In Her Own Words: Eadie Shanker’s Journey from New York City to Pennswood Village
Eadie Shanker moved from New York City to Pennswood Village two years ago. She writes about the process that led her to this decision in hopes that her fellow New Yorkers and teacher union members might benefit from her experience:
I retired in 1997 and spent almost two-decades living alone in Manhattan. By 2015, I was slowing down and did not want to live alone in the future. I wanted to be in a supportive community, but I had no idea of how to begin my search. A friend advised me to visit Quaker Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) near the city and others in Bucks County.
First, at my eldest son’s suggestion, I visited a private senior residence near him in New York. Then I visited a Quaker residence in lower Westchester — very near where my younger son lives. Both residences were beautiful, but they didn’t feel right for me and were very expensive.
I then visited two other CCRCs in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The first CCRC’s landscaping was lush and truly remarkable, but its separate cottages held no sense of community engagement for me, and seemed unlikely to foster collaborative participation. During both visits, I did not see any resident activity.
Even though I began to think I had unrealistic expectations for a senior community, I really liked the Bucks County countryside. and thought I should continue my search there. So I visited another CCRC primarily because my daughter lives in Philadelphia — only a 30 minute drive from it.
Right away, upon entering Pennswood’s Community Building, I sensed a spirited environment, and my initial interview was very welcoming and informative. In the spacious community reception area, residents were relaxing on comfortable couches and engaged in spirited conversations. Others were hurrying to scheduled activities — some on electric scooters, or using walkers or canes — while smiling and nodding a “hello.” An art gallery (which mounts monthly exhibits of works of local artists) was invitingly open in the reception area.
At the end of our tour my daughter and I were invited to return as guests, (which we did) to experience life in the community, to sit in on many resident-run activities and to meet some very friendly, interesting, and accomplished residents over meals. By then, I knew that Pennswood was right for me and I no longer wanted to continue my search. So I happily entered my new home September, 2016.
My appreciation for all that Pennswood offers has deepened in the past two years as I realized that even non-Quakers like me can live by Quaker values. Those values are not abstract ideals, but ones we live by here each day. They include the belief that each person counts and is treated with respect, generosity, kindness and caring. In a community of 400 residents and 400 part-time employees they are values that create and sustain a diverse and non-discriminatory community. In addition, its healthcare consistently receives a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and it is CARF accredited. I am so grateful to live in this wonderful place.
There is so much more to know that is good about Pennswood, which are impossible to convey in my account of how I found my new home and why I chose Pennswood’s remarkable community. I hope my experience will help inform CUNY retirees’ search. Should you want to learn more, go to Pennswood’s comprehensive website (www.penswood.org). and start your search for an outstanding senior residence by contacting the Marketing Department, for an appointment at 215-504-1118.
If you are as “sold” on Pennswood, as I am, put your name on the waiting list, with a deposit, to show your sincere interest. If you do that sooner rather than later, there will be a place for you when you are ready to join our community.
As Eadie mentioned, there is indeed more to her story. In a recent interview, she explains how she’s enjoyed life in the community after arriving.
“There’s a Shakespeare course that one of the members here teaches that I love,” she continues. “There are movies here three times a week, and concerts a couple of times a month. We get some of the top musicians to come here!”
Eadie is also very involved with others working on the issue of gerrymandering in the state.
“People here are very aware of it,” she says, pointing to the bills in the state legislature intended to address the practice. “We’ve done a job raising consciousness and getting people out to talk about it.”
She’s glad she found Pennswood.
“I don’t like the hurly burly of New York City anymore; I’m so glad I found this place,” she says. “It’s more than just serene, I really enjoy the way people treat other people here. It’s just remarkable.”