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Joyce and Iver Berry talk about their decision to move to a retirement community.

FLPW_Joyce and Iver Berry_0565_4CJoyce Berry says: If I was just sitting in my house, I wouldn’t bother putting makeup on. Here I get up and I shower and get dressed and put my makeup on, and we go upstairs for breakfast.

Joyce and Iver Berry Interview, October 2013

JH: Jill Hofer
IN: Ines Newby
J: Joyce
I: Iver

JH: Good morning.

J: Good morning! This is Joyce Berry calling.

JH: Hi, it’s nice to meet you, thanks for calling. This is Jill Hofer and I have Ines here also.

J: Ok, hi Ines.

IN: Hello, how are you?

J: Good, thanks.­

JH: Good.

J: What can I do for you?

JH: Well, we would love to learn more about the process that really anybody in general, and you in specific, went through as you kind of navigate those decisions of where to move, and how to kind of get through that change and recognize that it’s time. We’re really not all about the great sales points of Lake Pointe, but more just about that personal process so we can relate to people no matter where they might choose to live.

J: Ok, well, my husband has macular degeneration, and we were in a private home. And for the past year, year and a half, he has not been driving. I’ve been doing all the driving; he just didn’t feel confident, so we got thinking, you know, if something happened – I am 81 years old – and if something happened to me, we were stuck in that house. So we started looking. We looked in several places, and then we got a card in the mail from the Fountains inviting us to a luncheon. We thought we’d go see what it’s all about, so we came over and had lunch, and we sat with Joe, and my first question to him was do you take dogs? And he said up to 35 pounds, and ours is only 17, and we wouldn’t go any place without him. And everyone was very nice at the luncheon and answered any questions that we had, so we started thinking seriously about making this move. We looked at several places – some of them weren’t as bright and cheerful as the Fountains, some were a lot more money than the Fountains, and they didn’t have the grounds that were here. So we thought about it, we discussed it with our kids, and they were all in favor of us doing something so we were safe, because our kids are not here; they’re up in New Jersey, New York, and we do have one a little over an hour away from us here, but we were still on our own. And we did a lot of soul searching – we hated leaving our neighborhood. We had a great neighborhood with great neighbors, who we still see, and it just finally became the right decision to make, especially since we could bring our little dog with us. And that about covers it – do you have any questions?

JH: Oh, sure. I’d love to ask you a few – thanks for telling me how that process went. When you – you said how much you loved your neighborhood, you loved the neighbors, you loved the community feeling, and then – when did you move to Lake Pointe?

J: We moved here May 31st.

JH: And how long were you in your previous place?

J: Since…well we moved to Florida in ’99. We went into a condo and did not like it. We bought a house, this house – I was coming home from church and passed this house and just thought, “That’s the one.”

JH: Wow.

J: So we’ve been there since 2003.

JH: Ok, ok. And have you found that moving to a supportive community – are you finding the feel of a neighborhood or feeling like you’re connecting with neighbors?

J: Oh yes – as soon as we moved in, we started getting phone calls. “Hi, this is so-and-so, would you have dinner with us?” And it was constant – it’s such a welcoming feel. And the help here – even the cleaning help – they all speak to you. “Good morning, how are you?” It’s just the friendliest place I have ever been.

JH: Well that’s fantastic!

J: It really is – we’re very happy here.

JH: Did you have any other surprises – anything that you thought, “Well, that’s not what I expected…” either good or bad?

J: No, no. Everything was as they told us, and the people we met filled in any holes we might have had about things, and it just – everything fell into place. It really did. The day we moved in, they were so helpful. First of all, when we closed on our house on a Thursday afternoon, our realtor faxed everything to the Tampa Title Company and also FedExed all the paperwork. Well, the next day, I went to get the check to close here, and they had not forwarded the money yet, so we couldn’t move in actually on the 31st. So when we came to close, we told them we couldn’t move in until the next day, and we were thinking, “Where are we going to go?” And they said, “No, problem, we have a suite for you.” They put us up in the suite; there was a bottle of wine, a basket of fruit, and cheese and crackers there for us. They brought us dinner; the next morning they brought us breakfast. We moved in and they came and said, “What would you like for lunch?” And they brought us dinner.

