The move to simplicity is a growing trend in the U.S. One of the most visible examples of this trend is the “small house movement.” Television shows and books about tiny houses have encouraged us to throw out, give away, declutter, and downsize. The popularity of this mindset also comes from society’s growing level of environmental awareness, as well as a desire for simplicity and freedom.
Lancaster native, Ted Watt, 70, is one of the many people coming to Willow Valley Communities who are embracing this move to a simpler, “not-so-big” life. Ted recently came to the conclusion that his large home in the historic Old Town section of Lancaster city was more than he needed. “I just didn’t want to be bothered with a lot of square footage I didn’t use,” he says. So Watt traded that house full of stuff for a newly designed Hampton one-bedroom apartment home at Willow Valley Communities — and he couldn’t be happier. Surprised to find that Willow Valley is just a five-minute drive from Downtown Lancaster, Watt realized, “I haven’t left my Lancaster life, but I’m enjoying life even more.
For me, a big house became a big anchor.” For Ted, simplifying also meant planning for his financial future. Willow Valley’s Lifecare program helped him do that, covering any needed future personal or nursing care with no increase in his monthly fee. He was further surprised at the affordability of moving to Willow Valley, including large tax benefits related to the medical expense deduction provided by the Lifecare Program. “I actually saved money by moving here,” he says.
Watt’s apartment has an open floor plan that includes a generous kitchen with island and a living area decorated with his daughter’s bright, abstract artwork. A stitched piece framed on the wall reads: “Living simply so others may simply live.” “It’s so easy to live comfortably, live well, living small,” he says. Willow Valley’s transition and space-planning services make downsizing easy. And for the people who live at Willow Valley, “home” extends far beyond just their residence, with countless amenities throughout two campuses.
Lititz natives Tom and Elizabeth Dodge agree. After their children were grown, they decided to move to a large villa at Willow Valley. While waiting for one to become available, they moved into a 925-square-foot apartment, but soon, as Elizabeth remembers, “the light bulb went on.” They realized they could save their money by staying in the apartment, quite happily. “You organize every item you have, scrutinize it, and what you think you won’t use, you find another home for.” When it was over, she rewarded herself by getting a massage. “That was the end,” she says, “And we’ve been living happily ever after.”
Ted Watt and Tom and Elizabeth Dodge are like many at Willow Valley Communities, embracing the trend of simplicity. They are finding freedom like they’ve never felt before, with increased time and funds to focus on exploring their passions and spending time on relationships that make their lives richer.
By Maureen Leader, Willow Valley Communities Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator