“Our Adventures in Independent Living” by Don and Ina

Apr 21, 2022 | Life At Sunset

​We moved into Waterford Place in 2019, right before Ina left on a trip to Africa. When considering our options for an independent living home, it was important to us to create a space that showcased the furniture we collected while traveling the world during our military service. We love looking at each of these special pieces and remembering the marvelous memories we’ve made on our travels.

Since moving in, we genuinely feel like we’ve become part of the Waterford Place family. From the beginning, Ina felt that God inspired her to start a weekly prayer group for grandmothers living at Waterford Place. This small and intimate group of women have become her soulmates, and she cherishes the time they spend together. Ina has also become a SAIDO supporter and helps out with SAIDO sessions in Memory Care once a week. Don’s involvement in the community is inspired by his love for billiards—he visits the billiards table a few times a week with a group of friends and they spend the afternoon playing.

Why We Chose Waterford Place

Waterford Place has an incredibly convenient location. Since we’re both passionate about serving the West Michigan community, being in a central location is important. It feels serene here—it’s a little bit off the beaten path, but it has easy access to larger cities, specifically Grand Rapids and Grand Haven.

The main reason we chose Waterford Place is because of the campus’ attractiveness. Ina especially always dreamed of living somewhere beautiful during our retirement years, and Waterford was a perfect fit! The campus is timeless and it’s always fresh and clean. It’s a beautiful place we look forward to enjoying for years to come.

One of our favorite things about life here is the consistency. We’re able to enjoy our retirement years the way we want to without the worry of maintaining a home. There’s an atmosphere of safety, which is so important when we’re off traveling on another adventure. We’re comfortable locking our doors and leaving our home because we know that when we come back, everything will be just as we left it. The staff here are wonderful, always offering a friendly smile. They treat us like family, and we know they love us.

Attractive Amenities and Activities

There are so many fantastic aspects of life at Waterford Place, it’s difficult to pick a favorite. We enjoy working out and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which is easy to do within our community. Ina enjoys the aquatic center here, swimming laps in the morning three times a week, and Don is looking forward to the fitness center that is scheduled to be completed this spring. We enjoy cooking most of our meals together in our home, but we like having the freedom to dine at The Café as an option rather than being tied down to a meal plan. We’re also thankful for our parking garage so we don’t have to worry about scraping snow and ice off our vehicles in the winter months. And, we particularly enjoy attending the wide variety of concerts and special events that take place right on our campus throughout the year.

Looking forward, we’re both excited for the new chapel to be finished. Although we plan to continue attending our home church for Sunday services, we’re excited to worship with our Waterford family too, once the chapel is completed at the end of this year.

Staying Active in the Greater Community

While we love being part of our Waterford family, we stay active in the larger West Michigan community. We attend church and actively serve at LaGrave Christian Reformed with Ina participating in a women’s Bible study. We lived in the Holland area for ten years, so we try to remain active in both the Holland and Grand Haven communities. In Holland, Ina is a member of the Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO), a nationally recognized organization that raises funds for young women abroad who would like to pursue education at colleges and universities. She’s been part of PEO for ten years and is passionate about giving back in this way.

In Grand Haven, Don is part of a classical book study group where they read everything from Shakespeare to Mark Twain. This helps him stay connected with old friends—he started in the book club almost ten years ago because an old friend from high school invited him. In addition to studying classical literature, this book club also invites professors from Calvin University and Hope College to give a background on what they’re reading. As a retired Reformed Church minister, Don remains a member of the Holland Classis Reformed Church of America, including occasionally providing pulpit supply when invited.

Our Advice on Moving Into Independent Living

Don likes to say choosing a senior living community is like buying a vehicle—you should talk with the man who owns it. By talking to people who already live in the community before you make the move, you get a clearer picture of what to expect.

We encourage other seniors to move in before relocation becomes a need (due to needing assisted living or memory care), so you can enjoy the amenities and activities the community has to offer. You should also see if the community you’re interested in has priority access to healthcare—meaning, the Independent Living residents are first priority for the assisted living and memory care homes when they become available. This was a huge selling point for us and it continues to give us comfort, knowing we’ll be able to call Waterford Place home even if the need for additional care arises. Ina is certain that God knew what we needed, which is why He led us to this wonderful community.