Moving to independent living can be a difficult transition. Even after choosing a new home that best fits your lifestyle—a process that can take months, sometimes years—the period of adjustment following the move can be a stressful, sometimes lonely experience.
Pat Brogan enjoys every day of her life at St. John’s Meadows to the fullest, yet she remembers what it was like to be the new kid on the block. “Those first three months are hard,” says Pat, who moved to the Meadows just over a year ago after losing her husband following a long illness. “You don’t know where everything is and you don’t really know who to contact for help.”
Pat spent many years interviewing Rochesterians as a social worker for the Department of Social Services and has always had a genuine curiosity for how people view their individual roles within their community and social circles. As a result, Pat believes her own role at the Meadows should include using her professional experience to help new residents become better acclimated with their new home. That is why she often meets with incoming residents to help them identify available programs and services that might benefit them the most. “I love working with people,” explains Pat. “I enjoy sitting down with new residents and answering questions and helping them sort out what might be most appropriate for them.”
In addition to helping her neighbors as an official ambassador for the community, Pat has settled into her new life at St. John’s Meadows just fine. She chose the community for several reasons, including the close proximity to the Pavilion Street neighborhood where she lived previously for many years. Additionally, as an avid bike rider, Pat enjoys the great accessibility to bike paths around the Meadows and Brickstone, throughout Brighton, as well as on the Erie Canal path. “I ride as often as I can,” says Pat. “I am out there pretty much every day.”
Pat’s choice of independent living communities also gives her access to an amenity few other communities offer: a swimming pool. She took up swimming last winter after experiencing trouble with her hip and has already reaped the benefits of this low impact exercise. Pat calls her access to the pool “one of the huge advantages of being here,” one she did not anticipate at the time of her move. In addition to alleviating joint stiffness and improving overall mobility, her time in the pool offers yet another opportunity for social interaction. “There is a morning group of us who get to pool at 7:00 a.m to swim.”
For someone who enjoys getting to know her neighbors, an aspect of life at St. John’s Meadows that has really impressed Pat is the diversity of residents who live here and what she calls “the variety of life experiences” she is exposed to on a daily basis. “I have met the most interesting people,” she says. “If I hadn’t had the chance to sit down with them I would have no idea how interesting their lives have been.”
Even as one of the community’s youngest residents, life at St. John’s Meadows seems to fit Pat Brogan’s lifestyle to a tee. She references her ability to continue enjoying nearby entertainment venues such as the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Geva Theater, and the Little Theater. “There is no place I would rather be,” she says enthusiastically.
Ultimately, Pat’s thoughts on the community she has now called home for a year always seem to come back to the neighbors she has gotten to know and those she looks forward to meeting in the future. “We are not made to live in isolation, and there is a lot more joy in life when you are involved with other people. And there certainly are a lot of interesting people here.”