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"I could visit him anytime, day or night," Kay says. "That meant so much to both of us."

Kay was a volunteer at The Oakland Museum, The Botanical Gardens and many other organizations. Her husband was a senior scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. The couple liked nothing better than traveling around the country, and around the world.

But in 2003, when Robert began to have difficulty even getting around their own garden, the couple came to understand the importance of having a serious conversation about moving to a retirement community when they chose to – rather than when they had to.

Finding the right fit

The Riddells knew that Robert’s health was uncertain, and that they needed to look for a community capable of meeting his health needs if they became more acute. At the same time, they wanted an active community that engaged its residents, but still enabled them to maintain as independent a lifestyle as possible.

Despite researching and touring several communities, the Riddells just didn’t find the right fit. But when they visited Lake Park, they knew they wouldn’t have to look any further.

Lake Park was an attractive location with the kind of full service nursing care that Robert might eventually need. They moved into a large, comfortable apartment at Lake Park, where they lived together for a year until Robert’s health made it necessary for him to move to the nursing care unit, where he passed away after two years.

The most generous thing he ever did for me

According to Kay, she and Robert discussed the timing of their move to a retirement community and how important it was for them to get accustomed to a new environment as soon as possible. Robert didn’t know how long his health might allow them to make that adjustment on their own terms – and he didn’t want Kay to have to do it alone.

Kay continues to appreciate that decision – and the many relationships she has formed during her eight years at Lake Park.

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