People are talking.
There are no better experts on community life at Monroe Village than current residents. Here are their thoughts in their own words.
Learn more about life at Monroe Village. Just use the easy contact form or call 877-586-1552.
Tell us about your parents’ decision to move to Monroe Village.
“When it comes to making big decisions, my parents are firm advocates of getting everyone on board. I’m one of four siblings, and we all have been involved in helping my parents in various ways. When my parents moved out of the family home over 20 years ago, they chose a two-bedroom home in a 55+ community in Brick so they could be close to friends and the shore. As they’ve gotten older and my father has had a few health issues, they decided it made sense to move to a Life Plan Community so they wouldn’t have to move again. They liked Monroe Village, and together, our family met with Nathan Perez, the sales director. He answered all our questions and helped my parents choose their apartment. They were excited to move in on Jan. 31, 2020, and were pleased with the move-in process and the welcome they received. The community has a fantastic program in place to integrate new residents into the group. They enjoyed having meals with other couples in the dining room and were settling in wonderfully for the first six weeks until the pandemic happened.”
Uncertainty marked the early days of the pandemic and by mid-March, all communal dining, activities, and family visits ceased due to COVID-19. How well did everyone handle this?
“As the administration enacted the necessary health and safety precautions, the staff at Monroe Village rose to the challenge. They are just amazing; I cannot say enough about them. My parents have not come across a single person who wasn’t wonderfully accommodating and genuinely interested in their well-being. The chef and dining staff did a fantastic job adapting to preparing and delivering individual meals. My parents called in their menu every day and excellent food would arrive. They could tune in to the in-house television channel for information and all kinds of programs. Although my sister and I delivered groceries, my parents were able to pick up necessities at the mini mart set up by the Village Bistro, and this was very helpful.”
Have your parents’ health needs been addressed throughout the pandemic?
“During the time when residents were asked to remain at home, my parents experienced several health issues that required medical attention. Our family was extremely impressed with the care given to them. The nurse who heads the clinic is a wonder woman. She and her staff went above and beyond, doing all that needed to be done. My parents received exceptional care, and our family was kept updated on everything that was going on. It was incredible! Thankfully, my parents are doing well now.”
This has been a memorable time for everyone. Do you have any additional observations?
“My parents are on the third floor, and they have a balcony. When no visitors were allowed inside, we would come and stand below their apartment, and they would come out on their balcony. My birthday is in April and when we visited, we lit a cake, and everyone sang the happy birthday song—that was memorable. We’re lucky to have each other, and my parents are fortunate to live at Monroe Village.”
Barry and Marcia Falk moved to Monroe Village in late May 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the fact that it was a challenging time to join a new community, they settled in beautifully.
Married for 63 years, they have a wonderful family—two sons, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. When they first retired and moved to a 55+ plus community in the Monroe area, the year was 2003, and they felt it would be their last move. Last year, though, the couple realized that they wanted the peace of mind that comes with having access to convenient healthcare. After having a family meeting where everyone agreed it was advisable for them to move to a Life Plan Community, Barry and Marcia visited Monroe Village and were impressed. Fortunately, they had a pre-pandemic visit where they were able to tour the community, meet with management, and enjoy a delicious dinner. Recalling that first dinner, Barry said they sat with another couple and had such a nice time that they kept in touch.
Considering the timing of their move, Barry said, “As far as COVID-19 goes, we were scared, but we decided to bite the bullet and do it. We put our home on the market, sold it in a matter of days, and braced ourselves for the move. Everything went exactly the way it was supposed to. We love our apartment. It’s completely renovated and lovely with a wonderful enclosed balcony. They helped us get set up, took care of any questions we had, and kept us up to date on the latest community news.”
Pleased with the food, Barry explained that when they first moved in, their meals were delivered to the apartment. Now they’re able to make reservations to dine at the Fireside Restaurant or have a meal at the Village Bistro. Appreciating that all the safety and social distancing protocols are in place to keep everyone healthy, he’s glad they’ve carefully opened up the community in adherence with state and federal guidelines.
Now that they can, he and Marcia enjoy hosting family for visits, attending musical and current event programs, and playing backyard games outside. “People are very friendly here,” he said, prompting those who know him to think “it takes one to know one,” as Barry is a gregarious, generous fellow. A bingo caller from way back (he called bingo in his synagogue and last community), Barry’s happy to once again be able to experience the thrill of the game at Monroe Village. As for the couple they first had dinner with, they now see each other every day. “It’s like we’ve been friends for 100 years,” he said.
