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Life at Pomperaug Woods

Active seniors know that retirement is the start of a wonderful new stage in life — after all, you’ve got a lot of living to do! Now’s the time to check things off your bucket list — take up new hobbies, pursue your passions, make new friends, and spend time with loved ones. Savvy seniors downsize and move to Pomperaug Woods, where we take care of tedious yard work and home maintenance, leaving residents free to focus on fun.

Pomperaug Woods welcomes new residents to our LifeCare community every day. It’s always fascinating to hear how they spend their days on campus — joining clubs, taking daytrips, and dropping into classes and lectures. Good food, good friends, and good fun fill the day, and we love to hear all about it. Read on to learn what residents have found as they have gone “Into the Woods…”. What they often end up finding is the very best version of themselves.

Life really is better at Pomperaug Woods…

Peggy Jett

Peggy Jett is practical by nature. “As a retired nurse, I understand how important it is to find the proper care for yourself at this stage of life,” said Peggy. “I had been on my own for almost 50 years, so I understood the value of being practical. The combination of seeking the proper care as well as the enjoyment of an interesting life led me to start my own search for a senior living community that would be right for me. I had a few health issues crop up over the last five years, and while I have come through them fine, it was clear to me that I needed to listen to my body and find a living situation with more support in place. Researching many places in Connecticut, I ultimately chose Pomperaug Woods. To quote a Heritage Village friend, ‘No one has ever said they regretted moving to Pomperaug Woods,’ and that captures my feelings perfectly. Living here is just the right choice for me.”

Joyce Haskel

Joyce Haskel understands the importance of asking for help. “I have had two careers in my life,” said Joyce. “I was an art teacher in an elementary school, and after putting my career on pause to raise my children, I pivoted and became a social worker for the State of New York for 20 years. At the heart of being a teacher and a social worker is the effort you put into helping others. So now that I am 93 years old, I acknowledge that I occasionally need help myself. And at Pomperaug Woods the staff goes out of their way to help you. They always put the residents’ needs first. There is a waiter in the dining room who helps me with my iPad. When I needed to return my Rollator, Jeff found me a box on his own time. When I was sick with Covid, the nurse sent an aide to my apartment to straighten up while I rested. Everyone is so nice here.”

Lyn Atkinson

Lyn Atkinson has a zest for living. “I absolutely love it here at Pomperaug Woods,” said Lyn. “I go to all the exercise classes and chair yoga class. And when it’s nice out, I grab my Ferrari (my fancy walker) and take walks all over campus on the new walking trails. Every Wednesday I’m up bright and early for the day trip. It’s such fun to go out to lunch and a museum for the day. Other days you’ll find me at lectures or at the Creative Arts class. I’m spoiled living here. When I’m walking down the hall and see people taking a tour of the building, I always stop and tell them how much I love it here. I want people to move here because I know they’ll enjoy it as much as I do!”

Herb Slutsky

Herb has been a linksman for almost 75 years. “That’s a lot of time out on the greens,” laughs Herb. “And I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Herb didn’t grow up playing golf, but he picked it up in college where he met his wife, Helen. “I went to SUNY Cortland, and she went to Syracuse University. We’d meet in the middle and play golf together,” said Herb. “She was very good. After college I went in the Army and spent 14 months in Korea. When I came home, my wife had a brand-new set of clubs waiting for me. I’ve been regularly golfing ever since.”

Fran Leili

As a clinical psychologist, Fran Leili lives a life of conscious choice. “If you’re going to make a change in life, I think it’s important not to wait too long,” said Fran. “At age 84, I chose to move to Pomperaug Woods while I’m still capable of forming meaningful relationships, trying new experiences, and having the energy to make a full life for myself. Finding a beautiful balance in this new stage of life between independence and support is within reach for everyone, and it’s especially attainable when you live at such a warm and welcoming place as Pomperaug Woods.”

Santosh Joshi

Santosh Joshi has traveled all over the world, and she brings that same enthusiasm for living to her life at Pomperaug Woods. “You will never find me in my apartment,” said Santosh. “I’m always out having fun joining in on the activities. I’m the busiest person at Pomperaug Woods!”

Bill & Marilyn Simon

While change is never easy, being proactive about making a big change to your life often gives you the energy and perseverance to see it through. That was the experience Bill and Marilyn Simon had when they considered downsizing and moving to Pomperaug Woods. “We have been married for almost 69 years,” said Marilyn. “We lived in Bethany, Connecticut, for 35 years and raised our children there. When they were grown and gone, we moved to a condo in Southbury, Connecticut, where we enjoyed life for 23 years. As the stairs there began to be troublesome, and the joys of grocery shopping and cooking began to diminish. I knew it was time to make a change.”

Joel Abramson

Joel Abramson faced many crucial moments in life with courage. As a World War II fighter pilot based on Iwo Jima, it took courage for Joel to fly into battle. “One of my missions turned out to be the very last combat mission of World War II,” said Joel. “It was one of the happiest days of my life.” Many years later, it took courage for Joel to face the devastating effects of a stroke. “I vividly recall being determined to make a full recovery,” said Joel. “And I DID!” And as a dynamic, active senior, living a great life for 28 years in Heritage Village, it took some courage for Joel and his wife to make a change and move to Pomperaug Woods. “I think facing any change in life takes some courage,” said Joel.

