Why We Chose Pickersgill

“I wanted location, I wanted size, and I wanted rent… Pickersgill has all three.”

—Claire Shepard, Pickersgill resident

Betty Dempster, Pickersgill resident

“If you put a magnet on me,” quips Betty Dempster, “I’ll follow you anywhere!” Betty joined Pickersgill following some medical procedures.  She dragged her heels at first because she was a loner, and felt unsure about community living. Her misgivings aside, she and her daughter took the time to investigate several local communities.

Betty had two aunts who had lived at Pickersgill many years ago. The community is also close to the area where she had lived for most of her life. The smaller size of the community was a big draw for her, as was her familiarity with the staff and management, which dated back to the time when her aunts resided at the community.

“The thing about Pickersgill that I can tell you now but couldn’t have told you a year ago because you have to experience it, is that it’s the people who make it so good,” says Betty. “They are lovely. And that includes the residents as well as the staff.”

“The people who live here are charming. They greeted me with open arms, and guided me into all the right areas. Now, everyone tells me I’m not really a loner—I suppose I have come out of my shell since being here. There’s a very nice calendar of things to do, but no one banging on my door to have coffee. I like that.  I can do what I want to do without feeling pressured to do anything. And I must be doing something right, because I keep getting invited back!”

Even the experience of moving to Pickersgill contained a pleasant surprise for Betty. “I used the moving company recommended by the community,” says Betty. “When it came time to pay the bill they told me the estimate they had provided wasn’t accurate. Turns out, it was too high, so my move cost less than I was expecting. I thought to myself, ‘When was the last time that happened’?”

Now that she’s a resident, Betty takes comfort in the fact that she can move to assisted living or skilled nursing care right where she is, without having to endure a move across town—or worse. “It’s good to know I don’t have to worry about the future,” notes Betty, “because Pickersgill will always have a place for me to live, and a way to care for me.”

Part of that care includes activities and events. While Betty is a late riser and early to bed, she does make time for bingo, the only evening activity she attends. “The important thing is that I’m meeting people and doing things,” says Betty. “I look forward to meeting people for dinner in the evening. That is something I wouldn’t have experienced before, or even imagined I would enjoy. But I love it at Pickersgill.”


 Claire Shepard, Pickersgill resident

“When I was looking for a retirement community I wanted three things,” says Claire Shepard. “I wanted location, I wanted size, and I wanted rent. I didn’t have to look any further, because Pickersgill has all three.”

Claire has six children, with two living in the Ruxton area, and a third a bit farther away, but still nearby. The location is ideal, allowing her grandchildren to visit regularly.

“Besides the location, the size of Pickersgill is just perfect,” notes Claire. “I get to know pretty much everyone in just a short time. And the rental contract means I’m not faced with paying so much of my money up front as an entrance fee.”

“There are also three things I love now that I live here: the people, the camaraderie and the activities,” says Claire. “There’s so much to do. On the back of my door is the monthly calendar from the community, and every day is full!”

Claire still works two days a week at a garden center in the area, a job she’s held for more than 18 years. She enjoys the challenge of working with people of all ages, and the mental stimulation of staying involved. When she returns to Pickersgill after work she appreciates the yoga and chair exercise classes. “The instructors are awesome and delightful,” says Claire, “and the chair exercise class alone draws nearly 30 people each time!”

For Claire, yet another important benefit of living at Pickersgill is the peace of mind it has brought to her kids. “Not long ago, my daughter said they all talk about how great is it that I’m living at Pickersgill,” says Claire. “She said they’re so grateful that I’m in a place where I’m warm and cared for, and not in my old condo by myself.”

“And I’m not only ‘warm and cared for,’ I’m truly comfortable with living in a community where no one puts on airs, and I’m surrounded by friendly feelings. It’s home…where I’m nestled among my own things with their good memories, and enjoying a beautiful apartment.”

“When I had my evaluation with the doctor prior to moving here, he told me that the residents of Pickersgill were the only ones he saw who would say, ‘it’s good to go back home’ when they were finished with their appointments. They didn’t say, ‘back to my room’. They said, ‘back home.’”


Mary Lou Fish, Pickersgill resident

“I had been living in a retirement apartment community,” says Mary Lou Fish, “when my sister suddenly passed away. She was my last remaining family member, so I knew I needed to find a new place to live that would offer a continuum of care.”

Mary Lou had moved back to the Baltimore area from Florida, where she had lived for many years. Her first and only experience with continuing care has been Pickersgill.

