Take it from the experts.
At the urging of her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren who live nearby, Doris Katz moved to Winchester Gardens from New York in August 2018. Born in Brooklyn, she married and moved to Queens where she lived in the same house for about 50 years. It was there she raised her daughter and enjoyed a career conducting business research for NBC. After her husband passed away many years ago, Doris grew used to living on her own—a habit that served her well during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reflecting on the many measures Springpoint and Winchester Gardens put in place in response to the coronavirus, Doris said, “They work very hard to help keep us comfortable and healthy. This doesn’t happen incidentally—they do everything they can to protect us and make it a safe place. The communication has been great, and the staff is wonderful—they are incredibly helpful people.”
As someone who likes to keep herself well informed, Doris enjoys spending time in the concierge area, reading newspapers, and viewing the in-house TV channel for the latest community news. She’s happy to have visits with family and dining in the restaurant, attending events, and taking daytrips. “Overall, it’s a beautiful place,” she said.
Before her retirement, Winchester Gardens resident Janet Kuenstner was a school librarian, trained in how to provide students with access to information. It is through this lens that she views how Springpoint and Winchester Gardens have handled the care of residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m quite impressed with Executive Director Sue Lippy. From the beginning, she’s communicated everything that’s happening. She’s ever-present and always accessible. I have nothing but praise for her and the whole staff. I can’t believe what this staff has done and continues to do for us willingly and nicely—they take such good care of us.”
Born, raised, and educated in New Jersey, Janet married Bob Kuenstner in 1950. His occupation as an electrical engineer coupled with his work for the Presbyterian Church enabled them to live in many places. Perhaps most interesting was the 18 months the couple and their five children spent living in primitive conditions (no hot water and intermittent electricity) at the foothills of the Himalayas in India where Bob taught high school math and Janet volunteered and tended to her family. “It was a wonderful experience,” she said.
Eventually, Janet and Bob settled in Caldwell, NJ, and then moved to nearby Summit before retiring to Winchester Gardens in 2005. Since Bob’s passing in May 2019, Janet has adjusted to being on her own. Being a librarian, she loves to read, as do many of her fellow residents. “We have a very nice library here,” she noted.
Returning to the topic of life during the pandemic, Janet reflected and said, “I haven’t suffered in any terrible way. Springpoint and Winchester Gardens made it as bearable as possible.” She’s happy to once again see her family and sit outside and enjoy a meal. “I have only good things to say,” she concluded.
Marylyn and Dick Masia are unique to Winchester Gardens—they moved to the community in March 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic kicked into high gear.
The decision to move wasn’t an easy one, especially since their house in Summit, NJ, was one built in the 1960s by Dick, a building contractor. “After much consideration, we decided on Winchester Gardens because of its location, its beautiful buildings and grounds, and its levels of care,” said Marylyn. “It’s a good feeling to know the long-term care services are there when and if you need them.”
Despite moving in at a time when the community had to restrict access to all its usual amenities, the couple loved it. “Here we felt safe—and that was incredible,” said Marylyn, who was a health teacher and a school nurse in a large high school before she retired. “We also had meals delivered right to our door, and the food was good!”
Referencing the health and safety rules staff and residents had to follow, she said, “There were no secrets here—it was very much talked about and explained. We followed the rules and stayed home. Our new home is so beautiful that we were happy to stay there.”
According to Marylyn, all their children expressed “tremendous relief” that their parents made the move to Winchester Gardens. “They’re not the only ones who are grateful,” said Marylyn, “We’re loving it! There are very lovely people here, and we’ve made a lot of new friends, so that’s exciting.”
“I moved to Winchester Gardens around 2018. My daughter lives nearby, so I decided it made more sense to sell my house in South Brunswick, downsize, and move closer to her. I have a lovely two-bedroom apartment that works out very well for me; I am very happy here. I’m a people person and enjoy meeting new people. Together my neighbor and I run the Newcomers Group where we meet once a month to welcome new incoming residents. I enjoy coordinating speakers within the community to meet with new residents and help get them acquainted with all of the services and amenities here at the community. It’s a pleasure to introduce them to community members and show them everything that’s available here. I sit on the Dining Committee and enjoy working on all of the exciting things happening in our new cafe. I’m also very involved in the Cultural Group.
“The LivWell health and wellness program at the community hosts activities and programs throughout the year, and I recently helped coordinate a cultural event where we shared recipes and a traditional Indian lunch, visited a Hindu temple, and participated in Bollywood dance lessons. I attend the exercise group about five times a week and go to the gym to help with my strength training. I also participate in Brain Games and computer iPad instructions. There’s so much to do and learn here all the time. The best part about living here is I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. It’s the perfect place for me!”
“In October 2017, my wife and I developed a schedule, preparing to evaluate several senior living facilities in the large New Jersey area between New Providence and Maplewood, and Princeton in the South. After each visit, we assessed the CCRC on a scale of 1 to 5, covering 10 different factors. Some units were evaluated only after a second visit, sometimes including a meal with a few residents.
“At the conclusion of this exercise, Winchester Gardens was clearly number one. We moved forward, found an apartment we loved, and relocated in early 2018. We’ve been residents for almost two years and compliment ourselves on the choice. During this period, we’ve experienced continuing improvement in the selection and quality of the food, while dining facilities have been upgraded and substantially expanded, with additional new dining choices.
“Most residents are eager to meet and welcome newcomers, and with a wide range of scheduled activities, we met a large number of people in quick time. Today we’ve made many new, wonderful friends and truly enjoy our greatly enhanced, yet simpler and easier, lifestyle.”
