Over the past few years, we’ve had the privilege of helping dozens of seniors downsize and relocate to Otterbein Granville (formerly Kendal). This life plan community offers independent living in lovely little cottages, villas and apartments in addition to assisted living and skilled nursing services. There’s a lot to love about Otterbein Granville. With a backdrop of wooded hillsides and wildflower-lined walking paths, Otterbein is well known for its first-class health and wellness facilities and a wide range of activities. The list of authors, artists and musicians who have visited it is long and illustrious. But what makes Otterbein so special are the people who call it home; people like Nancy B.
In our series of Songbird Story profiles, we introduce you to some of the wonderful people we’ve had the honor of working with at Songbird. In addition to learning a little bit about their lives, we’ll also discuss some of the details of their downsizing experience.
While helping Nancy downsize from a home she’d lived in since the early 1990's, the Songbird team learned more about her and her large and accomplished family. We are honored to share some of Nancy’s story in this space.
To know Nancy is to know how important her family and her wide circle of friends are to her. Nancy’s mother had a total of 12 children in her lifetime.
“My mom was the picture of motherhood,” Nancy shared. “One of my favorite memories was mom pushing a baby buggy alongside all of us kids. People would say, ‘Oh, what a lovely Catholic family!’ and she would say to them, ‘I’m just a passionate Protestant!’”
While packing and sorting Nancy’s household items, our conversations with her focused a lot on family. We loved learning about the sister she talks to every day, the accomplishments of her brothers, the career paths of her daughters and her beautiful, blended family get-togethers.
Always good natured and quick witted, Nancy regularly provided updates from her card club and her sewing club, which were "more about food, and less out sewing these days” she said with a sly smile.
A lifelong educator and learner, Nancy retired after nearly 45 years in the classroom. She began her career as a speech and hearing therapist, and later served as an intervention specialist for children with learning disabilities.
Nancy was such a joy to work with and we were thrilled to be able to share more about her downsizing experience. See some of the facts below:
Moved to: 655 square foot 1 bedroom apartment
Moved from: 1,700 square foot 3 bedroom, 3 bath home
Number of years lived in the home: 25+ years
Timeline: Spent 2 months giving stuff to friends before calling Songbird to help organize, sort & move
Charities supported through downsized donations: Licking County Community Center for 60+ Adults
What possessions were you happy to donate or get rid of?
Couches. Lots of towels! Napkins & table dressings.
What possessions were the hardest to part with?
Things my dad made and things with family history or stories behind them. But, I’m really glad that my grandkids were able to take some of them. All in all, it turned out really well.
What motivated you to downsize?
I was lonely and needed to be around people more. I also wanted to move for health reasons.
In 45 years of teaching, I only took two sick days but now I’m having some health issues and I need to be some place where if I need help, I can push a button.
What has been the best part of the downsize?
Knowing that some of the things I loved for 50+ years will still stay in the family and the things I don’t need any more will be used by others.
I also really enjoy all the activities here at Otterbein. There are so many great speakers and opportunities to get out and get involved in activities beyond yourself. I like playing putt putt golf and I participate in as many exercise classes as I can. There are musicians and artists from inside our community and outside the community that play here as well.
What was the biggest challenge of the downsize?
Finding my way around Otterbein! I’ve actually met so many neat people when I got lost. I suppose I could get embarrassed or I could just use it as a way to meet people and laugh about it.
What was the most impactful part of working with Songbird Transitions?
They listened. They were kind. They keep a schedule. And they were fun! I love humor and I love a good laugh. They would get me past my “I don’t want to leave that...” (mentality) and they helped me see that I don’t need 45 cloth napkins!
Plus, Sam really figured out ways in which to arrange the furniture that allowed me to keep pieces that were meaningful to me, such as the mirror my father made and the antique high chair that I use as a plant stand.
Was there anything about the move that surprised you?
What surprised me was the ease in which Songbird could move things around. They are such a great team and it says a lot about what kind of people they are.
Songbird brought out the fun parts of moving instead of the dread. They made it so easy.
What advice would you give to others who are considering downsizing?
I’d recommend working with Sam and Luke! They are nice people that do what they say they’re going to do.
Talk to people who have moved recently and learn what worked and what didn’t.
Take your time. Don’t rush.
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