Ellie Crystal

Ellie Crystal is not one to shy away from change. “Life is always changing,” Ellie said. “You have to embrace it.”

Married 60 years to her husband Allan, they lived in Brooklyn, NY, then moved to New Brunswick, NJ, and finally settled in Westport, CT. She originally was a bookkeeper, then took time off to stay home to raise her three children. At age 40, she decided to go to college and get a degree in Social Work. “I went to community college in Norwalk, and when I got my degree, they placed me in a social service non-profit called Christian Community Action. I rose through the ranks and ended up running the agency for 15 years. It was a really rewarding job.”

Mervyn Clay

Mervyn Clay was a Manhattanite through and through.  “I lived in New York City for 49 years,” said Mervyn.  “I lived in a rent controlled third-floor walk-up apartment on Riverside Drive.  It was gorgeous.  When I inherited a condo at Heritage Village, I started spending three weeks in Connecticut, and three weeks in Manhattan.  I liked the contrast of country versus city.  But while I was out and about in Connecticut one day, I fell and fractured my leg.  I couldn’t walk for three months, so I lived in Connecticut while it healed.  On my first day back to the City I counted the steps up to my apartment.  There were 52 stairs from the sidewalk to my apartment door, and I thought ‘Well, this will never do.  I can’t live in a third-floor walk-up forever, and I can’t live in my country condo forever with the enormous gardens to care for.  I clearly need to get a better plan and come up with a safety net for myself.’  And so I did. 

May Bernhard

May knew the antidote to the isolation of Covid was to seek out the camaraderie of a senior living community. “I lived in Heritage Village when Covid began,” said May. “With nothing to do and no one to talk to, the isolation really started to take its toll. I had been married for 48 years, but my husband passed away many years ago, so I understood how important it was to stay connected with others to weather life’s ups and downs. I have two daughters, but they don’t live nearby. I had a 30-year career judging AKC dog shows all across the United States and around the world, but I recently retired from that. The pandemic wasn’t going to end quickly, so I knew I had to take decisive action to turn things around for myself. I started touring senior living communities. My daughter and I looked at a lot of them, but one immediately bubbled up to the top — Pomperaug Woods. It impressed me as a true “community.” There is nothing institutional about it. The building itself is light, and bright, and beautiful. The staff is exceptionally warm and welcoming. And the residents are a social, lively group. It was exactly what I was looking for! I moved in on June 2, 2021, and I’ve never looked back. I couldn’t be happier here.”

Thelma Oppenheimer

“What can I say? I like people,” said Thelma. “I grew up in Manhattan and went to high school at Bronx Science. I was a buyer for my parents’ clothing stores for a long time, and after they closed, I worked in retail management for 30 years. I managed stores for Caldors, and later Loehmanns and Marshalls. I really enjoyed it! To be successful in retail, you have to like people, and I truly do. Fast forward to when I turned 80, and I decided to look into senior living communities. I immediately connected with the friendly culture of Pomperaug Woods. Everything about it felt so personal and warm. I have lived here for five years and been very happy with my choice.”

Harry Kamel

Harry Kamel is a proud centenarian, who shows no signs of slowing down. “I will be 101 on July 1 st ,” said Harry. “I’m busy all the time. Maybe after I finish writing my second book, I will take it easy. But there’s still so many things that interest me.”

Rolf & Rita Kogstad

“I grew up in Norway,” said Rolf.  “I went to the University of Glasgow in Scotland for a chemical engineering degree, and as soon as I could, I fulfilled my dream of emigrating to the United States.  I had jobs in Los Angeles and Louisville, Kentucky, and then moved further afield — Aruba, Columbia, the Philippines — eventually moving back to Norway to work for a large Norwegian company.  They transferred me back to the US to run their New York head office, where I was also very involved with the Norwegian community and became chairman of the NY Norwegian Seaman’s Church.”

Peggy Gloria

“I have made great friends with so many people here,” said Peggy. “I go on all the daytrips to museums, the theater, and the movies. Lisa does an amazing job with activities. I’m a regular at Jeffrey Engel’s Music Appreciation class. And Dr. Hunt’s lectures are always fascinating. I learn so much from both of them. I’m also on the Resident Council and I really enjoy attending the Board meetings. My days are full. My life is full.”

Peggy Gloria
Ken Meyer

Ken Meyer

“When I moved into Pomperaug Woods, the first thing I joined was the ROMEO Club,” said Ken. “ROMEO means Retired Old Men Eating Out. It’s great! A bunch of guys get together and go out to lunch. We talk a lot about UConn basketball. To be honest, I have had plenty of friends my whole life, but after my wife passed, I realized I didn’t have any guy friends that I could hang out with by myself. Moving to Pomperaug Woods made it easy to make new friends. I’m grateful for that.”

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