Culture Shock

(A picture of the adjoining property which has been digitally aged using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.)

I haven’t written much, if any, about living here at Homewood of Plum Creek since moving here six months ago.  I wanted to give myself six months to get acclimated and settle in.  In the last six months I have devoted myself entirely to adjusting to living in a Continuous Care Retirement Community (CCRC).  I haven’t traveled or even been back to my previous home town in those six months.  Basically I like living here, but it has been a culture shock.  In many ways it has been like turning the clock back in time.

There have been three major changes that have taken some getting used to.  These three cultural shocks have been associated with major differences in race, age, and activities.  When we lived in the MD suburbs of Washington D.C. it was like living in a United Nations community.  We were surrounded by people of all races and ethnic backgrounds.  The White non-Hispanics were only around 18% of the population and I’m now living in a town where they are over 86% of the population and mostly of Germanic descent.

In the neighborhood where I previously lived, I was older than my neighbors.  Here I am one of the youngest in the community.  Where I lived before, I had to do all the maintenance or find and hire someone to do it.  Here everything is taken care of for me.

While I wouldn’t classify any of the changes as being good or bad, they are certainly different, interesting, and require different responses and adjustments.  My biggest adjustment has been one of filling my time.  Since all maintenance is done for me, I have excess time on my hands. Even minor things like going to the store to purchase something takes a lot less time since everything is within about a 3 mile radius.  Since we moved away from our daughter, her husband, and our two granddaughters, it also meant that we no longer benefited from close, almost daily, contact with them and are no longer occupied with family activities.

I have tried to spend a lot more time pursuing my hobby of photography but I am quickly running out of new and interesting things to photograph; therefore, I have spent a lot more time reading articles about photography on the computer. So far, I have done a lot more reading and napping.  I even have two Kindles … one of the originals for reading text in the presence of bright light and a Kindle Fire so that I can read photography books with color prints.  In addition to reading a lot, I have been doing more eating and drinking (coffee) and that is something I need to do less of.

They have lots of activities here but they are more suited to an older generation and I have only taken advantage of a few of them.  Even the music played in the hallways of the main buildings and on the closed circuit TV is of an older generation and reminds me more of my parent’s time, but that is because many of the residents are the age of my parents if they were still living.  Basically, I think that I need to look outside the community if I wish to become engaged in doing something different.  I think that is what most living here who are closer to my age are doing.  It is easier for them since they are mostly from around this area, have family and friends around, etc.

I really need to find something more meaningful to do and try to get out more … well at least as much as I can.  I think I have walked and looked for pictures on most of this approximately 86 acres … probably time to expand my range.  I’m hoping that will be the case this summer.


  1. Dee

    Thank you so much, will look at the site. I think the only way I’ll decide is to try it, and not sell my house where the kids are ( like you they are only 5 minutes from me now). Like your wife I do a lot with my daughter in law and the grand girls, it’s hard for me to tell yet what will work. My new house is 10 hours away from them and as I said they do not like it as I do.I’ll try both for awile, then I can decide perhaps what will work best for me. thank you so much for your response, I only follow about 5 bloggers but I have so enjoyed their sites, all are so different.


  2. John

    Yes, we miss the family, especially my wife since she spent a lot more time with the girls … occasionally picking them up, taking them to school and various events, and attending the school events, etc. Our oldest granddaughter plays softball and we haven’t been to any of her games since we left, but hope to return to watch her play next week. We also plan to return to watch the youngest in her school play.

    Our situation was that we lived less than two miles from them and now live 90 miles away. That is less than a two hour drive but we have a dog that gets car sick. The issue of seeing them less is a complex one. First we see them now only when they visit; but, we had started to see less of them even when we lived nearby since they are getting older and are involved in more things with their friends … dating, etc. We would certainly see more of them if we hadn’t moved; but we don’t know how much since they are getting more involved with their peers. E-mail, texting, telephone, & Facebook help us to keep up with their lives and even if we hadn’t moved we would probably have been relying on these forms of communication more and more for daily information exchanges.

    I don’t think there is any doubt that it is best to find a CCRC close to family if you can, but this one is the closest affordable, nice one we could find. You might wish to look at the results of a recent study on the “Five Myths of CCRCs”. It is a favorable view but it was funded by a CCRC so while I think it is accurate, it doesn’t go into all of the issues that differ from one to another. You can read or download the report on “Five Myths of CCRCs” here:


  3. Dee

    Thanks for sharing your feelings, for me it mirrors a lot of my concerns as I plan to attempt a semi retirement. I have bought a small house in New Mexico but do not plan to sell my main residence yet as it is where my son and daughter in law and grand children are. I have owned homes in NM before when my husband was alive so I know lots of people there. It is basically a golf community, 2 courses, and everyone there plays tennis or pickle ball. There is lots of hiking which is one of my hobbies, not much gardening(another hobby) because the deer and the elk eat everything. My biggest concern is the loss of time with my grandchildren, I do see them now 2-3 week ends a month. I am worried that they will not visit, there is not a lot for young children to do there and my son doesn’t golf much, so it will be up to me to fly back at least once a month. I am planning on trying to spend the summer there, say mid May to September and see how this works. Do you miss the family a lot? We are so used to spending time together. I think this is my biggest worry, if you could share how you and your wife feel about this and are handling this I would appreciate it. I do appreciate your pictures, I keep thinking I need to do that more, there is so much beauty in the mountains, and I visited there for 2 weeks last month, there was an elk who every night just about twilight would come into my side yard. I didn’t get any pics as I didn’t want to disturb the dog or the elk to get up and go get the camera. I would appreciate your feedback.