Ten years ago (June 2012), my wife Pat and I moved from Annapolis, Maryland to Collington, a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) – a Life Plan Community located in suburban Washington D.C. We are in a cottage living independently with access to medical care, one meal a day, and housekeeping services. If necessary, we have access to assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory support.
In most CCRCs, residents have very little to say about participating in the governance of the institution. Not so at Collington. While management has the final say, residents participate in advising management in many ways, some of which are listed below.
- Residents Association Council.
- Many Operating Committees, such as Buildings, Auditorium & AV, Climate Action, Interiors Group, Transportation/Security, Fiscal Review, Grounds, Health Services, Social Support, Hospitality, Marketing, and Technology/Communications that work closely with management.
- Many Activity Committees, including Billiards, Bird Club, Camera Club, Collington Singers, Collingtonian (monthly publication), Community Outreach, Creative Arts, Drama, Flower, Frame Shop, Garden, Ham Radio Club, Hobby Shop, Hospitality, Indigenous Awareness, Interfaith Chapel, Kaleidoscope, Library, Music, Neighbor Talks, and Pets.
- Country Store.
- Opportunity Outlet (OO) Shop – a Thrift store.
From a study made in 2019, about 40 hours a day (about 14,000 hours a year) are donated to Collington by volunteer residents.
Pat’s activities include:
Residents Association – Pat has served both as 1st Vice President and President from 2014-2018. Over her domain, were all of the many committees, the District housing leaders, and much more. It took a lot of time. She was wonderful at it – and she enjoyed it.
Country Store – Collington has a small convenience store. For many years she has worked there once a week.
Flower Committee – Pat has been the Chair from 2019-2022.
The Flower Committee provides fresh flower arrangements throughout the courtyard level and the 3rd and 4th floor levels of the Creighton Center. The Committee makes special arrangements on request for memorial services, celebrations and other occasions. The Committee also provides special and more elaborate arrangements for holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and Seder dinners. The annual “tea party with hats” is quite a social gathering for the 40 or so members.
Drama Committee – Was co-chair for 2 years. Acted in several productions, including The Odd Couple (women’s version), a George Bernard Shaw play, Café Noir (a dinner theater), & Hayfever.
Joe’s activities include:
Hospitality Chair. Upon moving to Collington (2012), the then President, Grant Bagley, asked what committee I would like to chair. Somehow, I got hooked into chairing the Hospitality Committee. With Pat’s help, we provided about 12 programs a year – and we did it well. However, there was one thing wrong, I’m not a party guy and the residents wanted more and more programs. I was saved by being able to pass it on in about 3 years to Greg Gay and Marlane Liddell.
Head, Opportunity Outlet (OO) – a thrift shop, for about 5 years. I and the other volunteers, raised about ¼ million dollars during this time. Proceeds from this go to the Residents Association and provide the major support of its many outreach committees such as drama, flower, hospitality, library, music, the monthly publication The Collingtonian, Mentoring at local schools, and more.
Playing piano every other week for Episcopal Services in our Chapel. Soon after arriving at Collington, I was asked to play, replacing Ricky Evans, every other week. Carol Kempske played the alternate weeks.
It required playing the hymns which I could easily sight read plus a prelude and postlude. No big deal. I would characterize my playing as adequate but not distinguished.
The only time I embarrassed myself was when, at the last minute, I was asked to play for the Unitarian service. Everything went well until the next hymn was “Let’s Dance”, one that I had never heard of. Wow! I created a mess. I still cringe when I think about it.
After about 6 years, I asked to be replaced. I was having trouble remembering what key I was in. I was having to look often to the key signature to reassure myself.
Collington Singers. I quit singing in the Annapolis Chorale about 4 years ago. The director, Ernie Green, was wonderful and we always sang large works and with orchestra. It was becoming difficult to get on the risers and stand for long periods of time. At about the same time, Marilyn Haskel became the director of the Collington Singers. She is wonderful! Trained as a choir director, I have never been willing to sing under a director who was not as good as I am. She is better! I no longer like the sound of my voice; however, it sounds better with 60 or so backing me up. The best I can say is that I can read the music.
Created 2 publications. New residents were often frustrated by not being able to find information about local doctors; also, also where to go for local information. To answer some of the questions, I created 2 publications which I update annually. They are now best sellers and are provided to new resident’s welcome packet, are posted on the Resident’s Website, are posted on Live Collington, and with paper copies in Collington’s library. The clinic also uses the medical one as a resource. These publications are:
- Nearby Medical Specialists and Medical Centers – It is not a comprehensive list of doctors. It is a list and doctors used by Collington residents. The listings do not include evaluations and are not necessarily to be considered a recommendation. Residents’ names are listed as a source for others to call about their experiences.
- Tips for Off-Campus Businesses – Included are nearby shopping centers including the names of their businesses. Also included are businesses listed by categories as well as a restaurant section.