This is the second part of Our Journey to Downsize. Read the first part here.
When we first walked into Touchmark at Coffee Creek, we were greeted by a personalized sign that welcomed us to the community. The home we toured had beautiful wood floors, and there was a picture of our children framed and sitting on the fireplace mantel. It felt like home and included a fenced-in yard for the dog and offices for each of us. Beyond the patio and backyard, we saw a huge pavilion with running fountains in the center of the community. It reminded me of front porches where families would gather and visit. I could picture us sitting there with a cup of coffee and visiting with our new neighbors from the 47 homes surrounding the pavilion.
Then we were introduced to Michael, the Executive Director of the community. He explained the benefits of purchasing versus renting. Purchasing would help us save a significant amount monthly. As young and healthy as we were, we did the math and decided it was a good deal. What we thought was the most expensive option soon became the most affordable one, and it was a place we would love to live! We were thrilled to sign a contract with Touchmark at Coffee Creek in Edmond, Oklahoma. We were offered the first six weeks rent-free and were told we could move in two weeks, which was a pleasant surprise since we thought we'd have to wait for at least three months.
We have lived at Touchmark for eight months. Staff greeted us by name starting with day one—no nametags needed. We meet different people at meals and have made a lot of new friends. Norm has enjoyed visiting with neighbors, some of whom were pilots or are veterans. We are surrounded by friendly, professional retirees.
Norm gave up yard work but is enjoying gardening in a raised bed. I attend exercise class daily, and the rest of the time, I do other activities I love: visit the grandkids, facilitate memoir classes, write, and take Daisy, our dog, to memory care for a weekly visit. There are exercise programs to maintain our health, social programs, and restaurant-style dining. I do not miss making a grocery list, shopping, or doing dishes. We choose from a menu and visit with the delightful high school and college kids who serve us. Home maintenance and weekly housekeeping are also provided.
We both enjoy our daily routine. At noon, we share a sandwich or salad from Charley's bistro. The Thunderbird Pub opens at 3 pm, and we can enjoy a glass of wine with our neighbors or take it into the dining room to enjoy with our meal. They provide golf carts to ride to meals, but we walk because the building is only a block away, and we want to remain fit.
When we lived in Arizona, we did not know all the neighbors on the block, and no one knew if you were sick. At Touchmark, if you do not show up for meals or an activity, you are missed, and someone comes to check on you.
Being a retired nurse, I am trained to observe the staff caring for assisted living and memory care residents. It is comforting to know we might be there someday and will receive good care. There are a variety of wellness programs for every stage of your life at Touchmark. When we can no longer drive, they have scheduled local transportation. Knowing we never have to move again brings a feeling of peace.
We don't miss our home or the antiques and knick-knacks. We are now living the life of a cozy minimalist. We prefer making memories to taking care of things. Our Executive Director is excellent at serving his people. He will visit with you and responds quickly to any emails, phone calls, or concerns.
We are pleased we made this lifestyle change instead of waiting for an emergency and having our children doing it for us. The short visits with the grandkids are a joy, and then we can return to our home. Downsizing was the right thing for us to do and was a perfect gift for our sons.