Pleased that he and Marcia made the move, Barry reflected on the quality of the staff: “They reach out to residents and ask us for our opinions about what they can do to make us feel comfortable, active, and vibrant—we really like that! The staff are caring and go out of the way with little acts of kindness you don’t expect. We’re very happy and look forward to having many wonderful years here.”
Joe Radner lived in the same house in Jersey City, New Jersey, for over 40 years. Before retiring, he was a guidance counselor, physical education teacher, and weight training instructor. During summer 2019, Joe had some health issues that necessitated a hospital stay and rehabilitation. His niece Tery, who lives locally, recommended he look into Village Point Rehabilitation & Healthcare. When Joe and Tery first met with Tina Hanoman, assistant executive director at Village Point, there was an aha moment—it turns out that Joe had been Tina’s guidance counselor, and the year she graduated was the same year he retired. Joe enjoyed this special connection with his past and chose Village Point for his rehab. When he finished, he decided to look closely into Monroe Village (Village Point and Monroe Village share a campus), and the rest is history.
“Do what I did: Come and spend some time here—live here for a short while. The best way to see whether Monroe Village is for you is to experience it. That way, when the time comes to make a move, you can make an informed decision. Since I arrived, I’ve participated in a number of things. It’s a new way of life. I enjoy exercising and attending events here. I have my meals at the Village Bistro and the Fireside Restaurant. I like that I have a washer and dryer in my apartment and that I don’t have to worry about cleaning and maintenance. I find the staff here exceptional from top to bottom. Everyone does their job and they do it well. They’re good with people and they’re on top of things. Thanks to my niece who recommended Village Point when I needed rehab, I was able to see what Monroe Village offered and plan my next move. I’m very happy with the way things are going.”
Longtime Monroe Village resident Esther Raiss, who’s served the community in many ways, including as Resident Association president and board resident representative, offered this reflection on the community: “Monroe Village has been my home for the past 18 years. Many things have happened in that time. The caring and kindness of dedicated staff and friendly residents are always here to help aid and comfort me. COVID-19 has tested all of us. We are proceeding to live a slightly different lifestyle but we here in Monroe Village are safe and comfortable in our homes.”
When Eleanor Newell moved out of a nearby 55+ community to Monroe Village in July 2019, she was seeking the safety, security, and peace of mind that comes with living at a Life Plan Community. It was a move that both she and her five children favored, and because Eleanor remained in the same area, she was able to continue patronizing her favorite shops, restaurants, and doctors.
Recalling the rhythm of her days before COVID-19 necessitated a pause in community life, Eleanor said, “I enjoy the camaraderie. I eat with different groups on different nights, I do paintings that hang over by the greenhouse, and I sing with the Friday chorus. The people here are very, very pleasant.”
Since early spring 2020, as pandemic-related restrictions were put in place, Eleanor has been impressed with the many ways the administration and staff work to keep everyone safe, healthy, and informed. “They’re very cautious and conscientious. They keep a close watch on us. When I speak to other residents, they comment on that, too.” She’s pleased to receive frequent community news bulletins and watch town hall meetings on the in-house television channel.
When it comes to dining, Eleanor is all set. She receives a daily menu, makes her selections, and the dining staff prepares and packages her meals. “The young people in the dining room are working extra hard,” she said, “and we all appreciate it.”
Living on the first floor, Eleanor takes advantage of being able to step outside her apartment, tend to her potted plants, and “feel human.” She’s also pleased to have her children and grandchildren visit and attend community-sponsored entertainment. “It’s great to get out by the pond and listen to music,” she said. “Being here is a blessing.”
Carol Paone was born in Brooklyn and moved to Staten Island as a child. She and her husband, Buddy, lived there for many happy decades and raised their three daughters. When Buddy became ill, Carol spent 15 years as his caregiver. After he passed away, she needed a little pampering herself. She knew she wanted to move closer to her daughters who all live in New Jersey.
Carol, along with her oldest daughter, Janet, visited many senior living communities in search of one that would be a good fit. Because she likes to be active, she wanted a community that would offer her many options and friendly people. It was also important that she have access to continuing care. After spending a complimentary week at Monroe Village and getting a sense for the rhythm of the community, she knew she had found her next home. Carol moved to Monroe Village in 2019.
Referring to her experience prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Carol shared this advice for anyone considering making the move: “Come here and you won’t be disappointed. I’ve met such nice people here, and the staff are very helpful and attentive. It’s easy to be involved in many activities. I like to look at the calendar of events and choose things that interest me. Each week I go to the creative workshop where we make different items. Sometimes we’ll paint or work with clay—it’s wonderful. I joined the Village Singers, and we put on a few concerts each year; it’s fun to be part of a chorus. I exercise every day and enjoy attending movies here. I try to have dinner with different groups of friends almost every night—it’s so important to keep in touch. I often go to the local senior center with a group of ladies, and we enjoy that. Monroe Village is a great place to retire to—there’s so much to everyone’s liking here.”
