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Jill Pape talks about her decision to move to a retirement community.

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Jill Pape says: “I wanted to do it while I was still able to enjoy doing it. I feel better because it’s done. It’s a chore at our age to do this, and The Fountains has a nice organization called Senior Moves who does the moving for you, which is nice. So I really didn’t do too much in the moving department. They pack you and unpack you.

Jill Pape Interview, August 2013

Pape: Jill Pape
I:
Ines Newby
Hoffer: Jill Hofer

PAPE: Hello?

HOFER: Hi, how are you? You have Jill Hofer and Ines Newby on the line.

PAPE: OK. I don’t have to dial 15078?

HOFER: Nope, you’re already in!

PAPE: All right.

HOFER: Super – thank you so much. Can you tell me – I’ve only read your last name – how do we pronounce your last name?

PAPE: Payp.

HOFER: Oh, Payp! OK Ms. Pape.

PAPE: Pape, it’s so easy that no one gets it right.

HOFER: That’s right! You fool everyone with its simplicity! All right, super, well thank you again so much for joining us. We’re really learning a lot from these calls and we’re finding that the people that we’re talking to – we learn that we’re releasing some of their anxiety. They’re getting good knowledge from people who have been in their shoes and it’s not really all about promoting your community, so to speak, but more about promoting people to kind of do their research and think about what options might be out there regardless of where they might end up.

PAPE: OK, so are you connected with Watermark or with the Fountains or with neither one?

HOFER: Both.

PAPE: Both, ok.

HOFER: Yes, so it’s great that all your examples happen to be, and we’re thrilled that you did choose the community that you chose, but honestly you can just take it from the perspective of just helping anybody no matter where they might end up. That’s really going to be a wonderful thing and we really appreciate your insight here. How long have you lived there at the Fountains?

PAPE: I moved in on April 12th.

HOFER: Oh, just this year! Not too long, so you still have a fresh perspective?

PAPE: I do.

HOFER: Oh, that’s wonderful. Prior to April 12th, did you live in the area?

PAPE: I did; I lived in Village Walk.

HOFER: Village Walk…

PAPE: Village Walk, which is on – I don’t know where you’re from – on Honore here in Sarasota.

HOFER: Oh, right there in Sarasota. We’re here in Tucson – Ines and I are out –

PAPE: Oh, well then you have no idea where Honore is, do you?

HOFER: Well, I have been to Sarasota!

PAPE: Oh, ok.

HOFER: And were you at Village Walk for quite a while?

PAPE: I was, for ten years.

HOFER: OK. And were you a Florida native before that?

PAPE: No, no, no – I’m from – born and raised in Illinois and raised my kids, lived my adult life in Iowa.

HOFER: Oh, I’m from Ohio!

PAPE: Oh good, we’re Midwesterners.

HOFER: Neighbors, right?

PAPE: Yeah.

HOFER: So you probably wintered in Florida a couple of times?

PAPE: I did – from ’82 on.

HOFER: Oh, that’s great. OK…to Village Walk in Florida. And what – you probably remember back – when you started thinking, “I think I’m going to move someplace else,” about when was that at Village Walk?

PAPE: It was quick. It was extremely quick – January of this year.

HOFER: Oh, ok. Well you did move quick.

PAPE: I did – my daughter was coming to town and I just thought, “I think we’ll go over to the Fountains and go to one of their lunches.” And we did and made an appointment with Joe Kessler to see – I don’t think it was Joe, it might have been Brett – either way, we made an appointment to look at some of the villas. I thought I might like a villa, but then I decided the villas were too far removed from everything going on here, so I changed my mind. And my daughter went home and I got a call from one of the residents here, and she said there was a large 2 bedroom available. Someone came over and showed it to me, and I didn’t like it, but they had the 3 bedroom and I loved it and got my checkbook out and wrote the check right then and there.

HOFER: Well that’s fantastic. I like that you chose – that you opted for being right in the heart of it all.

PAPE: I did, yes.

HOFER: And has that worked out? Were you glad with that choice?

PAPE: Absolutely.

HOFER: Yeah. Ok, so versus the villa, what would you say are the best reasons to be where you are?

