My advice: Do your research.

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When my partner Matt and I got serious about moving to a life plan community (also known as a continuing care retirement community), we did our research. We looked around a lot. In fact, we visited seven area communities and really took the time to get the facts.

We knew what we wanted. For instance, I love walking and wanted to make sure I felt comfortable walking around by my myself. So we walked around the neighborhood at each community, during the day and in the evenings. Piedmont Gardens is just around the corner from the local shops and restaurants on Piedmont Avenue. It’s such a charming spot in the city. I feel totally safe here.

We also knew we wanted to move in early and become an active part of the Piedmont Gardens community. That’s a huge benefit of moving to a place like this. It’s easy to make friends. We know we’ll be connected and taken care of for the rest of our lives.

Plus, there’s so much to do here. As a part-time researcher at UC Berkeley, I know how important it is to stay active and engaged. Every day, I spend my mornings in the lab, then I’m off to choir rehearsal, the gym, discussion groups. You name it. It’s here. In the evening, we usually meet up with friends in the dining room. The dinner conversation is always interesting.

Another thing I like about Piedmont Gardens is that residents have a say – a way to be heard. If I want to give input on anything, I can talk to the Resident Council or Executive Director Kevin Smith. He’s always walking around the community and welcomes our opinions.

Matt and I also enjoy attending local arts performances and going on vacations throughout the year. It’s nice to be able to lock up and leave for a trip without worrying about my home – because the team here takes care of it.

Bottom line, here’s my best advice. Do your research. Know what you want. And start early.

And since research starts with a visit, call and schedule a lunch and a tour. I’m happy to help you look around and see if Piedmont Gardens is a good fit for you. To schedule a visit, call 510-550-5788. Tell them Julie is prepared to help you with your research!

Julie Welch and her partner, Matt Mitchell, have been residents of Piedmont Gardens since July 2015.

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