Centennial Retirement Community welcomes a new generation

There was a time not too long ago when multiple generations of family members lived in the same community, often in the same house of that community. The home was passed down to family members, providing comradery and stability for the next generation. At Holly Creek Life Plan Community in Centennial a similar passing down – of sorts – is happening as residents welcome second generation family members to the same community home.

Judy Stalnaker is one of Holly Creek’s several second generation residents who have chosen to live in the same retirement community as their parents because of the comradery and stability, and also the new opportunities that it provides.

“We moved in Valentine’s Day, so almost a year ago,” Judy shared. For Judy and her husband Pete, choosing to move into Holly Creek was an easy decision because, in many ways, the couple had already chosen it before. Judy’s parents both lived at Holly Creek for years—thanks in large part to Judy’s assistance.

“When my parents were ready to move, I visited four retirement communities, and my sister went to five,” Judy explained. “We wrote down all the pros and cons. Holly Creek was my pick.”

Judy’s father moved into the community’s Assisted Living and her mom into the Independent Living neighborhood. “My mom didn’t have to worry about providing 24/7 care for my dad, but they could still eat and read the paper together.”

Two key factors that encouraged the couple to pick the community for both Judy’s parents and for themselves are Holly Creek’s authentic community and excellent dining options.

“The #1 reason I wanted to pick it for mom was the friendliness. Everyone said hi — it’s almost an unstated rule,” Judy explained.

The second reason? “That there were always three dining good options — we wouldn’t always have to go to the same place.”

This was definitely a key influence for the Stalnakers, who previously lived downtown and have always enjoyed exploring new restaurants around town. Even while they had access to eateries across Denver, the couple looked forward to monthly dinners at Holly Creek with Judy’s mom.

Judy and Pete aren’t the only second generation residents to recently join the Holly Creek Community. Carol and Bill Strickland also moved into a Holly Creek cottage a little over a year ago, and their reasons for choosing the community follow similar themes.

“Mom had moved to so many different places,” Bill shared, listing off the four or five other retirement communities she had tried and left soon after each transition. “This is the one she really enjoyed. They treated her so well.”

Seeing how the community’s team and residents cared for their mother, especially through her time in Holly Creek’s hospice care, made the Strickland’s own decision simple.

Of course, things have looked different for the past year, but both the Stalnakers and Stricklands are grateful for the ways that Holly Creek has handled the pandemic.

“We feel very safe here,” Pete Stalnaker offered, and Judy added that “it has been very helpful being here while dealing with my MS.”

Pete would also argue that he and Judy had much better access to key resources at Holly Creek during the pandemic than they would have in their old home.

“I never had it so good since moving to Holly Creek,” he shared. “Right around the corner I play pickleball regularly, and just down the hall is the gym where I work out every day. The salon is right there, too, by the bistro where we eat breakfast every day. Even the trash and mail — they’re all so close. With the pandemic we’re “locked in,” but everything I need is right here.”

Another major benefit is the community and new opportunities that the couple has been able to make and sustain even during COVID-19 restrictions.

“I love talking with people in the hallways — there are so many quality people here,” Pete explained. “And there are so many libraries. I never took time to read before, but I finished twenty-five books this year.”

Judy has really enjoyed watching Pete’s social life blossom and also explored some new opportunities of her own. “I have particularly enjoyed the writers’ circle and book club. To have those two activities to meet people and interact has been incredible.”

Since they moved into a cottage home, the Stricklands have not been able to access as many of the Holly Creek main building activities, but they have started to form friendships with their neighbors through weekly Wine Wednesdays (outdoor social gatherings, when weather allows), and they are glad to still connect regularly with their family in the Denver area.

Both couples are just grateful to have found a place in the meaningful community their parents also enjoyed. Pete’s own words sum it up — “I just love this place. My quality of life has really gone up since I moved here, even with the pandemic.”

Located in at 5500 E. Peakview Avenue in Centennial, Holly Creek is owned and operated by Denver-based not-for-profit Christian Living Communities. CLC has been providing quality senior care in the south Denver metropolitan area since 1972. For more information, visit www.hollycreekcommunity.com.

This story was originally published in the Denver Post Your Hub.

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