Written by Panorama resident, Deb Ross. December 2015
I went to visit George and Mary Jo, who have recently moved from Holladay Park to an apartment in the Quinault. I wanted to ask them about how they dealt with transitions, both to Panorama several years ago, and now this latest move.
George said that the decision to move to Panorama several years ago was not difficult. He was 66, and Mary Jo 65 when they came here. He no longer felt secure going up on an extension ladder to clean the roof, and did not feel like doing so much yardwork. His kids were not so enthusiastic: “Oh, Dad, you don’t want to live with those old folks!” said his son. George’s daughter-in-law put an end to the argument: “Your parents are doing what they need and want to do.” This bit of wisdom has guided George and Mary Jo’s decisions in retirement: they want to make transitions when they have control over them, not when there’s an emergency.
At first, George and Mary Jo were called “those young whippersnappers:” they were on the very young side of Panorama residents at the time (since then, the average age has dropped). “We both became very active: the Benevolent Fund board, the pea patch, Resident Council, driving for Resident Transit – we immersed ourselves in Panorama life. We particularly enjoyed the neighborhood concept of Panorama and loved Holladay Park.”
At the same time, they were always thinking ahead. “Where would we want to be in ten, fifteen, or twenty years?” They decided to put their names on the wait list for the Quinault. That way, when the perfect unit came up, they could be ready to move. (The Quinault wait list is open to all current Panorama residents, and operates similar to the wait list for other Panorama units.)
Mary Jo’s health deteriorated about four years ago, but they were still comfortable living in Holladay Park. Then, a unit on the top floor of the Quinault became available. Did we want it? “We were really not ready. But Mary Jo replied, ‘I think we should take it.’” This time, the kids were completely supportive and endorsed the philosophy of making the transition on George and Mary Jo’s own terms.
George and Mary Jo love their new apartment. It has everything: spaciousness, proximity to C&R if needed, an inside walk to the restaurant and bank, all amenities that would enable them to continue to live independently for many years. But one of the best things about Panorama is that they can still stay connected to neighbors and friends whom they’ve come to know over the years, as well as making plenty of new friends at the Quinault.
Advice from these wise people? Come to Panorama early so you can take advantage of all it has to offer. Make a long-term plan to know when you are ready to make transitions both to and within Panorama: it gets harder as you get older. And downsize before you move, not after. “Do I really need that turkey roaster and two dozen wine glasses?” George laughs ruefully.