When Paul and Betsy Brackbill talk about their life as Fairmount cottage residents, their faces light up. “I just love to get up in the morning and look out at this view!” says Betsy, gesturing toward the panorama of the valley beyond the back porch of their home.
But the amazing view is only one reason for their decision to move here. Asked why they chose Fairmount, Betsy responds without hesitation, “Location. We wanted to live somewhere rural, in a smaller community where we could learn to know all of our neighbors rather than being part of a larger, less personal community or a busy city environment. We also felt that the values at Fairmount are compatible with our own, and we were impressed with the low staff turnover rate.”
Getting acquainted with their neighbors was easier than they expected. Betsy estimates that they have already learned to know more than half of the other cottage and apartment residents by name. “People are so friendly; they have stopped by to introduce themselves and invite us into their homes,” they explain.
Of course, it helps that Paul and Betsy are friendly themselves and have proactively gotten involved in community life. Soon after settling into their cottage, they inquired about volunteer opportunities. Betsy found a flowerbed to adopt and agreed to work with another resident managing the Farm Crest gift shop. Paul offered to visit and play the piano for Wheat Ridge residents. Volunteering has long been a part of the couple’s lives, and moving to Fairmount has, if anything, increased their time to continue such activities because they are no longer saddled with home maintenance and repair chores. For example, they continue to invest one day a week at a nearby retirement home visiting, playing chess, and entertaining residents with piano and accordion music.
Looking around the Brackbills’ comfortable cottage, you can see much evidence that their busy lives haven’t missed a beat in their move. Paul’s piano occupies a prominent place in the living room. Their second bedroom is set up to accommodate out-of-town guests, and their lightened schedule leaves them free to visit family and friends around the world, or to just enjoy relaxing, reading, playing board games and entertaining.
As Paul and Betsy tell it, their expectations have not just been realized but exceeded. “We are delighted we chose to come here!” Betsy exclaims, and Paul adds enthusiastically, “Adjusting to life at Fairmount has been much easier than we ever imagined!”
Dick and Grace Hay
When friends of Dick and Grace Hay invited them to join them for a tour of a Fairmount cottage, they gladly accepted. Their search for a retirement home had been leisurely—still in good health, they felt they had plenty of time to make up their minds. However, they had just watched Dick’s older sister relocate into a retirement community. “After watching my sister find a place, we realized we weren’t far behind. Besides, we no longer found it fun to rake the leaves and mow the lawn,” Dick reminisces.
On the tour of a Fairmount cottage, they were immediately enthralled with the marvelous views of the valley. But what really caught Grace’s eye was the kitchen. “I looked at the spacious open kitchen, with lots of cabinets and counter space, and I knew I wanted to live here,” she recalls fondly.
They made their decision that day, and put their house on the market. The cottage they chose was still under construction, but by the time it was completed, their house had sold. The packing and moving process didn’t totally exhaust them, as it had friends who waited longer to relocate. After their move, Dick was delighted to realize an added bonus. “Woodworking was in my blood and in my family,” he shares. “My dad and several brothers were carpenters. Although I was an engineer by trade, I always had a woodshop in my home. While some of the cottages have room in their basements for a woodshop, ours does not. I discovered that Fairmount had designated space for a community woodshop, but it had very few tools so I donated some of mine. Later more tools were added, and a nice woodshop for residents was established.”
As fellow woodworkers crossed paths in the shop, new friendships were fostered. And while the area has often been used for making items for their own homes or gifts for grandchildren, the artisans have also made other residents the happy recipients of their handiwork. One of Dick’s first projects was wooden name plaques with tiny shelves, one of which hangs outside each Crest View and Farm Crest resident’s door—98 in all! Residents continue to delight in decorating the shelves with their personal mementos.
Dick and Grace have never regretted their decision to make Fairmount home. After 12 years, Grace still enjoys her kitchen and they both still love the view of the valley from their enclosed sunroom. But what the Hays appreciate most about Fairmount living is the circle of friends they have built, including the couple who, after first introducing them to Fairmount, joined them as neighbors four years later.
When John and Elsie Altpeter decided to find a retirement home, they compared at least nine different places before settling on Fairmount in 2007. "Our daughter made a spreadsheet, and we looked at all the the different
choices on paper, comparing costs, size of living
space, amenities - everything we could. When it was all side-by-side on paper, it was obvious Fairmount was the best choice for us," Elsie explains.
