When Neil and Carol Johnson decided to start looking for a retirement community — a place they could spend the rest of their lives, they were living in Levy County, Florida. They looked all over the South—as far away as Texas. They had several criteria to meet: a continuum of care, a safe environment, and lots of natural surroundings. Though they kind of stumbled upon Advent Christian Village (ACV), before they even got out of their car, Carol had already declared, “I could live here.”
The Johnsons were still quite young, but having taken care of both Neil’s mom and her sister, finding a place early that would provide the different levels of care they may need was important to them. With no kids of their own, they didn’t want to end up becoming a burden on their nieces and nephews. They knew firsthand the amount of time and commitment required to be full-time caregivers. ACV’s full range of services, from independent living to a nursing center with Alzheimer’s care, was exactly what the Johnsons were looking for. Without ever needing to move out of the community, they will be able to receive the care necessary for their lives to remain fulfilled. And if one of them should need a higher level of care before the other, they can still easily see each other daily.
Another great benefit to living at Advent Christian Village is its location, according to the Johnsons. When the couple retired after working 30 years (each) for the Polk County, Florida, public education system, Neil was ready to get out of the traffic, so they bought several acres out in the country in Levy County. That was great until he realized he was getting too old to manage a “park,” but he didn’t want to leave the beauty of a natural setting. Advent Christian Village is a perfect compromise: no traffic, natural surroundings, and very little upkeep. Their home (which they own) is situated on a quiet, wooded lot that is maintained by ACV.
The couple also loves the location because they love to travel. Dowling Park’s convenient proximity to several airports and the port at Cape Canaveral make getting where they want to go a cinch. They’ve also enjoyed talking several trips to other states with a tour company in Madison, just up the road from Dowling Park.
But the thing that keeps Neil and Carol truly happy here are the people. Carol especially is amazed by the connections she’s made with other members. There are people from all different backgrounds and interests. They have made many friends. And Neil likes to brag on the personnel. “I don’t know how they find the employees here,” he says. “They’re wonderful.” From the medical care to the food service staff to the bank tellers helping little old ladies balance their checkbooks, Neil says everyone at ACV is happy to make the members here feel welcome and well taken care of. “We are so blessed.”
They are so “thrilled to be here,” that they’ve invited their families to visit regularly. Carol’s family has come to ACV for three Christmas gatherings and Neil’s family filled a guest cottage to bursting for a family reunion. Several of their nieces and nephews are already deciding where they want to live when they move to ACV permanently. Neil’s sister, JoAnne Irby, has already joined her brother by moving into a one-bedroom apartment. And another sister is making plans to move to Dowling Park as well.
Neil and Carol Johnson are so glad they moved to Advent Christian Village at a relatively young age. They have been able to enjoy the setting and all the outstanding features, and their many new friends provide them with a great support system. Plus, they’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of this warm community for many, many years.