Posted by Guide to Retirement Living SourceBook on 09/06/2017

A Career Ends & Retirement Life Begins

A Career Ends & Retirement Life Begins

Married and raising five children, Lois Whittemore figured she knew how to take care of people, so she chose to work at Foulkeways at Gwynedd, a retirement community 25 miles northwest of Philadelphia, as a nursing assistant. The year was 1982. Who would have known that she would eventually live where she worked?

A better fit.

Lois had earned her Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from the University of Delaware, but decided to go back to school for her nursing degree, as she thought that was a better fit for her. Working in healthcare at Foulkeways for 16 years, the last 10 as the resident care nurse, there was no doubt in her mind that she would eventually choose to make her life where she had made her career. “It’s family here,” she says.

After retiring, Lois and her husband, Frank, didn’t look anywhere else. Seeing the healthcare first-hand, she knew this was the best gift they could give their five children, six grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

Fast forward to 2017. After 18 years at the community—17 in independent living—Lois and Frank marked their one year anniversary in their new home on campus in Abington House, the personal care building. Frank, who is 11 years older, appreciates better accessibility to dining, and Lois was happy to move to where Frank is most comfortable. They still have an outdoor patio with a garden to enjoy, along with a spacious living room, kitchenette, bedroom, bathroom, and walk-in closet, all of which is of similar size compared to their independent living residence. As Lois has come to appreciate, in a suite such as theirs, couples can remain living together, even if one doesn’t need care.

How we’ve grown.

The community was about 75 acres when Lois started working at Foulkeways and today it’s up to 130, offering beautiful, abundant, natural foliage with walking and biking trails. Lois has always enjoyed the outdoors and walking.

Earlier this year, Lois and her family participated in the community’s annual Forget-Me-Knot run/walk to benefit residents in Montgomery and neighboring counties, as well as Foulkeways’ residents. This event supports the community’s outreach to share the gift of music, since Foulkeways is a certified Music & Memory Community™.

Working and living at Foulkeways for 34 years of her life, it’s no surprise that Lois has witnessed changes over the years, including renovations to the Community Center, auditorium, and dining rooms. The latest project on campus is constructing Abington House North, a new personal care building. It’s scheduled to open on November 10th as the community celebrates its 50th anniversary as the first Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in Pennsylvania and one of the first Quaker communities in the United States.

Abington House North will have 30 suites, allowing for per diem residents to move to Foulkeways. That means new faces among staff and residents, but Lois is confident the philosophy of Foulkeways will prevail as it always has. The values of inclusiveness, integrity, and community are what make Foulkeways special. And, as she puts it, “For me, the residents and staff feel like family.”


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