Knowing John's health was failing, they decided to move quickly. "We saw God's hand in it all the way through. When we first talked to the Admissions office, we were told there was a wait of between three and eight years. However, not long after that, we got a call saying there was an apartment available."
Unfortunately, John did not have a lot of time to enjoy their new home before he passed away. "I think he felt free to go, knowing I was in a good place and taken care of. Being in this community helped me to adjust to both widowhood and all the other changes in my life. You would not believe the love and concern of the other residents and staff. That was what helped me the most, and these are things that cannot be compared on paper."
Ezra and Elizabeth Bell Stoltzfus
On October 23, 2010, apartment resident Elizabeth Bell married Ezra Stoltzfus of Kinzers, PA, in the Farm Crest Community Room chapel. It was the first time in Fairmount history for a resident to be married on campus. Since their wedding, Ezra and Elizabeth have lived in the apartment Elizabeth has occupied since it was built in 2005.
Elizabeth had first explored retirement options in 2004 shortly after the death of her first husband. Her criteria were clear. “I wanted to live in Lancaster County close to my siblings. I wanted to find a retirement home where I would be safe, be able to serve and become part of a community. And I wanted to keep working,” she explains.
For Elizabeth, the deciding factor occurred during her Admissions interview when she asked, “If I live at Fairmount, would I be able to work here as well?”
The Admissions Director responded by making a call, then escorting her to the Director of Nursing. She filled out an employment application that day and began working as a nurse in Health Care two weeks later. A year after that, she moved into her brand new Crest View apartment. What Elizabeth had not anticipated then was that she would remarry. “You are amazed that you can love again!” she exclaims. "Over the last couple of weeks I realized that we are entering into a new season of our lives."
As Elizabeth and Ezra exchanged vows on October 23rd, the presence of their many Fairmount friends, both neighbors and staff, made it an extra special celebration. What a wonderful example of Fairmount’s new tagline, “Dedicated to Faith, Family and Community!”
Dave and Ferne Motto
Apartment residents Dave and Ferne Motto began considering their options while still in their 50s and certainly not ready to slow down, but were ready for a change of location. Wherever they moved, Ferne wanted to continue her 27-year nursing career.
“I felt that if we made a move early enough, I would still be able to find another job and continue my career,” she explains.
Since their decision to explore retirement home living was not driven by a health crisis or inability to function independently, they could take plenty of time to find a good fit for their lifestyle, retirement goals, and budget.
Their research revealed an amazing range of options and prices, as well
as an array of amenities, activities, settings, and types of health care
services available should they be needed. But they knew they had found
their home when they visited Fairmount.
“We loved the view from our apartment, and we were delighted with
the spacious kitchen and living area—almost twice the space as some more
expensive options elsewhere. As for cost, it is probably less than our
other home considering that appliances and utilities are included. Plus,
with no maintenance chores to worry about, our time is freed up to
engage in community projects, entertain, and yes...work!”
Ferne’s dream of continuing her nursing career did come true–through
employment right on campus, while Dave devotes many hours every week as a volunteer.
Joe and Harriet Kepiro
Since moving to Crest View the day it opened in 2005, Joe and Harriet Kepiro claim they “would not trade their apartment for anything.” Situated on a corner where they can enjoy the bustle of activity on campus while taking in the beautiful country vista below, they feel their retirement dreams have been fulfilled. “Our first priority was to find a place with a Christian perspective,” Joe recalls. “We also wanted a community small enough that we could be more than a number, where we could learn to know our neighbors’ names.”
Harriet continues, “We wanted to live in the country, but having the option of health care nearby was especially important to us.” At Fairmount, they found everything they wanted and more. Living in a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), Joe and Harriet are secure in knowing they have a home here regardless of health challenges.
Joe and Harriet are now free to spend their retirement days doing activities they enjoy. Harriet put life-long business expertise to good use managing the Farm Crest gift shop for a number of years. Since gift shop proceeds go to Fairmount’s Sharing Fund, her efforts benefited other residents and gave the couple a unique opportunity to learn to know their neighbors. Joe, an inventor at heart, continued to design and build his new ideas, one of which is the customized walker he uses.
They both agree that “the Lord had his hand in bringing us here, from the selling of our property to finding a community that satisfies all of our priorities. Now we have a place we can always call home.”
333 Wheat Ridge Dr. | Ephrata, PA 17522 | 717.354.1800