Continuing care retirement community gives Henrico couple peace of mind

HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — A spunky Sally Barrett enjoys showing off her beach themed home.

Inside, it feels like an airy bungalow or a weekend retreat.

But Sally’s isn’t on the water — it’s off of Lauderdale Drive inside the Lakewood Retirement Community.

“Everyone envisions their retirement in a different way,” she says. “It’s exactly what I thought it would be like here.”

Four years ago, Sally and her husband Jim traded in their 3000-square foot home for a 1500-square foot villa.

“They clean it every other week. We have 24-hour security. And every time the lawnmowers go by, it’s somebody cutting my grass now,” Jim explains.

Besides maintenance free living, their Henrico retirement community offers a lot of amenities.

“We’re going to be building a lounge. We have a library. We have a billiards room. We have a garden out here, two dog parks, walking trails,” Lakewood’s Executive Director Barrett Way said.

While all of the extras make living at Lakewood lucrative, the Barretts moved there for peace of mind.

“We did it as an insurance that we would be taken care of forever,” Jim said.

Lakewood is a continuing care retirement community. It’s a place where people can live independently, then, as they grow older, they transition to assisted living or even skilled nursing care.

Residents can spend the rest of their golden years in one community.

Sally says knowing they never have to move again is very freeing.

Jim adds, “It’s a great opportunity to not have to worry anymore. You’re taken care of for the rest of your life.”

Continuing care retirement communities are now a popular choice for baby boomers.

“It used to be people moved into communities because that was kind of a needs-based decision and I had to move because of a health concern or just a change in my lifestyle, that it kind of forced me to make that move. Today, it’s completely a lifestyle choice,” Way said.

There’s also golf, gardening, a woodworking shop, and a convenience store. Lakewood is in the process of putting in a pool, increasing the size of its gym and building a lake.

These are amenities that help make it a community, not just a place to grow old.

According to Sally, “It’s home. It’s home.”

“This is the good life,” Jim said.

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