Tiny houses, living simply, living small, and minimalist living are all common marketing buzz words today for the current popular social movement where people are choosing to downsize their living space. The trend can easily be dismissed as a passing fad suitable for reality TV, but when examined more closely, there really is something to it. The desire for more time and freedom to enjoy experiences, rather than things, concerns for the environment, and finances are reasons why people — especially retirees — are embracing the movement.
Retirement is a time when a person may be retired from paid work, but he or she is certainly not retired from active life. Seniors today are living longer and are in much better health than ever before, and they are discovering they don’t want to spend their time working on maintaining their big house filled with many possessions. They find that now, more than ever, they would much rather spend their time pursuing passions and creating memories from experiences with those they love.
The typical American home is around 2,500 square feet, but once the children — and the children’s possessions — are moved out, the need for daily use living space can shrink to less than half that. Often, seniors look around their empty home and want to spend their time, energy and finances on activities and loved ones, instead of on their home’s upkeep, care and maintenance.
Many residents of Willow Valley Communities, a 55-plus senior living community in Lancaster, have enthusiastically embraced this mind-set. They find that getting rid of the extra space and extra clutter in their homes also means getting rid of the clutter in their lives — and in their minds — giving them the mental clarity to engage more fully in this time of life. Willow Valley Communities’ philosophy is to “design for people” rather than “design for seniors.” This allows for meeting the needs of today’s seniors who are seeking environments that anticipate and reach their evolving desires of today, and tomorrow, with a full spectrum of activities and services in between. With specially designed, smartly appointed one- or two-bedroom apartments, residents are able to live their lives to the fullest, while connecting with new friends. At Willow Valley Communities there are plenty of opportunities to explore and pursue passions with a variety of independent living options, as well as an impressive array of award-winning lifestyle amenities and programs.
Across two campuses, Willow Valley Communities offers an 80,000-square-foot Cultural Center with fitness and aquatic centers, day spa, art gallery, and a 500-seat performing arts theater, plus a 30,000-square-foot Clubhouse that boasts a bowling alley, vintage arcade, outdoor pool and tennis courts. Residents enjoy 11 dining venues featuring locally sourced ingredients. More than 100 clubs, art studios, woodworking shops, gardening plots, stocked fishing ponds and model railroad platforms are available for those who want to follow their passion or find a new one.
Residents also have the peace of mind of locking their front door and going about without worrying about the security or maintenance of their home. And, for those who want to get away for a bit, there is plenty for them to see and do with Willow Valley Communities located just 3 miles outside of downtown Lancaster. In town, residents enjoy a vibrant, culturally diverse city with theaters, art galleries, boutiques and restaurants. It is also an easy drive or train ride to nearby cities like Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, or Washington, D.C. The downsized and effortless lifestyle of Willow Valley Communities offers residents more time to explore these areas and discover others.
Willow Valley Communities also gives residents the security of Lifecare. Lifecare is the unique promise which provides short – or long-term care – should it be needed later – with no change to the monthly service fee because of the increased level of care.
Willow Valley Communities, with its beautiful and smart living spaces surrounded by lovely common areas and amenities, stimulating activities and programs – coupled with the security of Lifecare — gives seniors the freedom to live more intentionally, purposefully and be more present with those they love.
Bigger is not always better; living smaller, living simpler gives you more space in your life to pursue your passions.
This article first appeared in Lancaster Newspapers’ Sunday News, Real Estate section, April, 2018.