Posted by Guide to Retirement Living SourceBook on 05/16/2016

A Lifestyle Legacy

A Lifestyle Legacy

Some families pass down fine jewels, collectible coins or rare antiques. These treasures may hold both sentimental and financial value, but they are never truly priceless. Other families give gifts that are less tangible but far more valuable. For one family in Williamsburg, Va., their legacy is a lifestyle that is unparalleled.

Joe and Joyce Beene are the latest benefactors of this lifestyle legacy. They are residents of Williamsburg Landing, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Williamsburg, Va., that offers residents a vibrant independent lifestyle complemented by comprehensive onsite healthcare for complete peace of mind. The Beenes are proud to be the third generation of Joyce’s family who have called a CCRC home. In fact, they are living in the same community her parents lived in for more than 20 years.

Joe and Joyce met at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Joyce lived near Philadelphia and attended Drexel University, where she got a degree in library science. After graduating, she moved to Tennessee and became the assistant law librarian at the University.

A native of Tennessee, Joe received his undergraduate degree from UT before moving to Washington, D.C., and then Hawaii to work for the government for ten years. When he decided to quit his job to return to law school, he moved back to Tennessee.

“I started as a student in the law school at the same time that Joyce was working as the Assistant Law Librarian,” Joe recalled. Joyce added, “I didn’t date law students, but he fooled me because he tended to wear suits. We met when one of my clerks could not resolve an issue, and I went over to help.”

The encounter at the library led to a lunch, and the relationship progressed quickly from there. Joe and Joyce were married a year later. The couple moved to Memphis, where Joe again worked for the government while Joyce attended law school full time at Memphis State. Shortly after finishing law school and passing the bar, Joyce gave birth to the couple’s son. She also has a daughter from a previous marriage.

When the agency Joe worked for transferred him to Northern Virginia, the Beene family relocated once again. Joyce was a stay-at-home mother to their two children for the next ten years. After a long absence, she returned to the work force as an office manager until her retirement.

Joe worked for the Navy in Washington, D.C., until his retirement at 50 years old. At that point, he became a professor of criminal justice at Northern Virginia Community College and worked for nearly 30 more years, teaching 20 years in the classroom and seven years online before fully retiring.

When their schedules allowed, Joe and Joyce also pursued several interesting hobbies. He was very involved with the Boy Scouts during their son’s childhood and served as a Scout Master. He also has been working with stained glass since the mid-70s. More recently, Joe started keeping bees. He has now had hives for the last five years.

Meanwhile, Joyce has been an avid wood carver and turner for decades. She served as the President of the Northern Virginia Wood Carving Club, was a member of the Capital Area Woodturners, and now belongs to the Tidewater Turners.

The Beenes started thinking about retirement living long before they made the move. For Joyce, retirement living is somewhat of a family legacy. “My family has a long history of people living in CCRCs,” she said. Joe added, “Joyce’s grandmother and all her siblings lived to be over a hundred.”

In the early days of CCRCs, Joyce’s grandmother moved to a community in Dallas, Texas. When it came time for Joyce’s parents to plan for retirement, they scouted the entire east coast in search of the perfect community for them.

“They left home with a five-year plan. They were going to find a community and get on the list,” Joyce recalled. “When they found Williamsburg Landing, they liked it so much that they immediately went home, sold their house and moved.”

Joyce’s parents lived at Williamsburg Landing for 24 years. During that time, Joyce and Joe came to know the community well. They experienced the first-class amenities and incredible lifestyle firsthand. They also saw her parents flourish. Joyce’s parents were able to live in independent living until age 90, at which point they moved to assisted living.

“They loved the 18 years they spent in independent living, and they were very involved in the community,” Joyce said. “When they moved to assisted living, they loved it too! In fact, every time they moved to the next level of care, they got better. The staff just took such good care of them.”

After her mother passed away, Joyce’s father moved to the nursing facility where he lived for three more years. No matter what level of care they were receiving, her parents were able to maintain relationships with their longtime friends off and on campus.

When the time came for Joe and Joyce to begin making their own plans, they researched a few other retirement communities, but their hearts were always at Williamsburg Landing. “When we started thinking about our future, and where we wanted to live, we were just repeatedly drawn here,” Joe recalled. “We visited communities in Northern Virginia, but saw nothing like this. Nothing seemed to fit us quite like Williamsburg Landing does.”

Since moving, the Beenes have been thrilled to stop traveling in Northern Virginian’s notorious traffic—and have found more time for beloved hobbies and new interests. Joe recently became a certified Master Naturalist and is volunteering for several state agencies. He has completed projects including wildlife mapping on Jamestown Island and oyster restoration in the Chesapeake Bay. He volunteers at the community as well and is currently serving on the Marketing Committee. Joe continues to work on growing his bee hives, which he keeps near campus. He also founded a local group of musicians where he plays dulcimer and autoharp.

Joyce volunteers at a local elementary school. She is also a member of the community’s lecture committee, which brings in a wide variety of speakers for residents to enjoy. Joyce continues to pursue her passion for wood turning in Williamsburg Landing’s wood shop, which is now home to her lathe. As a woman, she is still a minority in the wood shop, but she noted that there are other women taking up the hobby. The Beenes are also active in a local church.

The couple have developed quite a few new friendships and have a very active social life. In fact, they continue to use the large kitchen and dining room in their independent living home to entertain friends on a regular basis. Of course, when they don’t feel like cooking, they enjoy delicious meals in the on-campus dining room or bistro.

While the decision to move to a retirement community was easy for the Beenes—given Joyce’s family history of planning ahead and enjoying retirement—they realized that the choice is not as simple for everyone. “We always encourage the people who visit here to move in earlier, rather than later,” Joyce said. “People come here and they love it, but they think that they aren’t ready to move yet. We always tell them to do it now.” Joyce further explained that many retirees don’t realize that they need to plan ahead. With high occupancy rates, it is important for individuals to get on the waitlist to ensure the home model they desire is available when they want to move.

For the Beenes, moving to Williamsburg Landing was part of continuing a lifestyle legacy. The foresight of Joyce’s ancestors has given the couple a retirement lifestyle that is free of worries and full of opportunities. With all their care needs planned for, Joe and Joyce are enjoying every day to the fullest. They are thrilled to have inherited a lifestyle with benefits that are both countless and priceless.

By Christy Brudin

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