Fun, relaxing, stimulating. A Riderwood slogan – Add more Living to Your Life – certainly encapsulates our experience. Our only obligation is to enjoy ourselves.
A quick summary. In June of 2018 we moved to Riderwood Village which is a Continuing Care Retirement Community. This type of facility provides an independent living unit and access to a continuum of long-term care services. The Riderwood campus is 120 acres in size with around 2500 residents and 1800 apartments. There are four main buildings each with its own restaurant. The restaurants each have a different menu. There are also 2 ‘pubs’ and a cafeteria. All the buildings are connected with indoor passageways.
The size of Riderwood both in acres as well the number of residents was an important criterion in our selection. Plenty of space for our daily 3.5-mile walk and the large population provides many social and intellectual options. The local community college offers a variety of courses. We have taken the following:
- History of Architecture
- English Romantic poetry
- Creative writing
Other physical enhancements include a bocce ball court, a putting green, an inclosure for golf practice, tennis courts, basketball hoop, fitness rooms in each building equipped with treadmills, weight machines etc., small libraries in each building of donated books available for checkout, rooms adjacent to the restaurants for small groups to have dinners together, charging stations for electric cars, plots for gardening, and a facility for washing your car, pottery kiln, a well equipped woodshop, a beautiful chapel and a theater for movies and live performances.
Especially exciting is the new wellness center that is currently under construction. It will include a full-sized pool, hot tub, a large space for exercise classes, dancing classes and pickleball, a full range of exercise equipment and a small rooftop garden sitting area.
A fun option at the meals is to share a table with other randomly chosen residents. The range of experiences of the residents is amazing which makes for some enjoyable meals. Many of the residents are excellent artists and there are displays of their artwork in each of the buildings. To avoid recriminations an outside jury selects the works to be displayed. Fabric, painting, photography, pottery, multimedia are all included in the displays.
Is Riderwood perfect? No. This is a community and you have to roll with the punches. These late in life decisions are not easy and everyone has different needs. But in our experience and in talking with others I can make one suggestion. If you are going to move to a retirement facility do it before you have to. Otherwise, the adjustment is quite difficult.
Two amusing language problems I have encountered.
- At a concert, the announcer described the piece to be played as heart-stoppingly beautiful. He was quickly informed that the term ‘heart-stoppingly’ was not an appropriate term in a retirement community.
- We have electric cars, electric bicycles, electric scooters, etc. But apparently, the four-wheeled electric vehicles common in retirement communities are not ‘Electric Chairs’ but rather some type of enhanced mobility device.