When Lori’s life was at a crossroads, she chose Parkbridge’s Riverview Meadows community in Exeter, Ontario, for the convenience. However, she never expected that the community would be choosing her as well. Lori’s story of neighbourly kindness is a testament to the powers of new chapters and new friends when you find the right place to call home.
As a seasoned resident of Exeter, Lori had long known about Riverview Meadows. In fact, her mother has been living there for years. And with her own grandchildren still living nearby, Lori really didn’t want to leave the area. When she found herself changing things up in her life, she knew the community would give her the services, amenities, and location she needed. But Lori found so much more after she moved in.
To say that the residents of Riverview Meadows are friendly and welcoming is an understatement.
As Lori describes it: “I walk out my front door, I immediately have neighbours on either side that will try to wave at me or across the road. Honestly, it’s almost like “Cheers” …. That’s exactly what it’s like in here. You walk out the door (and hear) ‘Hey, Lori!’ That’s that feel. That “Cheers” feel.”
Lori’s new neighbours gave her advice about settling into her new home and invited her to join them in activities. They were also ready to skip the small talk and dig deep into life’s tougher subjects – including dishing out dating advice.
Lori is younger than her neighbours. She moved into the retirement community when she was in her mid-50s. She says this means she’s treated more like an honorary daughter or little sister by the older residents. They don’t hesitate to share their own stories and tell Lori what she should be looking for in the romantic arena.
Even though Lori jokes that their interrogation techniques are sometimes “CIA-like”, her neighbours Larry, Erma, Jack, and Sandy share some sound romantic insights. They are all about leading from the heart, staying grounded, and focusing on what truly matters in life. Lori knows that they have her best interests at heart and genuinely care for her and that has made all in the difference in the world as she settled into Riverview Meadows.
As she says: “One thing I wish people really realized is that it’s wonderful to live in a big, gorgeous, beautiful home, but that’s really such a small achievement…. It’s when your neighbours become your family, your home is your heart.”
Between the sage wisdom and, yes, a bit of teasing here and there, Lori’s neighbours weren’t just boosting her morale when it came to possible affairs of the heart. They were reinforcing her confidence in every way, right down to life’s little practicalities. As Lori puts it:
“It doesn’t feel like a big deal… to most people to be standing in a hardware store feeling painfully single and unaware of what to do. But all I have to do here is just walk out my front door and I don’t feel solo on anything. My neighbours are fantastic and will help me (even with) ‘this is the filter you have to go by and I’ll even go buy it for you if you’re kind of nervous to be in a hardware store or to go by yourself.”
She talks about how much the little things matter, even feeling comfortable enough to pop next door to ask someone to help her open a stubborn pickle jar. And when routine maintenance tasks come up, like securing and sealing pebbles on the walkways, Lori’s neighbours automatically did hers when they tackled their own, just so she wouldn’t have to worry about it.
Still, despite their close relationship, Lori was blown away by the community response when she was diagnosed with a new auto-immune condition in 2019. People didn’t just send her well wishes. Neighbours continually showed up at her door, bringing home-cooked vegetarian food made especially for her, from stews with mashed potatoes and veggies to gentle treats like homemade applesauce and even special cookies for when she felt up for a little indulgence. It was a practical form of assistance that ran much deeper than normal help during hard times.
A few years ago, Lori hadn’t even considered moving to a land lease community, let alone finding an entirely new circle of neighbours, friends, and adopted family in one. So, did her somewhat unexpected move to Riverview Meadows work out for her?
As Lori says: “The property is gorgeous and I have a beautiful home, but it’s actually the connections I have in the community that’s the biggest reason I say I love living here.”
Explore more about Parkbridge retirement communities: www.parkbridge.com/en-ca/retirement-communities