Working Past Retirement Age? Why Not?

John and Sally KillianFor John and Sally Killian, moving to Bethany Village was as natural as remaining at home. Having helped with a friend’s and family member’s moves to Bethany, and as long-time advisors and volunteers with Presbyterian Senior Living, they truly believe in the benefits of joining a continuing care retirement community.

Yet, even though they were 76 and 80 at the time of their move, their children questioned why they were moving to a retirement community when they were “still so young and active,” Sally says. “Now, my daughter often says how much it means to her that we did this. She has seen her peers facing challenges with aging parents. But before we moved here, she didn’t really understand what an active life people lead here,” Sally continues. “I serve as a Resident Ambassador for Bethany Village and when I take people on tours of the community, they all say they love the pool. I tell them, ‘Don’t wait until you can’t go in!’ ”

John continues work from home

John, now of-counsel at Killian & Gephart, which he founded, still works daily practicing estates and trusts law. He and Sally waited for 13 months after deciding to move for just the right apartment – one with space for John to have a roomy home office.

He typically heads to the downtown office a day a week, and their Bethany neighbors good naturedly tease him about his briefcase and suit.

“But nobody asks me when am I going to hang it up or why I still want to work,” John says. “People know me, they know this is what I love to do, and I’m going to do it as long as god allows me. I relish the challenge of solving problems for others.” (In May, John participated in Asbury’s What’s Age Got to Do With It campaign highlighting the many contributions older adults make in society.)

Some of John’s passion for the law just might come from its association with his wife of 63 years. He met Sally through a law school friend who invited John for a weekend at a Lake Placid resort owned by the friend’s parents.

Great cook enjoys dining flexibility

The Monday after she and John met, Sally called her mother and said she had met the man she was going to marry. Three months later, they were engaged despite an unusual first date.

“John invited me to dinner on Saturday night, and then he showed up at the cabin with several bags of groceries,” Sally laughs. “He has always said it was because he couldn’t afford to take me to dinner, but I think he was testing me!”

Fortunately, Sally enjoyed cooking, and still does. One of the advantages of Bethany Village over other retirement communities is that they do not require residents to take part in a meal plan, she notes. They eat most of their meals in their eat-in kitchen, but do join friends for a monthly dinner in Bethany’s Springfield’s Dining Room and hit the Collegiate Café for lunch occasionally.

Campus makes staying active easier with age

Sally also enjoys the many volunteer roles available on the Bethany campus, which makes it easier stay engaged as she ages.

A retired social worker, Sally has slowly been removing herself from some of her Harrisburg-area volunteer commitments, although she is still very involved at their church. At Bethany, Sally serves on the Wellness Committee, the Library Committee and as a resident ambassador, which means engaging with people considering a move to Bethany and helping those who have moved transition into their new home.

“John and I keep trying to tell people not to wait until they’re too old manage a move and to take advantage of all the great people and wellness events and programs,” Sally says. “For us, it has been very energizing to rid ourselves of all our extra stuff and start fresh.”

A move to expand your world

Sally says that just as she and John expected, their life has expanded, not diminished since moving to Bethany Village, with new friends and opportunities being added to the old.

“Bethany Village was the finest retirement community of this kind in the Harrisburg region, and we always knew we wanted to stay in this area,” John says. “We didn’t want to leave all of our networks and friends behind. We wanted to be able to continue living our life as before, but without a house that was twice as big as we needed and a lot of work to maintain.”

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