PAPE: Well, the villas…first of all, if it rains, you have to call the cart or you know, drive over, and I thought you’d just be removed from everything that’s going on here, if you had to come to the building every time you had to do something. So I’m very happy to be in the building – in the main building.

HOFER: And you’re already there in the building – what does that bring you close to? Obviously dining…

PAPE: Actually, I’m as far away from the dining room as you can get, but I don’t mind that. I can walk to the dining room, that’s not a problem. I play a lot of bridge, so I’m close to the card room and I just take the elevator downstairs and get the mail, so it was a no brainer when I thought about it a little bit.

HOFER: And it sounds like you have a lot of room?

PAPE: I do. I needed a hobby room, so there’s just one room that’s nothing but floor to ceiling shelves and I make greeting cards. I have all my supplies and stuff in there, so…

HOFER: No kidding! How long have you been doing that?

PAPE: Oh, for years.

HOFER: How do you make them? If you don’t mind my asking?

PAPE: Oh, I don’t make them with the computer – I make them by hand. I use rubber stamps and different kinds of designer paper.

HOFER: Oh, that’s interesting. Have you ever taught a class on how to do that?

PAPE: No, I have not.

HOFER: You know, somebody’s probably going to ask you to do that…

PAPE: I’m sure they probably will, but it’s something I probably wouldn’t be too interested in doing.

HOFER: You don’t want to –

PAPE: I don’t think it’s something these people would be real interested in learning. I mean, I might demonstrate some time, but I don’t think I want to teach them anything.

HOFER: There you go – well, you might want to keep that room door closed! Haha!

PAPE: Haha, yeah, right!

HOFER: Well that’s neato. So back in January, when you came with your daughter, had you been receiving invitations in the mail?

PAPE: Yes.

HOFER: Ok.

PAPE: And also I belong to an organization that had a member here, and we would have some meetings here, so I was familiar with the place.

HOFER: Ok, was it a card group by chance?

PAPE: No, it wasn’t, it’s called PEO, the Philanthropic Educational Organization, and we support a college in Nevada, Missouri, and give out scholarships.

HOFER: Oh yeah, we have a chapter here in Tucson.

PAPE: Right, I’m sure you do, probably more than one.

HOFER: You’re probably right! I have some friends who are involved. That’s neat! OK, and did you go with your daughter to see other places too?

PAPE: No, I did not.

HOFER: You didn’t!

PAPE: I had been to Bay Village, which is another one here, and I was pretty sure I did not want to go there, because it’s a high-rise. And I went to another one called Glenridge – and that was just…well, first of all, it was very, very expensive, and the people in there are – I don’t think the friendliest. So I decided I didn’t want to go there; I had known for a long time that this was where I was coming wherever I came.

HOFER: Oh, that’s great. And what were you looking out for?

PAPE: Well, the 3 bedroom – I never dreamt in a million years that I’d find a 3 bedroom, so when I found it I snapped it right up. He told me that there were two couples looking at it that afternoon, and I thought, “You snooze you lose!” I’m not going to do that. I’m not one of these people that has too much trouble making a decision. I knew when I did it that it was what I needed to do.

HOFER: Oh, that’s perfect. And how does your daughter feel about it?

PAPE: She’s fine. She’s fine – she’s been here a couple of times since then.

HOFER: I bet she’s happy to know that you have everything –

PAPE: Yes, that I have everything here and I’m taken care of? I’m sure she is.

HOFER: Beautiful. So you didn’t want a high-rise, so you like the more –

PAPE: Yes, I’m only in a two story, so that’s not so bad.

HOFER: And did anything about the setting strike you?

PAPE: Well, I have a beautiful view of the lake and the buildings. But I don’t – that would not have been a seller for me; what was a seller for me was the 3 bedrooms. That was really the thing that sold it the most for me. Plus the fact that there’s lots of storage space in this place.

HOFER: Well, that’s nice. You don’t want to feel –

PAPE: No, I think I have almost 1900 square feet, so it’s a pretty good size for an apartment in a retirement community.

HOFER: Yeah, absolutely. I’d imagine a lot of people downsize to half that or less.

