Fast Friends

Strong, lasting bonds develop quickly inside this retirement community.

Many of their fellow residents at The Estates at Hawthorne Village of Brandon affectionately refer to Ann Stone and Vangie Dorman as “the Bobbsey Twins.” It’s easy to see why. Over the past several years, Ann and Vangie have become virtually inseparable.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Vangie (left) and Ann have become inseparable friends at Hawthorne Village.

“The other residents haven’t told us whether we’re Freddie and Flossie or Nan and Bert, but they’ve obviously noticed that we tend to spend a lot of time together,” Ann says. “And I have to say, we have become very close.”
Ann and Vangie’s fast-growing friendship began about five years ago, shortly after Ann’s husband died during the couple’s second year of residency at Hawthorne Village. During dinner one night, Vangie noticed Ann was suddenly eating alone.
“I must have been looking rather pitiful and lonely, because she asked me if I wanted to come over and eat dinner with her,” Ann remembers. “I said yes, and once we started talking, we realized we had a lot in common.”
Like Ann, Vangie had lost her husband, that loss coming just ahead of Vangie’s arrival at The Estates in 2007. And like Ann, Vangie had grown children living in the area. Ann and Vangie also learned that they shared the same faith.
Their friendship has been blossoming ever since. It’s not unusual to see Ann, 87, and Vangie, 95, sitting side by side, not just at the dinner table, but during many of The Estates’ social events and activities. The two even go shopping for groceries together.
The bond that Ann and Vangie have developed is not unique. During her 17 years as the manager of The Estates, Patti Bramble has seen a lot of friendships develop in much the same way that Ann and Vangie’s has.
“Many of our residents come here after a recent loss of a spouse and have a lot of fear about being alone,” Patti explains. “It’s a fear of the unknown, but then they get here and realize that other people have had the same experience.
“It’s at that point that they begin sharing new experiences in a different way. And many of our residents willingly help those who are coming in with that transition and finding their way around our campus.”

Active, Independent Lifestyle

The Estates is one of three separate facilities on the campus at Hawthorne Village of Brandon, which is a not-for-profit, full-service retirement community conveniently located near Tampa that provides seniors with a variety of options for carefree retirement living.
For those who need physical, speech or occupational therapy, Hawthorne Village of Brandon offers the Bounce Back rehabilitation program, where licensed professionals help both inpatient and outpatient clients rehabilitate, recover and return home.
For those who want to live independently but need assistance during the day or night, Hawthorne Inn provides highly trained professionals who can offer medication assistance as well as aid with basic daily activities such as bathing, dressing and grooming.

“No one has to feel lonely here. That’s part of what makes it special and why I’m happy here, because it feels like home.” – Ann

And then there is The Estates, which offers retirees such as Ann and Vangie the opportunity to live an active and independent lifestyle in an exquisite apartment home nestled inside a carefree, amenity-filled setting.
Each apartment’s all-inclusive monthly rent provides for weekly housekeeping and linen service, two restaurant-style meals per day, transportation to and from medical appointments and a host of scheduled life-enrichment activities.
“At the independent level, there are sixty-nine apartment homes, so we’re a smaller community,” Patti informs. “For anyone who has been living in their own home or in a condominium, they’ll find the lifestyle is very similar, but without the costly and stressful home maintenance.
“Everyone is on their own schedule, able to go out and about in the community as they wish. Many have their own cars and have the freedom to decide how they want to spend their day.
“They also have access to our therapy department for outpatient Bounce Back Rehab, as well as AJs Fitness, our on-campus fitness center, which offers them a chance to stay fit and work out with the guidance of the therapists, who will help set them up on the equipment and ensure they are safe.”
Those amenities and the opportunity to live independently were among the reasons Vangie’s daughter decided nearly a decade ago that The Estates at Hawthorne Village of Brandon would serve her mother well.

No Place Like Home

“We first started looking at places in April of 2007, shortly after my husband died,” Vangie recalls. “They were all booked up at the time, but in October of that year, they called me, said they had an opening and asked if I’d like to see it.
“I said I would, and I liked it very much. I like everything about The Estates. The location is nice, and the grounds are beautifully kept. I belong to Senior Friends, and everybody I knew was already in the area, so that was convenient for me, too.”
Ann and her husband came to The Estates in much the same way Vangie did, by acting on a referral from their daughter, who had done great due diligence in finding just the right place for Mom and Dad.
“My daughter researched all the possible places, and she said to me, Mom, you won’t like this one, and you won’t like this one, but you’ll like Hawthorne,” Ann relates. “And she was right. I love it here. It’s very comfortable.”

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

The Estates

The quality of the food and the freedom to live independently in a safe and secure setting within the Hawthorne Village campus are among the creature comforts that both Ann and Vangie appreciate about their lifestyle at The Estates.
“It is a very safe community,” Vangie assures. “That’s one of the reasons my children are so happy that I’m here. They know they don’t need to worry about me because I have everything I need right here.
“My daughter always tells me that she wants me to come live with her. She keeps saying, You know that at any time, if you want to come live with us, you can; you’re more than welcome. But I’m very comfortable and happy here.”
Ann expresses the same sentiments. She still drives her own car and likes that on the occasion when she and Vangie feel the urge to go grocery shopping, they can get away on their own and do that.
“I feel very cared for and loved here,” Ann concludes. “The staff are great. They’re all very friendly, and I love that they know our names. The thing is, no one has to feel lonely here. That’s part of what makes it special and why I’m happy here, because it feels like home.”

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