Rit had never stepped foot inside The Ivy at Ellington until the day he moved from New York to the assisted living community nestled in the Connecticut River Valley.
Life at Home ... Alone
Rit was born and raised in Poughkeepsie, New York. A 30-year-military career took him around the world, but after retirement and the loss of his wife, he moved back to the Empire State and settled into a nice two-bedroom apartment in Wappingers Falls.
Then one day, the 80-something year-old slipped and fell while getting out of the shower — and he couldn’t get up.
“My son kept calling me all day long, but I couldn’t get to the phone,” Rit recalls. A day later, Rit’s apartment manager found him on the bathroom floor.
After stabilizing at the hospital, Rit transferred to a rehabilitation center in Poughkeepsie. In less than two weeks, he was walking without a walker.
“The problem was, I fell again,” Rit says. Because older adults who have fallen tend to be at a higher risk for a future fall.
Two Hours and 100 Miles
Away Unbeknownst to Rit, his son, Rick, was investigating their options. He was worried about his dad, who lived over 100 miles and two hours away, and wanted him closer to where he lived in Ellington, Connecticut.
After Rit’s second fall, Rick knew it was time to make the move to assisted living, so he scoped out three assisted living communities in and around the Ellington area. When he toured The Ivy, he knew he’d found the right place for his dad.
“So my son called and said: ‘I’d like you to come here to Ellington. I have a place here that you can move to,’” Rit says.
To Move or Not To Move
Rit was eager to live closer to his son and daughter-in-law.
“We didn’t get a chance to see each other even though I was getting better and eventually got to a point where I didn’t need a walker,” Rit says.
But he wasn’t excited about leaving New York. Like many parents who are faced with the prospect of leaving their hometown to move to an assisted living community closer to where their adult children live, Rit enjoyed his routine: Wake up, drive to the store, come home, watch TV.
However, he also understood the stress his son was going through.
“I said, alright, if that’s what you want,” Rit says. “It’s closer for him, easier for him to see me. Now he doesn’t have to drive all across Connecticut to see me. All he has to do is drive, oh, about maybe five or six minutes and he’s here.”
Closer to Family
Although some seniors might be apprehensive about relocating, Rit wasn’t nervous.
“30 years I spent in the U.S. Army going all over the world,” says Rit, who lived in Alaska before it even became a state, then Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Germany, and many places in between. “So it didn’t bother me to move to a place that I had no idea what it was like. If you’re friendly with everyone, then you’ll always be able to walk down the hall and say hi to somebody.”
Plus, he trusted his son: “My son runs a company. He’s very smart. He came to The Ivy and said it was great. I believed him. And it’s true. It’s a nice place to be."
In fact, there are a lot of things Rit loves about The Ivy at Ellington. On Mondays, he leads a news and sports discussion in The Pub. He enjoys daily walks with the ladies in the Holy Walk-a-Molies Club. He jokingly calls Activities Director, Lorelei Dubowski his boss but never turns down an invitation to play Rummikub or Mexican Train. And the showers have grab bars all the way around the walls, so he hasn’t fallen since.
But the best part? He gets to see his son a few times a week, and they have a standing dinner date. Every Friday evening, Rit and Rick and his wife go out to eat at Casey’s Cafe, a stone’s throw from The Ivy’s front door. A burger, a beer (an IPA, of course) and his son — what more could a dad want?
“It’s good living,” Rit says.
Want to live closer to your parents? Learn more about The Ivy at Ellington. Schedule a tour today!