What is life really like at Woodlands? We spoke with four current residents, who are all part of our close-knit senior living community in Huntington, to find out what active senior living at Woodlands is like each day.

Betty Barrett: The Busy Bee

If you’re trying to spend time with Betty Barrett, you’ll have to catch her first!

“I start out every day with breakfast, and then go to the exercise classes that are held five days per week on campus. Today, I spent some time this morning working on my computer, then I went to lunch,” she said. “After that, I have a pedicure at 2 p.m. in the beauty shop, then a community meeting at 3 p.m., then musicians from Marshall are coming at 4 p.m., and if I have time after that I’m planning on helping decorate for Christmas.”

Betty enjoys active senior living at Woodlands, with multiple activities keeping her busy

Betty Barrett, far left, enjoys a meal with friends in Woodlands’ dining room.

Betty stays active in the Huntington community by serving on several boards, and she often drives off campus to see her daughter in town. She remarked that it’s nice to have the opportunity to go into town and stay active in the community, and also noted that the Woodlands bus trips make it really easy to get into town for those who don’t drive.

With her busy social calendar in mind, one of Betty’s favorite aspects about living at Woodlands is the social environment: “You have the option to do something every day, but there’s also privacy as well, and there’s no pressure to be more active than you want. Having lunch and dinner available in a social atmosphere is one of my favorite things, and we all look forward to being with our friends. It’s an attractive place to live and we enjoy the sociability.

Finally, she remarked on one aspect that makes living at Woodlands special – the close community bonds.

“Many people here went to high school or college together, but we’re also a very welcoming community. More and more people are coming here from other states and we make sure everyone feels welcome,” she said. “A friend of mine told me about a community in another city where she said she hadn’t laughed in two weeks. I was shocked and said that around here we really do like each other and have fun together – there’s always laughter!”

Dot Hicks: The Pioneer

Dr. Dorothy Hicks (or “Dot”) spent her career as a physical education instructor and administrator at Marshall University in Huntington, serving as associate athletics director and coach of the women’s golf team. She was a pioneer for women’s participation in college athletics, even before Title IX came to be in 1972, and she helped make collegiate athletics possible for women in the region – earning her a spot on Huntington’s Wall of Fame. Just like she spearheaded women’s athletics, she’s been a pioneer for the CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) lifestyle in Huntington.

Dot, who is well known in Huntington, makes the most of active senior living at Woodlands

Dot Hicks, second from right, with friends at Woodlands

Dot has been at Woodlands since early in its existence as Huntington’s only CCRC. She met with one of the founders, the Rev. Gray Hampton, in the early 2000s and arranged her first home here, a cottage. Since 2015, Dot has lived in one of Woodlands’ apartment homes, but still stays as active – which has been important to her throughout her life.

“Most days begin with me taking care of myself with physical therapy in the wellness center,” Dot said. “Then I go to lunch where I see friends, then usually go to play dominoes, see a speaker event or movie in the Hampton Room, or go to a sing-along event at the bistro hosted by my friend Chuck Romine. Any activity you want to do, it’s here for you.”

With her strong connection to Marshall athletics, Dot attends many athletic events at the school and keeps herself physically fit, just as she instructed her students and student-athletes to do throughout her career.

“Any time there’s a Marshall football or basketball game [men’s or women’s], I’m usually there. It’s easy to get there thanks to the Woodlands bus, and I go to their volleyball and tennis matches too,” Dot said. “I exercise by walking regularly and using the stationary bike, and I go out with my friends when they play golf or tennis.”

While taking care of herself and staying active, Dot also appreciates that Woodlands is a CCRC. She said that the availability of as-needed care is one of the big reasons she chose to move here, and it’s an advantage to living here

“Plus, the social aspect is a really important thing,” she said. “That and healthcare make living here a great combination. It’s the best place in the world, and I don’t have to cook anymore!”

Patty and John Anderson: Worth the Wait

“When the time was right [in mid-2016] and the right home was available, we made the move,” said John. “My mother had lived here, so we already knew many of the staff members. When we moved to Woodlands, we came home.”

In John’s words, Woodlands is a “well-connected” community where many people know each other. In an interesting personal twist for him, he actually attended kindergarten with fellow Woodlands resident Mary Margaret King!

Patty and John enjoy the lifestyle of active senior living at Woodlands, where they've planned to live for decades.

Patty (left) and John Anderson, having fun at a charity dinner event at Woodlands

“When we moved in, we did not stop living in our community [Huntington],” Patty said. “We didn’t give things up when we moved here. We still go to Marshall football and basketball games, John is still involved with the Boys & Girls Clubs and I’m still heavily involved with our church.”

And within the Woodlands community, Patty shared all that they like to do without having to leave campus: “We enjoy seeing educational speakers and musicians from Marshall, taking exercise classes guided by instructors from the YMCA, and going to dinner outings together with our neighbors, all on the Woodlands bus. You can be as busy as you want to be. They literally offer something for everybody.

“What’s great about being here now is that there’s so much to take advantage of, and we’re always going to be taken care of,” Patty beamed.

Along those lines, the Andersons said that while they’re still active and independent, their children have thanked them for making the move to a CCRC; ensuring that they will have a secure future without ever putting the burden of caregiving on their family.

If you want an even closer look at a day in the life at Woodlands, we invite you to take a visit here and see for yourself! Have lunch with us. Join us for an event. Meet some future neighbors. We make it easy to get in touch – simply click here, or call 304-697-1620!


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