Move During COVID-19? Why, yes!
Choosing to move during a global pandemic may not seem like the most logical decision to many people, but for Beth Shank, the timing made all the sense in the world. A former infection-control nurse, Beth knew the merits of a continuing care retirement community and had visited Bethany Village in January.
However, she and spouse Terry Wise planned on waiting until they were 70 – five years in the future. So what made them leave their house on the Delaware shore and move to an East Cottage at Bethany Village in July 2020?
“We both worked in this area and have family and a large network of friends, so we knew we wanted to come back here,” Beth says. When COVID-19 hit the East Coast in March, Beth began watching the regional infection rates and those of local senior living communities.
“Bethany Village had zero resident cases and has had less than five associate cases,” adds Beth. “I believe people need to look at the facts. I looked at how the community was closing public areas and restricting events and gatherings. I saw they were requiring screening and masks. I respect that. I could tell that this place is really looking out for your safety.” [As of December 31, Asbury Communities has conducted more than 51,000 COVID-19 tests at its eight retirement communities with a positivity rate of just 1 percent. That compares to a national rate of 8.5 percent.]
Typically, incoming residents are paired with an ambassador who helps introduce them to new people and provides suggestions for programs, clubs, and events the new couple might like. Because Beth and Terry moved during Bethany Village’s and Pennyslvania’s heightened security measures for senior living communities, they were required to self-quarantine in their new home for 14 days. See our Friends & Family page for more about our phased re-opening plans.
Beth says she was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to meet their neighbors and feel welcome in spite of these unusual circumstances and stressful times. During their first few days, Beth and Terry opened their door to a bag of green beans from a neighbor’s garden and received baked goods.
“I love it here,” Beth says. “I would see people when I walked to the mailbox or was out in our yard and they would wave and introduce themselves from a distance. People are out every morning walking their dogs and carrying their masks, and when they stop to chat, they put it on. Everybody is so respectful of each other’s safety.
“People would offer to pick up groceries for us, and of course, we get menus from Bethany’s dining staff in our mailboxes every day and can have meals delivered right to our door,” she says.
It’s this added opportunity for connection and ability to make new friends that was a primary motivator in their decision to come when they were still young enough not to feel overwhelmed by packing up a house, Beth adds. “We wanted to get settled in and meet people, make those relationships and get embedded in the community so that when we do grow older and become less mobile, we have those networks in place.”