Jim and Diane Collins recently celebrated their second anniversary at Concordia at Cabot Haven Apartments. They moved from Rehoboth Beach, and as they reflect on their search for a retirement living community, they have many insights into the process.
“People ask us why we would move from the beach to Pittsburgh,” Diane said. “There were a lot of good reasons.”
The couple, who both hail from Philadelphia but have also lived in the Pittsburgh area and Indiana state, began considering retirement living after watching others wait too long to plan ahead.
“We lived in a condo in Rehoboth for about seven years, and we saw neighbors eventually have physical problems,” Jim said. “They hadn’t prepared, so they would end up going to any nursing facility that had an opening – sometimes 50 miles away. They lost their choice.”
When they started researching for themselves, Jim relied on his experience in social work to help him compare organizations.
“During my career, I would visit agencies for accreditation visits to see if they were achieving their goals and outcomes,” Jim said. “Over the years, I found that faith-based agencies actually achieved better outcomes, and residents and patients also felt they were being treated better. It seemed empirically observable to me that if you can find a truly faith-based community you like, you will most likely get better care.”
Jim and Diane searched for a retirement living community with three criteria, as Jim explained: “We wanted to find an organization that was first, genuinely faith-based, second, financially stable – because through my work I knew that things didn’t always work out for these kinds of communities, and residents could lose everything – and third, affordable for us. It was actually pretty fun to search.”
The couple toured retirement living communities in Rehoboth and Indiana, but also returned to Pennsylvania to look in Lancaster, Harrisburg, Gettysburg and the Pittsburgh area.
“It came out that Concordia was the best all around,” Jim said. “I looked at the PA Department of Health visits for Concordia’s nursing facilities, because there’s so much you can find online, and Concordia’s results were always very good. When I see that, it lets me know that an organization is good across the board.”
Diane’s work experience also led the couple in their search, since she previously worked in patient care as a CNA (certified nursing assistant).
“I’m a big proponent of continuing care – places where I knew if something happened to one of us the other would be cared for,” Diane said. “I was happy that Concordia offered that, and I was also paying attention while we toured here. Everything was immaculately clean, and you can see the attention to detail and how serious they were here about taking care of their people.”
The couple also took special note of what current residents thought of Concordia.
“We visited on a Saturday, and as our admissions counselor was showing us the building which would become our home, there were three men out front working in the garden, planting and weeding,” Diane said. “I was surprised and asked if the maintenance crews always work on Saturday. She told me no, those were residents who volunteer their time and love to garden. We thought that any community where residents are willing to volunteer like that has to be top notch. It shows you they are just doing what they would do at home. We didn’t get that feeling anywhere else we toured, and that’s what finally made us choose Concordia.”
Since moving in two years ago, the couple have taken full advantage of all that Concordia has to offer. Jim walks a few miles around the campus every day, and Diane volunteers in the Lund Care Center. Both enjoy trivia, Wii bowling, and the many events, entertainment performances and trips with their fellow residents, many of whom are now their friends.
“Concordia really just takes you in and helps with whatever you need help with – they make you a part of the community,” Diane said. “It’s not just words. They really care about you here.”
If you would like more information about our senior care locations in Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio or Tampa, Florida, visit our Locations Map or call our administrative headquarters at 724-352-1571.
Founded in 1881, Concordia Lutheran Ministries is a faith-based, CARF-CCAC-accredited Aging Services Network and recipient of the inaugural Pennsylvania Department of Aging Excellence in Quality Care Award. As one of the largest nonprofit senior care providers in the country, the organization serves 50,000 people annually through in-home care and inpatient locations in western PA, eastern OH and Tampa, FL.
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