Formerly the proud owner of a 230-acre farm and a large home about 18 miles south of Cobleskill, Steve Sloan says that “maintenance was becoming too much. I was slowing down.” Now, after more than three months in a St. John’s Meadows cottage, Steve asserts, “It’s been very, very good for me. I do enjoy not having to maintain everything and not worrying about it.”
According to Steve, he did take some convincing to get to the point of wanting to move. His two daughters, Pamela, who is a general practitioner in the Rochester area, and Kim, an accountant who lives out of town, and their husbands, Dean and John, respectively, were on him for what he recalls was several years about transitioning. “A year ago this past Thanksgiving they said ‘come on, it’s time to move,'” says Steve.
During the research process, Steve said he had requirements he was looking to fill with any new community or new home under consideration. He mentioned looking at one other senior living community before coming to St. John’s and meeting with Cindy Ruscio, a sales representative at St. John’s Meadows. According to Steve, Cindy “was instrumental in my being here.” Steve went back and forth with Cindy asking many questions and sending follow-up emails. First and foremost on Steve’s list was finding a place that he could bring his dog, Libby Lou, a year and half year-old basset hound, who by observation, is clearly “man’s best friend.”
Secondly, Steve thought he wanted a property with a two-car garage, which he noted first led him to consider the bungalows at Brickstone by St. John’s. In addition to spending time with Libby Lou, Steve is an accomplished woodcrafter who had a fully-stocked woodshop at his farm property, the equipment from which he hoped to be able to move with him. Steve says that Cindy showed him the existing woodshop at St. John’s Meadows, which is an on-site amenity available to residents 24-7.
According to Steve, he noted to Cindy during the tour that most of his equipment was newer than what they had there at Meadows and he asked her if it might be possible to bring his equipment with him to donate it to the St. John’s woodshop. With Cindy getting Steve’s donation, along with a request to install two 220-volt lines in the shop, approved, “that was pretty much the final decision. Once I had that, it was pretty much down hill to get here,” says Steve, who clarified that due to needing to settle affairs at the farm and to prepare for such a large move, it took about a year between him making the final decision and when he could actually move.
Now that Steve has settled in his new home, he has had time to get an accurate assessment of his surroundings. “This facility–they could not have done anything better for senior citizens. Everything has been thought of, is my perception,” says Steve.
Although Steve is aware of the many offerings available across the community, the woodshop is his first love. “I go almost every day,” says Steve, who believes that there are only a couple of other residents who use it regularly like he does. According to him, these fellow woodcraftsmen are working together to get it fully functional. Eventually, once the shop is setup to do so, Steve, along with the others, hope to offer classes to fellow residents.
Day to day, Steve likes to keep things simple and St. John’s provides him the opportunity to do so. “I tend to be a loner,” says Steve, who notes that fellow residents and even Vice President Tony Zaccaglino have tried to get him to join some activities like on-campus musical performances and Resident Council. Not taking the bait yet (pardon the pun), Steve enjoys fishing (he brought his small fishing boat to his new home also), baking, spending time with Libby Lou, and daily visits to the woodshop.
And although he has not yet needed to access many of the support services available in the St. John’s continuum, he says that knowing they are available was part of his reason for picking St. John’s initially as well as, the people. “Everybody is very much there to help,” says Steve.
In the beginning, the decision to move from his farm and home of 22 years may have taken some time. However, Steve is in a good place. Says Steve, “I hated to leave it, but at the same time, it was time.”