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September 15, 2023

Choosing Independence, An Interview With “The Mayor of Gentry Park”, Why Jerry Chose Independent Living at Traditions 

Category: Senior Living

Author: Rich Richmond

The decision to move out of your home and into a Senior Living community is a tremendous one. There are many factors to consider, and let’s face it, it’s hard to leave behind the many memories you made in your home. At Traditions, we understand the importance of this decision and are ready to help you make the best decision for you and your family. 

For many seniors, considering a Senior Living community may seem like a premature decision. They may be happy where they are, able to care for themselves, and still active in the community in which they live. They may desire to stay close to friends and family. For Jerry, a fiercely independent resident at Gentry Park Senior Living in Bloomington, Indiana, proximity to his family was the driving decision to move. Jerry moved to Gentry Park a year and a half ago after living in Savannah, Georgia for 27 years. He was looking for a quiet atmosphere closer to family. “I just turned 88,” Jerry reflected in a recent interview. “I’m not really looking for a super exciting future,” he said with a gregarious laugh. 

It’s not hard to see why Jerry is so popular at Gentry Park and in the surrounding community, his friendly demeanor earning him the title “the mayor of Gentry Park.” “I have no idea!” Jerry responded with another hearty laugh when asked where the title came from. “Some guy came up to me a few months ago, and he said, ‘We call you the mayor of Gentry Park!’ I still have no idea why!” Samantha Barringer, the Community Relations Director at Gentry Park Senior Living, thinks Jerry’s friendly demeanor is why he earned this distinction. “I was told when I got here you’ve got to meet the mayor!” Samantha recalled. “He’s so welcoming and friendly, someone you can call on when you need something.” 

Independent living offers seniors all the benefits of senior living with the option to live in a house and retain their independence and dignity. Our villas offer a tranquil environment with an attached garage, a full kitchen, and all appliances included. Our smart-designed homes feature a variety of layouts and include access to all the events and services Gentry Park offers its residents. Independent living at Traditions empowers you to live independently, but never alone.

Jerry had previously lived in an independent senior living community in Savannah. “I liked it, “Jerry said. “I didn’t have to worry about taking care of the house or paying property taxes, I just didn’t want to do any of that anymore.” When the opportunity to move closer to his son and, more importantly, his grandchildren, Jerry jumped at the opportunity. “My son actually found this place,” Jerry said of how he found Gentry Park. “My son and his family live in Ellettsville, Indiana,” Jerry said. “He picked out this place. I think he made a great choice! If someone asked if they should live here, I’d say YES for sure!” 

Jerry loves the freedom and independence that comes with Independent Living at Gentry Park Senior Living. “I love not having to worry about the house,” Jerry said. “It’s such a great atmosphere here.” In addition to maintenance-free living in an upscale environment, Jerry still has the freedom and flexibility to do his own thing which includes attending his granddaughter’s cross-country events. 

When asked what he’d say to anyone considering Independent Living Jerry had this to say, “What are the things you like to do? What do you really want out of life? Whatever it is you can find it here without the day-to-day worries and responsibilities of staying in your own home. Independent Living gives you peace of mind, security, you get the community of being around people, the opportunity to meet new friends, and you get to have new life experiences.” 

After a rewarding 37-year career with Met Life, Jerry is content to enjoy retirement in the stress-free, serene, park-like setting of Gentry Park. Jerry moved here with his beloved dog Misty and together they enjoyed walking the oval and meeting new friends. “Believe it or not, my number one priority, besides being close to family, was finding a place that was pet-friendly!” Jerry exclaimed. “The walking path here is just an oval so it was nice to walk with my little girl Misty. We met so many people and made so many friends.” Jerry lost Misty recently but still loves walking the oval and making friends, even some fuzzy and feathered ones. “I love animals,” Jerry said. “The birds, the chipmunks, the squirrels. I’m spending $9.80 on birdseed every month! If you’re an animal lover, this is the place to be.” 

In addition to his comfortable home, and the walking path, Jerry loves many of the other amenities and events at Gentry Park Senior Living. “I love being able to participate in family events here,” Jerry said. “I’m blessed at 88 years old to be able to see my grandchildren regularly.” “Families like Jerry’s have really enjoyed our monthly events,” Samantha said. “They have fun coming and being part of the community.” “There are family luncheons, BBQs, and open houses,” Jerry said. “My family comes and eats up their fair share.” 

In addition to events at Gentry Park, residents like Jerry get to be involved in the community. Recently, Jerry and some of the other residents went on a winery tour. “We went to a winery event,” Jerry said. “It was very exciting! Maybe we had a little bit too much wine,” he laughed. 

Another benefit of Independent Living at Gentry Park Jerry enjoys is the delicious dining options.While he does enjoy weekly transportation to the local Kroger to do his grocery shopping, Jerry takes advantage of the dining options at Gentry Park. “For the most part, I have take-out dinners,” Jerry said. “I pick them up at the same of the day. I love the flexibility of choosing the meals, getting them when I want them, and selecting my menu ahead of time.” 

When asked what his favorite things about Independent Living at Gentry Park were, Jerry didn’t hesitate, “It’s a great atmosphere here,” he said. “I love the walking, flexibility, the people, and the staff is very, very nice.” 

Jerry encourages seniors and their families to have open, honest discussions about their options for senior living. “Evaluate your needs,” Jerry said. “You have the opportunity to be around people but also be independent and do your own thing.” “Do you want to be stuck shoveling snow and feeling isolated this winter?” 

Jerry acknowledged that every situation is unique but said each family should carefully consider their own unique situation and make the decision that’s best for them. “You know it depends on their own situation,” Jerry said when asked what to say to someone considering Independent Living. “So many I’ve met here are from this area, born and raised here. They have friends and family nearby. As long as they are close to family or friends, Independent Living can be a great choice for maintenance-free living.” 

“Life is what you want to make of it!” 

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