PAPE: Yes, I’d imagine they do, and I did not want to do that.

HOFER: When you think back – maybe before January, let’s say – we find that a lot of people are just reluctant. They’re a little different from you – they’re slower to make a decision, and they’re a little more tortured by the idea of making a decision, so a little different from your situation. But we find that we have a lot of reticence and reluctance to really make a move. Before you did move, was there anything that was keeping you where you were?

PAPE: No. In fact, I had just remodeled my kitchen and all my bathrooms, so there was really a good reason for me to stay there, but then I was diagnosed with liver cancer.

HOFER: Oh, I’m sorry.

PAPE: And I decided that if I was going to make a move, then I should make it now, because I like to decorate. So I can enjoy decorating the place. But I would still be in my house if not for that, but I’m not, so I’m happy where I am.

HOFER: Ok, all right – are you still decorating or are you all done?

PAPE: I’m all done.

HOFER: Super!

PAPE: Been done for a long time.

HOFER: Ok, well, let me think more about some of those other folks. And a lot of those people just really love living at home because they have all those –

PAPE: Well, I liked it too, and the fact that I had just redone everything was reason enough to stay where I was, but you know, I’m smart enough to know that when the time comes, you do what you have to do.

HOFER: And as much as you might say you were giving up, what did you feel like you were getting by moving?

PAPE: Food. (laughing) My meals. But as it turns out – I like – I mean the food is very good, but I really don’t care about going down to the dining room every night. It gets kind of boring after a while. So I just made up my mind – I chose the food plan, so I can’t change it. Well, I guess I can take it off, but I can never get it back again. So I’ve decided that I will not do that – I’ll just eat down there when I want to and not eat down there when I don’t want to.

HOFER: Right, just do it as you please.

PAPE: That’s right.

HOFER: OK. And so you got the food, you had the opportunity to redecorate with the space you needed. Was there anything else that really drew you to making that move? Other benefits that you felt like –

PAPE: No, really, the main thing was the fact that I was diagnosed with liver cancer. I mean, right now, I’m fine, but I’m not going to be fine forever.

HOFER: Yeah, that goes for all of us I suppose.

PAPE: That’s true, and I’m 79 years old. I’m not as old as a lot of the people here, but I wanted to do it while I was still able to enjoy doing it. And as it turned out, it was a chore anyway, but I’m lucky I have a son and his wife that live here, and my daughter came too, so I had a lot of help.

HOFER: Oh, good! So how’s your son feel about you living there?

PAPE: Oh, he’s fine.

HOFER: I hope he feels like you have everyone there to help you –

PAPE: Oh, he helps me all the time, he and his wife, so that’s good.

HOFER: Oh good. So let’s see, ok – it’s not like you went around and looked at a lot of different places.

PAPE: No, I did not.

HOFER: So that’s a little different – was there anything that surprised you after you moved in, one way or the other that you thought, “Huh, that surprised me.”?

PAPE: Well, it surprised me that I didn’t like going down to the dining room every night. I thought that was going to be a really big deal not to have to think about what I was going to eat, but that did surprise me. But the food is very good; I’m not complaining about the food at all. It’s just like eating at the same restaurant every night.

HOFER: That’s right. Do you like your kitchen? Do you feel like you can –

PAPE: Oh, I have a very nice kitchen, yes.

HOFER: You can make what you like anyway?

PAPE: Yes, when I bought this place, they totally gutted it. I mean, totally gutted it – it was from the 90s and they just gutted it and I got to do everything from scratch just the way I wanted to.

HOFER: How fun – so it’s truly yours.

PAPE: Yes it is.

HOFER: Oh, that’s terrific. Ok, all right, so your life really is a little bit different now, but maybe it’s not all that different than before you came –

PAPE: No it isn’t. I mean you give up a little bit of your independence when you move to a place like this. They have rules and things that I didn’t have where I lived before, but once you learn the rules, you just abide by them. It’s that simple.

HOFER: And take the good and the bad –

PAPE: That’s right.

HOFER: If you had some friends, maybe some people that came and you happened to sit next to them at dinner, what advice would you have for people that are considering moving to a retirement community.

