Span­ish Cove can help take stress out of down­siz­ing af­ter re­tire­ment

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - NEWS - BY ED­DIE ROACH BrandIn­sight Con­trib­u­tor This ar­ti­cle is spon­sored by Span­ish Cove Re­tire­ment Vil­lage.

Whether you have lived in the same house most of your life or moved fre­quently, the process of down­siz­ing for re­tire­ment liv­ing can be stress­ful and con­fus­ing. Even if you’ve down­sized from the fam­ily home to an empty-nest cot­tage, you prob­a­bly still have more stuff than you can ac­com­mo­date in a re­tire­ment vil­lage.

That’s why Scott and Mary Lynn Peters and Bill and He­len Gille­spie both at­tended sem­i­nars spon­sored by Span­ish Cove Re­tire­ment Vil­lage in Yukon to be­gin the process. Then, they used the ser­vices of down­siz­ing pro­fes­sion­als who work with the re­tire­ment vil­lage to com­plete the process.

Both cou­ples couldn’t be hap­pier with the re­sults and life at Span­ish Cove.

“Love it. Love it,” said He­len Gille­spie, who moved into the re­tire­ment vil­lage with her hus­band, Bill, just two months ago.

“It’s our sec­ond down­siz­ing,” she said. “We had five girls. Af­ter about 30 years, we moved to a pa­tio home. We emptied about half of what we had then. When we came here, it was an­other half size, but it wasn’t that painful be­cause we learned so much from the sem­i­nars.”

Scott and Mary Lynn Peters lived in 18 dif­fer­ent homes dur­ing Scott Peters’ in­sur­ance ca­reer which took them from Ok­la­homa to Texas, Ar­kan­sas, Ge­or­gia and Illi­nois. They re­tired to Ok­la­homa City more than 20 years ago.

While she was the “mas­ter of the move” dur­ing the many changes, down­siz­ing for re­tire­ment was much more daunt­ing.

“It was dra­mat­i­cally dif­fer­ent be­cause we had lived in big houses and had lots of fur­ni­ture and stuff. It was a big de­ci­sion. We needed to dis­pose of a lot of our be­long­ings. It wasn’t easy, but we al­ways knew we were do­ing the right thing,” Mary Lynn Peters said.

The Peterses moved to Span­ish Cove two years ago af­ter at­tend­ing a down­siz­ing sem­i­nar and en­gag­ing with pro­fes­sion­als rec­om­mended by Span­ish Cove.

“We had a bit of anx­i­ety about things, but you just have to de­tach your­self and re­al­ize they are just things — and turn them loose,” she added. “We had help liq­ui­dat­ing. That’s a les­son we learned at a sem­i­nar about the tran­si­tion. Af­ter we had made our de­ci­sions on what we could bring, we had an es­tate sale. It went very, very well.”

He­len Gille­spie has sim­i­lar praise for the sem­i­nars and the pro­fes­sion­als that work with Span­ish Cove to make the re­tire­ment tran­si­tion smoother.

“We went to monthly sem­i­nars for about a year be­fore mak­ing the de­ci­sion to move to a ‘life care’ com­mu­nity,” she said. “It was great hav­ing the OKC Ma­ture Moves’ as­sis­tance.”

“We haven’t looked back. We haven’t missed any­thing,” she added. “We were look­ing at a two bed­room, but we de­cided on a one bed­room plus of­fice. We have 875 square feet. It’s plenty of room, and I still have empty shelves. You re­ally don’t need a whole lot of stuff, es­pe­cially not the dust col­lec­tors.”

And the life at Span­ish Cove?

“Friendli­est peo­ple any­where. It’s like liv­ing in a small town. All kinds of folks, with all kinds of back­grounds,” she said. “No, it’s like liv­ing on a cruise ship — all the ac­tiv­i­ties and ser­vices. And, the staff is ul­tra pleas­ant.”

There is no short­age of ac­tiv­i­ties at Span­ish Cove.

“Don’t come out here and ex­pect to rest,” she said. “We go five days a week to some type of work­out class. We’ve al­ways been ac­tive; so now we can still be ac­tive.”

Sched­uled ex­er­cise classes in­clude Stretch & Strengthen, Tai Chi For Balance, Ton­ing & Move­ment Class, Walk­ing Bud­dies, Yoga, Chair Yoga, and Line Danc­ing to name a few. Ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude ed­u­ca­tional sem­i­nars and lots of vol­un­teer projects. Span­ish Cove also of­fers wa­ter aer­o­bic and wa­ter walk­ing classes in the in­door, heated salt wa­ter pool.

Other regularly sched­uled events in­clude Drama Club, Book Talk, Writ­ing Life’s Me­mories, and Span­ish Cove Singers. Res­i­dents also gather for reg­u­lar card games in­clud­ing canasta, bridge and rummy.

One unique ac­tiv­ity for Span­ish Cove res­i­dents is Dragon Boat pad­dling. The re­tire­ment vil­lage made Ok­la­homa his­tory as the first ever Se­nior Dragon Boat pad­dling team on the Ok­la­homa River back in 2012. This fall will be their sev­enth sea­son pad­dling. A dragon boat pad­dling team is made up of 10 or 20 peo­ple (de­pend­ing on the size of the boat) who pad­dle to the beat of a drum­mer at the bow, while a steer per­son, at the stern, steers the boat. Dragon Boat pad­dling is a com­plete and to­tal body work­out.

That’s one ac­tiv­ity Mary Lynn Peters hasn’t tried yet, but she hasn’t ruled it out.

“When we first moved out here, some­one who was a Dragon Boat pad­dler asked me. I’ve de­clined for the mo­ment,” she said.

How­ever, the team spirit of the Dragon Boat pad­dlers is one of the many things that makes Span­ish Cove dif­fer­ent from other re­tire­ment set­tings.

“It has a cam­pus feel. You meet peo­ple in the din­ing hall, the gym, on your morn­ing walks,” she said. “It’s a good feel­ing. We are all on the same jour­ney. We’re all re­tired. We wanted an eas­ier place to live without all the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, and we wanted life care.”

While the Peters did look at other re­tire­ment cen­ters, their choice was not a hard one.

“Once we went to the sem­i­nar and met with staff, it just felt right. We just knew we would come to Span­ish Cove,” she said.

“It’s been a good life, and it’s still good.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on Span­ish Cove, visit www.span­ish­


Span­ish Cove res­i­dents made Ok­la­homa his­tory as the first Se­nior Dragon Boat pad­dling team on the Ok­la­homa River back in 2012. This fall will be their sev­enth sea­son pad­dling.

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