“I didn’t want to be a burden on my children. My son-in-law shopped around, and we visited a few CCRCs. Some of the places we looked at were really spread out. In Monroe Village, I don’t have to go outside to reach anything I need—it’s all under one roof. I can walk to the Fitness Center, I can walk to the Clinic …
“The big thing was, I had a six-room house. How do I get rid of all this furniture? My daughters were a big help. So was Karen Cerreto here at Monroe Village. She told us how much room we had for furniture and gave us apartment sketches and sizes. So we knew what would fit.
“I’m really busy. I’ve gone bass fishing in the pond, catch and release. In addition to the Residents Association, I’m on the entertainment committee: I do the taping of all the entertainment here, and we put it on the in-house television. My hobbies are woodworking and stained glass—I’d never tried stained glass before I came here. I’ve had two of my works displayed. I plan to play golf at Clearbrook.
“I’ve made a lot of good friends, especially when we completed the Veterans Book. I didn’t see the action that some of these veterans have seen. One was involved in four major battles. Another one flew a flying fortress, one of the biggest airships the Army had back then.
“The people here—the staff as well as residents—are all very, very friendly. You don’t pass anyone in the hallway who doesn’t return a ‘good morning!’
“I decided on Monroe Village, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
“Before moving here, I lived in a nearby community, Clearbrook, where I’d lived for many years. One of my close friends started to need attention for health reasons. Concerned about her, I decided to help her look for a place that offered healthcare. After doing some research, I called the director of sales here at Monroe Village. We made an appointment for a tour and to have lunch.
“When we walked in the front door (and much to my surprise), I said, “I have come home!” Remember, I was not the one looking to move and never expected to have this reaction. But I just knew immediately that this was the place for me. So excited, I called my daughter and invited her and her husband to come and take a tour. After they visited the community and several others in the area, they said, “Mom, you couldn’t find a better place to be,” and I agree with them. We just couldn’t find the warmth and friendliness that we experienced at Monroe Village anywhere else. The grounds are lovely, the community is comfortable, and the programming is exceptional.
“Many of my friends from Clearbrook have come to visit me in my new home. After seeing how happy and active I am here and everything that Monroe Village has to offer, some of them have decided to move here too. It’s a community within my community. I have all the comforts of home and services I never knew I would enjoy having—housekeeping every other week, maintenance-free living, staff to clean off my car this past winter. It’s been terrific. I go to morning exercise class—tai chi is great! I still have my bridge game and social life. I’ve met old friends and new acquaintances. I think that’s important as we age—to meet new people and have good conversation every day.
“I could go on and on about how much fun I’m having, but it’s better for you to experience for yourself. Just like I did. We have a great sales staff that will schedule a personal consultation with you to discuss your goals, preferences, budget, and anything else you’d like to talk about. There’s nothing to fear—it’s no pressure and at your own speed. The most important thing is to look into a community like this while you can enjoy all the great offerings. I hope to see you around the Village someday!”
“My dog, Jim-E, and I moved to the campus from a condo in Twin Rivers. I found myself spending more time worrying about snow removal, repair men coming to fix things, and shopping to keep up my cooking and cleaning routines. Living here gives you so much freedom and independence. Even if you don’t drive, you can do what you want without relying on anyone. You can paint, garden in the greenhouse, join a book club or discussion group—and that’s all without leaving the campus.
“You can go where you want, too. We have trips to theaters, the movies, outdoor events in the warmer weather, and grocery or shopping trips; if you need it, the bus takes you.
“Mealtimes here are nice because the food is good and you meet a lot of people. At the same time, I like to cook in my apartment and go out to eat with friends. The meal plans are flexible so it’s perfect for someone like me. Moving here was a great decision. I’m having fun and meeting lots of new people.”
“Our last home at a 55+ community in Freehold was comfortable, but it lacked the things we’ll need in the future. We were also tired of worrying about maintaining our house as we got older. The cooking, the cleaning, all of it was getting tiresome. So we started our search for a new home. We examined a lot of communities, but there was no place as warm and welcoming as Monroe Village. The staff, the people who live here—everyone has a smile and says hello. Now that we’ve moved in, we get invitations to dinner every night, and we’ve met so many new friends. It’s exactly what we wanted.
“We know that living here will be easier for us in the years ahead. And if anything should happen, we’ll be well taken care of. We chose the Lifecare option for that reason—it helps us feel even more comfortable and secure.”