PAPE: The only thing I’d tell them is to come to the Fountains because it’s really nice, but don’t take the food plan.

HOFER: Ok.

PAPE: That’s what I’d tell them. Because you can eat in the dining room anytime you want for $16 or $18, something like that. So you can do it three times a week if you want to, but you don’t have to – you’re not being charged every night. So that’s the only advice I’ve given anybody.

HOFER: Ok, and then what would you say – how would you help people decide that it really was or wasn’t the time to move to a retirement community?

PAPE: Well, my friends are all pretty much my age, so I mean I told them – first of all, when you get to be my age, you don’t know what tomorrow holds, so the time to do it is while you can, not to wait until it’s too late. But that’s something nobody knows, so I don’t try to give advice. I have some friends that are never going to leave their house – I might be the first of all my friends to move into a place like this. They think it’s very nice, but I think they think it’s not for them.

HOFER: Ok, let’s see. I think we went over the benefits of the food – did you take part in any programs or classes besides –

PAPE: You know, I really don’t. Most of my friends are outside of this here. And I mean, I’m active in church, which is not here, and I’m active in PEO, which is not here, but I do play a lot of bridge with the people here. I don’t do the exercise classes and the movies are not very good and the ones that are, I’ve already seen. And I’m busy in my hobby room, so I really don’t need to do the outside activities.

HOFER: Maybe it’s sort of like the dining – it’s there if you want it?

PAPE: Exactly.

HOFER: It’s more for peace of mind. When you think about peace of mind, does that extend to anything else when it comes to moving? We’re trying to figure out what makes people feel better if they do take a move?

PAPE: I feel better because it’s done. It’s a chore at our age – it’s a chore to do this, and the Fountains has a nice organization called Senior Moves who does the moving for you, which is nice. So I really didn’t do too much in the moving department. They pack you and unpack you – I mean the Fountains allows so much money and I had to pay the rest, but it was worth it not to have to do it myself.

HOFER: Oh my, so they made that part easy. That’s good! All right – is there anything in general that you think we should learn before we let you go? I’m so excited that we did get a chance to talk; I really do appreciate it, but I don’t want to make it too short or too long – just don’t want to miss any good info.

PAPE: Well, the only probably I had with the whole place is when I was moving in – I feel that the construction company that works for the Fountains, I feel like they overcharge for a lot of things. Maybe that’s something that you don’t need to know – I don’t know – but there were just some things….they weren’t….I’m used to doing business with construction companies because I did my bathrooms and my kitchens over at my house, and I’d get an itemized bill telling me everything that was done, and how much it was, and I didn’t get that here. I got generalized bills, and I was kind of sick the whole time we were doing it, so I let it sort of fly and I probably should not have done that. Anyway, it’s done and I’ve paid for it, so hindsight is that it’s too late now.

HOFER: Right.

PAPE: But that’s really my only complaint.

HOFER: And if you had any good feedback that you’d want to encourage them to keep it up for the next person that moves in, anything on that side of the coin?

PAPE: Things that I wouldn’t do or would do?

HOFER: That you liked.

PAPE: Well, I mean, I like everything, except like I said, I did have a little problem with the construction company. But the people in the sales office are aware of it. But otherwise, everything else was fine.

HOFER: Everyone treats you nice?

PAPE: Oh, everybody here is wonderful! They couldn’t be nicer! You asked me if I participate – I do – I play blackjack and I play poker. Those are the two things that I do – I forgot that I did those.

HOFER: Oh, that’s nice – that sounds like a lively bunch!

PAPE: It is, we have a good time.

HOFER: Well beautiful. Ok, I do appreciate your time! If you think of anything, please don’t hesitate to let Joe know or tell us, you know, in any way that comes up. If you hang up and think of something in a day or two or next week, I hope you don’t mind I’ll ask Joe to ask you for me if you don’t mind.

PAPE: Not a problem.

HOFER: Thank you so much.

PAPE: You’re welcome.

HOFER: You have a good rest of your day!

PAPE: All right thank you – you too!

HOFER: Thank you.

PAPE: Bye, bye.

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