For more than 85 years, Laura Metti lived in New York City. She grew up in a cold-water flat near the Wall Street section of Manhattan, and moved to Queens with her husband where the couple raised a family. She loves the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple.
So when her children wanted her to move 90 miles away; closer to them near the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border, she was concerned. “I love to travel from the house, and I would take express busses to New York, or the Long Island railroad and go wherever I wanted,” she says “I realized that I couldn’t worry [my children] anymore. They were afraid that I was alone and I could fall.”
Metti’s daughter, Laurie Duffy, looked for a retirement community near her home in New Jersey but quickly grew frustrated with the lack of options. “I drew a circle—a radius of miles that I felt was comfortable for me to be from mom. I couldn’t find anything,” recalls Duffy. “There were some beautiful places, but I couldn’t find anything that I thought was economically workable.”
By chance, Duffy’s husband went golfing with a friend who mentioned Country Meadows. Knowing his wife’s frustration, he went to the campus where he picked up a brochure, took it home and pointed out that Pennsylvania was a mere 20 minutes away from their home. Duffy visited Country Meadows of Bethlehem and knew it was the right place for her mother. “This is a beautiful, amazing place,” she says. “I called my brother and told him that we had to get mom on the wait list.”
So Metti moved in and started a new phase of life. The city pace may have slowed but not this strong lady. At 90, Metti has made lots of friends, discovered a talent for painting and is enjoying life like she is living at a resort. In fact, her son-in-law compares Country Meadows to a cruise ship, and he loves checking out the game room and bocce ball court when he visits. Best of all, Metti’s children are thrilled to see her living in a place where they know she is safe and she is enjoying new hobbies.
“We wanted to make sure that mom wasn’t living a secluded life or feel that she was alone in her home,” recalls Duffy. “We wanted her in a community because she’s a very social person; a very active person, a very independent person. We wanted her to keep experiencing that independence and she does that here.”
When she shared the news about her move, Metti says, “A lot of my friends said that where you’re going it’s like a hotel. It’s true, but it is a new life.” With a new life, Metti had time to explore new hobbies. One she particularly enjoys, and has a gift for, is painting.
Her family is so impressed with her artistic talent that they used her paintings to create greeting cards. According to Duffy, “We thought it would be great for Mom to use them to write to her friends, and they could see the artwork that she’s doing. She has impressed on her friends, through the artwork, that [Country Meadows] is a great place.”
Metti’s paintings fill her apartment at Country Meadows, along with home-baked treats she offers her neighbors, family members and visitors. In fact, a large kitchen was on the list of “must-have’s” that her children sought when looking for a retirement community. And while she doesn’t have to worry about the fuss of maintaining a large kitchen in her apartment, there is a full country kitchen just across the hall she can use whenever she wants.
“Mom was always a great cook, and we wanted her to still be able to do that,” says Duffy. “She is still the pastry chef of the family. If I have something going on at the house, mom’s making cookies. I don’t have to buy dessert because Mom’s making cookies.”
Metti says her neighbors also love her cooking. “I make cookies and they smell baking and come running!’
Duffy is in awe of her mother’s bravery. “Unlike her family members and friends in New York, Mom is the only one who’s in a retirement community. So many of them are frightened of retirement communities; fearful of letting go of a home and leaving the familiar community,” she notes. “What impresses me about Mom is her fortitude and her bravery, and how difficult a move this must have been for her, but she did it.”
Metti adds, “I didn’t want [my children] to feel they were abandoning me. They found a place where I made a new family and the people here are nice, they really are.”
Her family is happy to see her thriving. According to Duffy, “When my head hits the pillow at night, I know mom is secure. And if anything is wrong I would know immediately. We found the place for Mom. And at 90, Mom’s kickin’ it!”