“I’ve been living in a studio apartment at Winchester Gardens since September 2012. I like the campus with beautiful landscapes and classic architecture, quite unique. It’s a very good retirement community. Many have enjoyed good success in their professions. Some come from different parts of the world and speak more than two languages. They make for interesting conversations at dinner.
“Activities keep us busy. I like music programs. On Saturday evenings, there are live concerts of classical and other instrumental or vocal music in the Great Hall as well as other music programs scheduled throughout the week. I enjoy lectures on art, history, travel, and global affairs; we’ve had interesting speakers on such topics, some of whom come back by popular request. Movies are shown every day in the Multimedia or Activities Room. The Book Club meets every month with a resident moderator. There is also an annual Residents’ Art Exhibition.
“The LivWell health and wellness team organizes programs on brain health, nutrition, yoga, tai chi, and other exercise classes. We have a Fitness Room and an indoor swimming pool offering regular aqua aerobic classes. I do a lot of walking, both inside and around the campus admiring the scenic grounds and the villas with their beautiful green lawns. Winchester Gardens’ buses take us to medical appointments, trips to lunch/dinner, supermarkets, malls, and concerts/performances at the NJPAC/SOPAC and New York City.
“The culinary service offers seasonal menus and welcomes residents’ feedback and suggestions. Every Thursday, the Chef’s Table features a new creation or an old favorite, and every Friday, we have happy hour with wine and hors d’oeuvres, all on the house. The new cafe is open all day; I can get a snack anytime or have my friends and former students enjoy an afternoon tea with me, which is one of the things I miss most about Hong Kong.
“Not a day passes when I’m not busy. I’ve never felt lonely in Winchester Gardens in the seven years I’ve lived here!”
“Throughout the many stages of my life—childhood, adolescence, college, careers, and my years of marriage—I’ve always felt like something was maybe missing.
“Since moving to Winchester Gardens in 2015, I’ve finally found complete contentment. While living in an ambience of old-world charm and modern amenities, there’s lots of interaction with friendly community members and always something new to do.
“I wake up every morning worry-free. I no longer have to deal with house repairs, snow removal, cooking, and housekeeping issues; it’s all done for me here. I’m very pleased with the lifestyle at Winchester Gardens, and I’m very satisfied with this stage of my life!”
“In 2008 as a gift to our big family, Fred and I decided to downsize while we were able. So here we are at Winchester Gardens, our home since 2009. We love our villa, which has scenic views of the beautifully landscaped grounds. We’re both outdoor enthusiasts and enjoy the walking paths throughout the community.
“We’re both very involved members of the Residents Association here too. I (Ruth) am a member of the Welcoming, Marketing, Rummage Sale, and Scholarship Committees. Fred is a member of the Residents Planning, Finance, Safety and Security, and Scholarship Committees.
We’re fortunate to have made wonderful friends and stand in awe at their remarkable lives and accomplishments. We also consider our staff as part of our family and are grateful for their capable and friendly presence here.
“I loved to cook, but now we both enjoy the varied menus and delicious meals available here. It’s just like home but without the planning, shopping and cleanup, which makes it easy.
“The Sub-Acute Wing at Winchester Gardens is a spectacular addition to our campus, and a great comfort to us if needed. And the exercise programs are really fun and good medicine with lots of laughs. Participating in the different classes has opened up a new door for me. I always had a good excuse to “not” participate, but now I look forward to my time there. Fred has always enjoyed sports and is still active in golf and fitness.
“We feel blessed and grateful we made a very wise decision almost nine years ago, and our family is very thankful we’re here. We enjoy their visits and catch-up times.”
Lillian Williams has lived in 27 different locations in her lifetime, and in every location, she’s made it a priority to give of her time.
Her husband’s military career required frequent moves throughout the country and abroad, but wherever she’s lived, she and her family have found ways to contribute to the community.
She was a department head with the American Red Cross in Houston for 25 years, and following her retirement, she volunteered at the Memorial Hermann Hospital Southwest, where she earned a 6,000-hour volunteer pin. For her work, the Texas Association of Hospital Services recognized her with their Volunteer of the Year award.
In 2004, Lillian and her husband decided to downsize and move into a retirement community in Houston. Even then, Lillian volunteered at the hospital three days a week, and gave tours of the retirement community.
Two years after her husband passed away in 2006, Lillian decided to move closer to her children in Maplewood, New Jersey. During her research on the Maplewood area, she discovered Winchester Gardens. And after just one visit, she knew she didn’t need to look anywhere else.
Lillian moved into Winchester Gardens in May 2008. And she got involved. For someone so familiar with service to others, Lillian was pleasantly surprised by the level of service Winchester Gardens offered its residents.
“Before I moved from Houston,” Lillian said. “I wanted to have my new apartment painted a particular shade of cream.” She mailed a small piece of venetian blind, painted with the color she wanted, to her contact at Winchester Gardens. “They matched the color perfectly,” she said.
As it turned out, matching that color was just the ﬁrst of many things Winchester Gardens got right.
Lillian loves Winchester Gardens’ amenities. She comments that the community offers entertainment, events, and activities for all tastes and interests.
But to Lillian, it is the opportunities to volunteer that make Winchester Gardens so special. She volunteers at the Health Center at Winchester Gardens, as well as at nearby Overlook Hospital.
She’s chair of the Welcoming Committee, and a member of the Health Services and Residential Services committees.
“If I can take a few hours during the week to make people feel the way I do about Winchester Gardens,” Lillian said, “it’s well worth my time.”