Hearth and Home

Settle into a community with an active retirement lifestyle.

Living in Florida was something Carl Genrich hadn’t given much thought to when he packed up his family and drove from Chicago to Tampa for a week’s vacation 48 years ago. That week changed Carl’s life, though.

Carl Genrich

A computer programmer who had long since grown tired of the cold, windy winters along the western shores of Lake Michigan, Carl fell in love with Florida during his stay and vowed then and there to make it his permanent home.

“I thought, Holy cow, this place is paradise,” remembers Carl, now 84. “So I went home, turned in my notice at work, found a new job and moved down. I’ve been happy here ever since.”

Carl initially settled down in Brandon, east of Tampa, where he raised his family. A few years ago, after his wife passed, he moved farther south to Nokomis, where he was quite content to be living alone, even if his daughters didn’t agree.

“I was fine, doing my own shopping, doing my own cooking, mowing the grass and fixing the sprinklers and what not,’’ Carl says. “But my daughters, who still live in Tampa, were all saying, Dad, you shouldn’t be doing all that work.

“So I eventually got someone to mow the grass for me. Then I got to thinking, Well, what if something were to happen to me and I couldn’t drive anymore? That’s when I first started looking into senior living communities.”

In good health and in no hurry to move, Carl took his time researching and visiting independent living communities. He had already looked at a half-dozen or more when he found the one that suited him best at Village On The Isle in Venice.

“As I was taking the tour of Village On The Isle, I thought, This place is really nice,” Carl remembers. “I was really impressed, so I stuck around for dinner, which was delicious. After that I talked to my daughters and we all agreed I should make the move there.

“Like I said before, I was fine living on my own, but I wondered, What if I suddenly needed help? Well, at Village On The Isle, that help is right there if I ever need it. So I sold my house in Nokomis and moved to the Village, and I love it.”

Active, Independent Living

Situated on a beautiful 16.5-acre campus, Village On The Isle is a continuing care retirement community – the first one on Florida’s Gulf Coast and the only one in the Venice area – where residents can live active, independent lives and transition easily into assisted or nursing care if the need arises.

Also known as a Life Plan Community, Village On The Isle offers independent and assisted living as well as memory care, skilled nursing and short-term rehabilitation care. It recently completed a $100 million renovation of its campus, which is home to 420 residents.

“At Village On The Isle, we are guided by our mission to share God’s love, which we do by promoting individual growth and dignity, enhancing the quality of life, and meeting the human and spiritual needs of our residents,” explains Kristen Myers, director of sales and marketing at Village On The Isle.

“Most of our residents come here in their mid-70s or early 80s and live independently for many, many years. And if at any point they need access to health care, it’s all right here for them. That’s truly the beauty of life at Village On The Isle. If an independent resident does reach a point where they need assistance, no matter the level required, they already know the person who’s going to be there to take care of them when that need arises.

“That priority access to assisted living and nursing care is guaranteed through their contract, which actually keeps the pricing the same as what you pay for independent living. By doing that, we can offer residents a very seamless flow from one level of care to another.”

In addition to access to advanced levels of care, Village On The Isle also provides daily meal services, housekeeping, maintenance and transportation services as well as utilities such as high- definition television, phone, high-speed internet, water and electricity.

The community even has its own beauty salon/barbershop, several large community rooms, multiple dining venues, libraries, an outdoor heated swimming pool, a small marketplace, fitness studios, its own full-time fitness instructor and a long list of activities that Carl has come to enjoy immensely.

“It wasn’t long after I first got here that I found out there was an art class,’’ he shares. “Now, I’m no artist, but I decided, I’ve got nothing else to do today, so I’m going to go take an art class. And I could not have enjoyed it more.

“There was another day where they were having a pencil art class. So I went to that as well, and now I’m doing pencil art. I’ve got colored pencils and books, and I’m really enjoying it. They have a lot of great activities and classes around here.”

Show Me the Way

Carl is actually teaching a class. With his background in computer technology, he was asked to help residents learn how to navigate their way around their laptop computers, tablets or smartphones to stay in touch with family members.

“I worked in computers for more than 20 years and have always stayed up on the latest innovations,” Carl reveals. “When I first came here, a lot of people were having trouble figuring out how to work an iPad and such, so I jumped in and helped out.

“Some people needed help viewing pictures, some needed help learning how to send an email and some wanted to know how to set up and conduct a virtual visit. I was more than happy to be a part of that because IT, well, that’s my thing.”

Carl is also involved in the development of an app that Village On The Isle is producing to keep residents informed of all that’s happening throughout the community. He was among those asked to test the app, rate its effectiveness and suggest changes.

“It’s a great idea because this app is going to allow everybody to know everything that’s going on here,” Carl exclaims. “You can get the daily meal menus there or see what activities are going on. You can schedule a time for a yoga class, a trip or to attend a lecture.

“You can even look up another resident and get their apartment number or phone number if you need it. We will even have the ability to use a search feature to see who has similar hobbies or interests. Whatever you need, it’s going to be available through this app, so they’re getting more technical here, which is good for the residents. They need this.”

Meeting residents’ needs, whatever they may be, is the primary objective of the community’s staff. Carl says employees meet those needs consistently and do so with warm, engaging smiles.

“Living here is like living in a small town where everybody knows everybody by name,” Carl states. “We’re all neighbors, and the staff is great. They’re like family. They love you and they want to do everything they can for you. That’s why it’s such a great place to live.”

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    • Village On The Isle

      Incorporated in 1979, Village On The Isle is a faith-based, not-for-profit, Life Plan Community—also known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community. We are affiliated as a social ministry with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Fl... Read More