“They were most gracious when I made the move,” says Mary Lou, “offering me as much help as I asked for, and recommending a very good moving company that was very familiar with the process of moving into Pickersgill. That was a great comfort to me.”

“Once I moved in, I realized that the community was small enough to be a community. The residents, and even the management are very caring.”

As an independent living resident, Mary Lou has a full kitchen in her apartment, but what she likes best is having a cook! “Meaning my main meal each day,” quips Mary Lou, “when I don’t have to cook for myself. And the food is very good.”

Mary Lou has discovered that living in a continuing care community means peace of mind for her future. She says, “I know that when I begin to need help, I can make a smooth transition into assisted living. And if I need more care later on, it’s available right here. I won’t have to move to a different address to get the care I need. It’s very reassuring. And I won’t lose touch with the friends and acquaintances I have here at Pickersgill.”

Another discovery has been the depth of concern among the staff for each resident’s well-being. Mary Lou has experienced this in many ways, including one that seemed curious at first.

“There’s a little ‘flipper’ at the top of the apartment door,” says Mary Lou. “Each night the security staff engages the flipper, which is disengaged when you first leave the apartment in the morning. If that flipper hasn’t moved by 10 o’clock in the morning, they’ll either call or knock on the door to see that you’re okay.”

May Lou ventures outside the community each day to work as a volunteer coordinator at the Mother House for the School Sisters of Notre Dame. While her volunteer work means she participates in few of the many activities available at Pickersgill, she is happy to know that, when her day comes that she’s not going out each day, she’ll have many things to do when she stays home.

“What’s changed my life for the best at Pickersgill is that I have complete peace of mind, knowing that as I age I’ll receive the best care in a comfortable home,” says Mary Lou. “And I was fortunate to have made this decision on my own, before someone else had to make it for me.”


Richard and Elinore Davidson, Pickersgill residents

“We had been living about 10 minutes away from Pickersgill for more than 50 years,” says Elinore Davidson. “Two of our good friends were living at Pickersgill, and had invited us to several events at the community.”

“We visited several other communities, but chose Pickersgill because of its smaller size, and because there was no requirement for a large entrance fee. We liked the month-to-month contract.”

“We have a daughter who lives in Florida, and we thought we would be able to leave and move to where she was without hurting ourselves financially, if we found that we didn’t like living at Pickersgill.”

The Davidsons’ daughter had been urging them to get their names on a list at a retirement community since learning that several of her parents’ friends were beginning to have health problems. She knew from past conversations that her mom and dad didn’t want to place the burden of their care onto her shoulders.

Elinore also realized that they wanted to be in good health, and be able to fully participate in everything once they did move to a retirement community.

Now that they are living at Pickersgill, the Davidsons love the smaller size of the community. They also appreciate the weekly entertainment events, and really enjoy the introduction to new and different subjects.

“Each week we have Contemporary Issues, presented by a board member,” says Elinore. “Last year another board member came in and gave us French lessons. We like learning new things, and never miss these kinds of events.”

Elinore is also quite active in volunteering, currently serving as the head of the Food Committee at Pickersgill. The community recently added a pool table, and she has become proficient at the game. Last year her son built a very nice horseshoe court, and she’s looking forward to trying it out—perhaps even challenging other communities to horseshoes matches!

“Three times each week we have the chair exercise classes,” says Elinore, “and I take a yoga class. It’s all included in the one monthly fee we pay, as is a very nice dinner each day.”

Also included is a very comfortable apartment. In Richard and Elinore’s case, it’s a two-bedroom apartment with two full baths. “We have a beautiful patio, with hanging and potted plants,” says Elinore, “and we can walk straight to our car from the apartment. It’s great!”

“Each time I drive past my old house I say, ‘oh, I’m so glad I’m not here.’ We had a lot of trees that needed extra care, and ivy climbing up where it shouldn’t have been. Even poison ivy growing in the garden. It was too much!”

Elinore is glad for the lack of worries and cares about a house, meals, appointments and obligations. “To tell you the truth, I believe this kind of lifestyle is one reason why people are living longer,” she says. “We don’t really have anything to worry about. We don’t have to buy anything. I feel like we’re an intelligent group of people who would rather spend their money on something besides paying a large entrance fee on an apartment in another community.”

“I can play bridge here, I can paint or I can hop on the community’s bus to go shopping—all without tying up our retirement nest egg. No worries, no stress. It’s a happy way to live and enjoy retirement.”