JH: Great!

J: There’s no way I could complain about anything – Phyllis and Joe are just unbelievable.

JH: Oh, that is just terrific to hear. What’s your little dog’s name?

J: Shadow.

JH: Oh, how sweet.

J: He’s a miniature schnauzer.

JH: Oh gosh, those are so cute.

J: Yes they are!

JH: How’s he feeling? Does he love it there? Is he making new friends?

J: Yes, he’s very happy. Our only concern was that he was a barker, and I knew people would not be happy having a dog barking all the time, so we took him to school for $79. They taught us the word “Enough,” and the minute he would start to growl, we would say “enough” and that would be the end of his barking.

JH: Are you kidding?

J: No, I’m serious. It’s the truth.

JH: I need to fly down there with my dog!

J: Well it was Petsmart that did it for us. A very firm “enough” and he stopped. So that was our only concern.

JH: And that’s great – that’s one less thing for you to worry about.

J: That’s right! In fact, we have a neighbor next door who’s 103 or 105, I’m not sure which, and every time she sees me, she says, “I never hear your doggie, is he still there?” And I say, “Yes, he’s here.”

JH: Oh that’s great – I’m glad Shadow’s all settled in; that’s terrific.

J: Yeah.

JH: When you did decide to go ahead and start looking around and make sure you were someplace you loved, did you look at a lot of communities?

J: Well, we were familiar with one because we had friends there – I don’t know if you want to know the name, it’s Bay Village. We had been there for dinner and lunches with our friends, and it was nice, but I don’t know, there was just something about it. It just didn’t work. We looked at Waterside – but that was strictly a rental community; the halls were narrow, they weren’t as brightly lit as our halls. The dining room had a low ceiling, and it just turned us off. We looked at Glenn Ridge and felt it was out of sight as far as prices went, and we just kept coming back to this one. The grounds are beautiful – every one of our friends that have come here – they’re younger than we are; they’re not quite ready for retirement, but they were all extremely impressed just driving in and seeing how well kept everything is. The shrubs are trimmed, they’re not growing wild, and everything is just done to perfection.

JH: It’s really beautiful there – the lakes are so pretty.

J: Yes, they are.

JH: That’s wonderful. Ok, so did you take months or weeks or was it a long process of discovery?

J: Maybe it was about six weeks? Iver, was it about six weeks that we thought about this?

I: Um…at the most.

J: Yeah, it was six weeks at the most, because of my husband’s eyesight.

JH: Uh huh, and then would you recommend…what kind of recommendations would you have for someone that was thinking, “Well, maybe I’m tired of this big old house…” What would you say to those people?

J: Come to the Fountains. I really would – I really would say that. I can’t say enough about how friendly everyone is, and Phyllis and Joe and Maria were just the biggest help. They were there for us with any question we had and they were calling us to come to lunch, come to dinner, and I guess now they call us to have dinner with people that are thinking of coming here, to tell them anything they want to know and how much we like it here. And several of the people we’ve had dinner with have come in.

JH: Oh really?

J: Yes.

JH: Well that’s terrific – it’s so much better to hear it from someone who actually is living it, don’t you think?

J: Yes, definitely, definitely, definitely.

JH: It’s so much more valuable.

J: We had a few times that we were here with another couple, and they were just so happy here and showed us their unit and everything about it, and that really helped to make the decision here, to know people that were really happy.

JH: Great, that is good advice. Do you take part in any programs or classes now that you’ve lived there for a few months?

J: Oh yes, I go to exercise classes in the morning and I am – I don’t know if you’re familiar with flim-flam.

