is also an important part of their lives. Because both of their mothers have been affected by Alzheimer’s, the couple volunteers weekly at the Oaks, the skilled nursing facility on the campus. “We love doing it and enjoy the residents,” Beth says.

More time for travel

Beth and Terry love to travel, and have logged many miles in their RV. Pre-COVID, they took an average of six trips annually, including all of Utah’s national parks. While they’ve been sidelined for the past year, they are looking forward to getting back on the road.

Free from the responsibilities of home ownership, prepping for one of their road trips is a breeze.  “We pack our clothes and stop the mail,” Beth says. “And we’re on our way.”

Closer to home, the coupe also enjoy spending time at the new Bistro and Pub, which is within walking distance.  “It has a cozy atmosphere, and the food is really good,” Beth says.  And, best of all, she jokes “no tipping.”

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