Training Life Forward

John and Debbie Mischo have lived in Broomall, PA, for 34 years. Debbie is currently a high school math and business teacher and John is an electrician. They started exploring senior living communities about eight years ago, motivated by the experience of seeing their parents’ assets lost to the high cost of fee-for service care later in their lives.

They started their research by attending an open house called Explore Retirement Living (ERL). The ERL is a cooperative open house among Lancaster County’s 18 senior living communities; it takes place on a single day each autumn. It’s the perfect weekend to compare all of the communities in Lancaster County.

During their visit, the Mischos fell in love with Lancaster and knew it was where they wanted to retire. But when they learned that Willow Valley Communities is the only exclusively Type A contract Lifecare community in Lancaster County, John says, “That was the cherry on the top. That clinched it for us.”

Lifecare means that Willow Valley Communities’ residents’ monthly service fee will not increase if there is ever an increased level of supportive care needed. “Whatever assets you have you can spend,” says John when talking about the predictable costs associated with Lifecare. “You don’t have to worry about spending money to take a vacation. You know how much money you need for the future.” John added, “That whole cloud is taken away.”

They recently purchased an apartment in Willow Valley Communities’ Manor community and are currently enjoying it as a hotel room of sorts for weekend getaways to Lancaster until Debbie retires in a few years. With every trip they discover something new to love about the area.

“Lancaster is our weekend getaway. It’s like our shore home or our home in the Poconos,” Debbie explains. “It’s our escape.”

The Mischos take the Amtrak train from Paoli, PA, and in only 45 minutes they are in Lancaster. One of their favorite ways to spend a Saturday is to walk to downtown Lancaster from the train station, have lunch, and then attend a live performance at the Fulton Theatre, where the Mischos recently became season ticket holders. They are also enthusiastic fans of baseball—all baseball, and have discovered Lancaster’s Clipper Baseball Stadium located near the train station. They enjoy watching the Lancaster Barnstormers play, but also know that once they become permanent residents of Willow Valley Communities, it will be an easy trip for them to see their beloved Philadelphia Phillies. They’ve also enjoyed day trips to Lititz, Hershey, and Reading exploring those inviting towns.

With each weekend trip, the Mischos discover something new… Lancaster’s museums, colleges, restaurants, theaters, boutiques, and churches. “It’s an easy city to navigate,” they agree. “There is something for everyone.” The Mischos were also pleased to learn that Lancaster is close to Harrisburg International Airport, so air travel to more further destinations is convenient.

The Mischos are looking forward to their permanent move to Willow Valley Communities. Debbie says she plans on doing all the things she wants to do that, now, she does not have time for while she is still working outside the home. “I want to join a bowling league. I want to learn to paint. I want to learn how to play bridge,” she lists. But, meanwhile, they are enjoying their weekend getaways to Willow Valley Communities and experiencing the richness that today’s Lancaster has to offer. “Lancaster is easy to navigate and it’s not just farmland or outlets as many people believe,” says Debbie. “It’s a legitimate city with so much to see and do. There’s everything you need here, including Wawa!”

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