JH: No.

J: It’s a show that they – I guess they did it last year for the first time, and everyone had such a good time that they’re doing it again this year. It’s skits, it’s people singing, it’s silly things – it’s just the people that are here are doing the entertaining. And I was in the exercise class and this man came over to me, a 93-year-old man who’s in the show, who’s very active in the show, and he said, “You’re very active – I’d like you to be in my chorus line.” I said, “I’m 81 years old.” “That’s fine.” So I’m in the chorus line. Then they have a song-fest in the lobby once a week, and I love to sing the old songs and all, which is what it is, and I’m sitting there singing, and this gal next to me says, “You like to sing?” And I said “Yes,” and next thing I know, I’m in her skit at the show. I’m playing the kazoo. And now I’m also in a baseball skit – a Charlie Brown baseball skit, and I’m a pitcher and a batter.

JH: No kidding.

J: And everyone is just having a ball and that’s November. November 14th and 15th is the show.

JH: Ok, I’m going to write that down. And does Mr. Berry enjoy some programs or exercise or anything special he’s been doing?

J: He has gone to the gym; he has gone to the pool. Because of his eyesight, he’s somewhat restricted. And he doesn’t sing, so he doesn’t want to be in the show.

JH: Well, there’s a lot to do for a lot of different people.

J: Yes, he’s going through an adjustment because of his eyesight. He’ll get more active once he gets more acclimated.

JH: Ok, all right. Are there any ways, besides all this fun stuff and the new neighbors, ways that life is different now than before you moved? Things that your daily life or diets or programs – anything that’s just different?

J: Well, we chose not to have the food program because I like to cook and the meals here are fantastic, but I don’t need a four or five course meal every night. I really don’t. So we go maybe once or twice a week, sometimes three nights a week for the dinners, but most of the time, I do my own cooking here.

JH: Well that sounds just about perfect really – if you can walk to a restaurant that you like…?

J: That’s right, and the food is very good.

JH: Well, that sounds good. I like that! And just in general, moving to a community that’s supportive and contained, a place like the Fountains, what do you think for the average person, that may or may not think they’re ready, what benefits are there to life in a community like the Fountains?

J: Well, it takes the weight off your shoulders, I feel. There’s a nurse on duty – if you need her, she’s here. We have a wonderful library upstairs – I’m there every few days getting another book out, and they have – most of the books are in large print, so some people having problems with their eyes can read them. They have a nice continental breakfast every morning upstairs, which we choose to go to, and it’s great. If I was just sitting here in my house, I wouldn’t bother putting makeup on, but I get up and I shower and get dressed and put my makeup on, and we go upstairs for breakfast, so I’m set for the day.

JH: It really does get you started, doesn’t it?

J: Yes, it does.

JH: Interesting – you know, that sounds like a small detail, but that is not a small detail.

J: No, I don’t think it is.

JH: That is a real, daily, difference, just to kind of get up and get going. A lot of people, the worst part about living alone at home, especially if they’re single, is just that lack of motivation.

J: That’s true, and everybody’s up there. Well, not everybody, but a lot of them are up there and you chitchat and everyone is so friendly.

JH: That’s wonderful. That’s terrific. Well, you have been just wonderful to talk to. I really appreciate all your time.

J: Oh, more than happy to do it.

JH: Thank you. I should have asked you – did you ever take a Watermark University class?

J: Not yet – I’m waiting for the list to come out.

JH: Oh, well that’s the fun thing – you’ve got something to wait for and you never know what’ll be on there. Super, well, I really appreciate your time. You’ll have to give Shadow a kiss for us. We really do thank you and if I think of anything, if you don’t mind, I’ll give you a call if that would be ok?

J: That would be fine!

JH: Oh, I appreciate that so much.

J: Ok, thank you. It was nice chatting with you.

JH: Likewise – you two have a good day.

J: Thank you, you too. Bye bye.

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