The right move
Kathy Curry-Wagner remembers the first time she visited Touchmark on West Prospect. On her tour, she donned a hard hat to get a glimpse of the stand-alone cottages and main building, which would offer apartments and general spaces, including a dining room, library, chapel and other spaces residents could use. Curry-Wagner was moving out of her home, and she wanted to make the right decision — finding a retirement community where she could participate in group activities and make new friends while still retaining her independence.
As Touchmark celebrates its 15th anniversary, Curry-Wagner and other longtime residents share how they successfully made the move from their family home to a retirement community. It’s a decision more older adults are facing, especially as the baby boomer generation is now reaching their retirement years.
A full-service retirement community, Touchmark offers a continuum of care that includes independent and assisted living apartments in the main building and 36 single-family homes in its own neighborhood setting. Homes range in size from about 1,300 square feet to more than 2,000. In 2014, Touchmark added memory care services.
Curry-Wagner opted to move into her two-bedroom single-family home shortly after Touchmark opened 15 years ago and does not regret the decision.
“I love living here. There is so much to do, and you don’t need to worry about the things you do when you own a home, such as replacing the carpet when it wears out or clearing the snow in the winter,” she said. “They keep everything updated and in good condition.”
Twelve years ago, Barb Leslie made the decision to move into a three-bedroom single-family home sight unseen. She and her husband lived in North Carolina and decided to move closer to one of their children. Her daughter looked at Touchmark and after talking to her, Leslie and her husband took the plunge.
“It’s a beautiful campus—and campus is the perfect word for it. You can go for walks outside; in the winter, people can walk the halls in the main building,” she said. “There are also trips and outings to different places. It’s nice to be surrounded by people who have a lot of the same interests you do.”
Jean Ormson moved to a two-bedroom apartment 13 years ago. “In my apartment, I can cook meals if I want to, or I can go downstairs for meals. The staff are also so nice, and it is fun to interact with the younger people who work in the dining room.”
One of the team members who has seen the community grow is Bonnie LeMieux. For 14 years, she has served as a caregiver to Touchmark residents. Whatever the need, she’s there to lend a smile and helping hand.
“I enjoy the residents so much, and they bring a lot of joy to my day,” LeMieux said.
One resident holds an extra-special place in her heart. “My mom moved in a few years ago, and it’s wonderful that I get to see her every night,” said LeMieux, who works third shift. “I often come in early before my shift starts to play cards with her and other residents.”
Residents routinely praise the amount and quality of activities Touchmark offers. Ormson, for example, got involved with the singing group and another one that is knitting items for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin-Fox Valley.
Leslie said Touchmark has a varied lineup of entertainers and presenters. Musicians come in as well as guest speakers who talk on a variety of topics ranging from health and wellness to history.
Touchmark also offers exercise classes and special activities like the recent Olympics, Curry-Wagner said. “There’s always something going on. You can participate in as much as you like.”
Ormson believes her fellow residents are like a second family. “I really have peace of mind living here. I also enjoy the social interaction. There’s always someone to talk to.”
While Ormson, Curry-Wagner and Leslie come from different backgrounds and moved in at different times, the three have definitely discovered the “full life” awaiting people who choose to move to a retirement community, especially when they can enjoy the benefits for many years.
A full-service retirement community, Touchmark on West Prospect is located on 40 acres directly across from the Butte des Morts Country Club. A wide range of homes and lifestyle options is offered. Touchmark is an active participant in the broader community and was named the 2014 Town of Menasha Business of the Year. Also in 2014, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) recognized Touchmark as a winner of the Governor’s Exemplary Employer Award. More information is available at Touchmark.com.