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50july14feature

Retirement life has come in two phases for Marian and Jim Payne.

They first retired to a Northern Neck cottage that he had built, but health concerns caused them to reconsider.

They talked with their children, who lived in locations across the country, and the Pennsylvania natives decided that they need to relocate closer to one of their children.

They got to work researching their options.

What they were looking for was a community where they could retain their independence, have some room, regular activities in which to participate if they chose, was secure, and offered varying degrees of help and medical situations as needed.

They had a daughter in Chesterfield County, and after long hours of online research, they found a living situation that met their needs.

The community is Summerhill at Stony Point, a retirement condominium community operated by Bon Secours Richmond Health System off Forest Hill Avenue in the Bon Air area of Richmond.

That was 11 years ago, and the Paynes love their lives.

"We kind of like doing our own thing instead of being dicated to," said Marian Payne.

They are in their 80s and active. The Paynes like Summerhill because they are within a 10-minute walk of shopping, banking, doctors and dentists.

Theirs a lovely deck out back that overlooks a small lake. Two swans are frequent visitors, and the Paynes have a couple tomato plants and zuchini mixed in with the flowers in the landscape.

Inside, the condominium is bright and airy. The upper floor has room for guests and her sewing. The living area is downstairs is uncluttered. Latch rugs crafted by Mr. Payne add pops of color throughout.

She likes to cook, and has a spacious kitchen.

Hallways and doorways are wide to accommodate wheelchairs if needed. There are no steps leading into the home.

"We never dreamed we would have so much space," Mrs. Payne said.

The Paynes are retired educators, and they did their homework in choosing Summerhill.

They looked online first, and determined what they needed in a community.

What they sought was a community that offered more than a traditional condominum community, but more independence than a traditional nursing facility.

For the Paynes, layout, space and services were sales points.

For instance, there is a registered nurse on staff and available five days a week; guards provide security at the gate, but also are trained as medical first responders; a call button is available for emergencies; and around-the-clock care is available in the home, if needed.

Should health care concerns increase, they feel secure in that services will be available at Summerhill.

"We figure, why move again?" Mrs. Payne said.

CHOOSING A RETIREMENT COMMUNITY

Everyone’s situation is different, so there is no easy answer on choosing a retirement communnity or living arrangements that’s right for you.

It’s a major decision, and a major upheaval in your life.

It’s not just a change of address, it’s a change in everything, said Nan Paschal of St. Mary’s Woods in Richmond.

Most folks want to stay in their own home for as long as possible, but medical conditions, finances or the condition of a home may make that impossible.

Need to get started? Here are some tips:

• Determine your needs and what you’re looking for in a community. What sort of health isues impact your living situation? Do you enjoy an active lifestyle? Do you want to cook for yourself, or do you want all meals prepared for you?

• What’s your budget? What funds do you have available? What are your long-range options?

Research your options online

• Check out the financial stability of each community

• Visit the facility. Take a tour and take your time. Talk with staff and other residents

• Review all paperwork carefully with your lawyer or children