Home Sweet Home

Residents are “family” at retirement community.

After decades in first marriages, Lee and Ron Seaman found themselves widowed and alone. They found each other while attending a dance and began dating. Soon, they fell in love and married. They’ve been together for the past 11 years. Two years ago, they reached another milestone in their relationship.

Photo by Jordan Pysz

Lee and Ron Seaman

“We were living in Westchase, and I was having some health problems,” Ron, a New Jersey native, shares. “Lee doesn’t drive, and I started thinking, If I were to leave this planet, she would be stuck. Two things were concerning me. First, we’re old. Secondly, we weren’t in a place where Lee could live comfortably by herself.

“We decided to move and spent time looking at Independent Living Communities. We probably looked at six or eight places in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties before we decided on Concordia Village of Tampa.

“I wanted a place that had all the services I might need before I die such as independent living, assisted living, memory care, long-term nursing care and short-term rehabilitation,” Ron continues. “There are very few places around here that offer it all, so that was a major factor for me. Concordia Village of Tampa is a Continuing Care Retirement Community [CCRC] that has all those levels of care.”

Having extended care was important to Ron, but Lee was most impressed by the community’s environment and the warm, personal welcome she received.

“To me, Concordia Village is a very comfortable place,” Lee, who is originally from Puerto Rico, states. “It’s casual, friendly and homey. From the moment we walked in, we were greeted by people who have lived here for many years. I was a little overwhelmed at first, but in a good way. I think the community is wonderful, like a big family.”

“I agree with Lee,” Ron asserts. “The people at Concordia Village are very friendly, and I don’t find them cliquey, like they can be at other places. The community itself is spacious, and they’ve got several acres of landscaped grounds for walking.”

Lee and Ron moved into an independent living apartment at Concordia Village of Tampa in 2017. However, it wasn’t long before Ron needed a helping hand. But following emergency treatment for a serious illness, the couple continued their independent living routine. Still, the staff at Concordia Village of Tampa is always available to assist if needed.

“A few months after we moved in, Ron suffered a stroke,” Lee explains. “He’s doing well now, but thank God we were here when it happened because the staff took care of him right away.”

“I drove up until I had my stroke,” Ron acknowledges. “Now, the staff is so accommodating as far as my transportation. They take me to the hospital, the doctor, any place I need to go.
They’re fantastic.”

A key goal of Lee’s and Ron’s retirement plan is to maintain a dynamic lifestyle. They agree that Concordia Village of Tampa offers plenty of opportunities to engage with other residents and to participate in events and activities.

“I’m very active and energetic,” Lee says. “I am eighty-eight years old, but I feel like I am sixty. There’s so much to do here. You don’t get bored unless you choose to not do anything. I work as a volunteer in the flea market, and I look forward to being there every Monday and meeting new people. There are so many other activities to enjoy as well.”

“It’s easy to get involved,” Ron assures. “There’s some sort of party at least once a week. Sometimes, they have an entertainer playing guitar and singing outside by the pool, and they will serve root beer floats or pizza and invite everybody to come. There’s always something going on here. They are always finding an excuse to have a celebration.”

Concordia Village of Tampa’s staff are resident-oriented and highly qualified for their roles. They treat all residents with compassion and respect. That’s another reason Lee likes living at Concordia Village of Tampa.

“The staff members are terrific,” she says. “The people in the marketing department care so much about the residents, and the food service staff are always looking out for those who need help. They treat us with so much kindness, and not just because we are older, but because we are a family.”

Special Touch

Concordia Village of Tampa is part of Concordia Lutheran Ministries, a place for caring and healing for more than 135 years. Concordia Lutheran Ministries began as an orphanage and expanded into senior care in the 1950s.

“Currently, Concordia Lutheran Ministries operates fifteen senior living communities, most of which are in Western Pennsylvania,” elaborates Brian Hortert, Chief Operating Officer at Concordia Village of Tampa. “There’s also a community in Akron, Ohio, and Concordia Village of Tampa is their first venture into Florida.”

In addition to their senior living communities, Concordia Lutheran Ministries also operates homecare, hospice, medical equipment and pharmacy services, primarily in Western Pennsylvania.

“Concordia Village of Tampa provides the complete range of senior living services, including independent living, assisted living, memory care, long-term nursing care and short-term rehabilitation,” Brian notes. “This range of services enables our residents to age in place.”

As COO, Brian oversees all operations of the Tampa campus. He stresses, “When it comes to retirement living, there are many factors seniors must consider before deciding which community is right for them. When residents move to Concordia Village of Tampa, they become part of our family.”

Extending the family experience, Concordia Village of Tampa welcomes residents’ pets to the community. They believe pets provide companionship, as well as a level of comfort to residents, especially those in new situations. They understand the importance of these benefits and want residents to experience them.

“We have always believed that pets become part of residents’ families,” Brian observes. “We wouldn’t expect them to move to a new home without a child. It’s the same feeling with pets for many residents. We think it’s the right thing to do to allow them to live with their family pets.”

Husband and wife residents Ron and Lee Seaman discuss their lives at Concordia Village of Tampa.

Lee, Allie and Ron love the warm, friendly atmosphere at Concordia Village.

This was good news for Lee and Ron, who had a beloved dog when they moved into Concordia Village of Tampa two years ago.

“I never had a pet of my own,” Lee relates. “Then about nine years ago, Ron decided to give me a puppy. But instead of buying one, we went to the rescue shelter, and I’m so glad we did. Our little dog is a Shih Tzu-Maltese mix, and she’s beautiful.

“Our dog is very well behaved, and a staff member suggested that I should have her trained as a therapy dog. I thought that was a wonderful idea, so now she’s a legal therapy dog, and she visits the residents in the community’s nursing facility.”

Welcome Wagon

Lee and Ron are happy with their lives at Concordia Village of Tampa. They stay active by participating in the community’s events, and they feel whole with their beloved dog by their side. They are also pleased with the amenities Concordia Village of Tampa offers to other members of their family when they visit.

“I like that Concordia Village has guest rooms on site,” Lee discloses. “When we have company, they can stay on campus and be close by in an apartment that is nice and comfortable. Having these guest rooms is a plus because people from out of town can come to Tampa and stay right here with their families. It’s a great benefit.”

Ron states, “The Concordia Village staff also welcome visitors at any time. We frequently see children and families at the swimming pool, using the putting green, shuffleboard or bocce ball courts, and the staff are very accommodating to events such as birthday parties.

“I just turned eighty-eight and had about fifty people come to my birthday party. I was able to reserve a room, and the staff served what I ordered. They were very helpful.” 

“Concordia Village of Tampa is just like home,” Lee adds. “Anything that you did at home, you can do here.”

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