The Golden Years

Posted On May 4, 2022

Moving to a retirement community takes planning, but the rewards can be life changing

By Jackie Perrone

What’s the old saw about the certainties of life? Two of them: Death and Taxes. Now add a third one: Old Age. Through healthful lifestyles and expert medical care, people are living longer than ever before. (Did you know that when Social Security was enacted in the 1930s, age 65 was considered a life span. Now it’s in the 80s and climbing.)

Some decisions have to be made.

Fortunately in the 21st century, the “golden years” have more options than could have been dreamed of a hundred years ago. The plethora of retirement communities that have sprung up everywhere provide choices for seniors to suit their tastes and budget. Tired of housekeeping, yard work, and maintenance of your home? Swap it for a carefree lifestyle among congenial companions. Shelter, dining, activities and medical care at hand; what’s not to like? Your grandparents never had it so good.

To start your focus on a senior community, here’s a sampling of three located in the Midlands.

Rice Estate: “Nestled at the end of a quiet suburban street beneath a canopy of towering hardwoods and surrounded by wetlands,” Rice Estate focuses on each resident’s well-being in six different ways: Physical, spiritual, social, intellectual, vocational and emotional. Assisted Living and Independent Living supplement the medical care of Nursing care, as well as BeWell Home Services and Lutheran Hospice. It’s conveniently located not far from the shopping, dining and sightseeing attractions of the Midlands, but tucked away in a quiet corner.

A walk around the lovely campus, a delicious meal in the dining room, activities designed to spur the mental process, entertainment and freedom to relax – Rice Estate offers a wide variety of options. If medical care is needed, it’s available at every level, with caring professionals who will implement high quality nursing care,

Residents at Rice express high enthusiasm for their lifestyle. Joan Gregory from Spartanburg says: “Living at Rice is better than my home because I am not isolated here. I like the people here the best, and I also like the food. I do not have to cook or clean any more. “My advice is, come sooner to a retirement community so you can enjoy all the activities.”

Jack and Elaine Wolf moved to Rice in 2019 from Tarboro NC. Jack: “I could not keep up with things around the house.” Elaine: “Our home was large and just too much to care for by ourselves.” The Wolfs moved to Rice during the siege of COVID, and Elaine says, “It was hard. We could not go out and our daughter could not come in. If we were at home we would have been all alone. We made the right choice for us.”

The Heritage at Lowman: Both Rice Estate and The Heritage at Lowman serve under the auspices of the Lutheran Homes of South Carolina. The Heritage was known originally as Lowman Home and has served its community for more than a century. Recent years have seen broad expansion of existing facilities and additional new ones. Latest innovation at The Heritage is the award-winning Courtyards at Lowman (first place winner of Senior Housing News’ Architecture and Design). “A look at the future of senior living architecture and design,” says George Yedinak, founder.

The Courtyards opened mid-pandemic in 2021 with a collection of pocket neighborhoods. Unique in the Midlands, they include two pocket neighborhoods, each with ten single-story, cottage-style apartments, sharing common spaces. Apartment clusters surround a landscaped common courtyard with livable front porches. A new patio with outdoor fireplace and covered shade was added between the pocket neighborhoods and existing community spaces. Each apartment has a private back porch as well. It creates an ideal melding of public plus private spaces.

Donald and Susan Boyer had the advantage of being familiar with The Heritage and its amenities, as Susan’s father lived there seven years. The Boyers’ home was in Chapin and their children and grandchildren are nearby, so The Heritage was a natural and easy choice for them. As Susan says, “The comradery and sense of community I feel with my neighbors is the best part of living here. I do not feel alone here.” She has ready advice for outsiders considering a move: “Do It!! Get your name on a list and start the process.”

Roberta Cooper shares much the same sentiments. “I was tired of the burden of hiring multiple people to assist with the maintenance of our home. I like all the amenities available to me here, especially the fitness center. I really enjoy my neighbors, and in my Courtyard apartment. The setting is very much like my home.”

She, too, is quick when asked for possible advice. “Get rid of all your ‘stuff.’ It is a relief to be downsizing.”

Still Hopes: That was the name of the historic Guignard estate in West Columbia, a 44-acre property which was donated to the Episcopal Church for use as a retirement community. It has thrived by offering hospitality to the Midlands, gradually developing the property around the imposing former Guignard home on the wooded acres. In February 2021, the newest apartment building, HopeWell opened its doors to the public. HopeWell has 80 beautiful, open-concept apartments which have been filling rapidly. Schedule a tour of Still Hopes and discover the pleasures that await. Throw away the to-do lists as well as all your excess baggage, and embark on a new adventure in daily life. After all those years of schedules and work experiences, it’s time to turn them loose and wake up each day to a new way of life, featuring entertainment, high cuisine, and a host of congenial neighbors to share the future with you.

This community is always planning ways to enhance the existing property, as well as look at opportunities to grow beyond this campus. A new Bistro expansion opens soon. Plans are also taking shape for the York Place project in conjunction with the Diocese of Upper South Carolina. The York Place will be a middle-market intergenerational community in York, SC.