Lynchburg, Virginia Helps Retirees Remain Active with a Rural Feel and Convenient Pace

By: Terri L. Jones

“We believe that this town has many of the advantages of larger perhaps more sophisticated cities, but the ambience of Lynchburg suits the way we like to live,” says Anne Behrend, who moved with her husband to The Summit, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Lynchburg, Virginia, seven years ago. The couple finds that the peace and quiet is just as important to their quality of life as the concerts, plays and educational opportunities they’ve enjoyed there.

“Lynchburg is a nice blend,” notes Heather Pippen executive director of Heritage Green, which offers assisted living and memory care. “It has a lot going on, a lot of cultural things that people can participate in, but it’s not as fast-paced as a big city.”


A rural feel with all the conveniences
You’ll also find this unique juxtaposition reflected in the area’s retirement communities. Westminster Canterbury has 42 acres for residents to stretch their legs, commune with nature or reflect, but there’s always something going on – from water fitness classes for seniors to musical presentations – and residents are only about five blocks from a grocery store. At The Summit, folks can fish in the 8 ½-acre lake, walk or bird watch in the morning and in the afternoon, head across the street for some shopping or lunch with friends (The Summit is located in a planned community for senior citizens in Lynchburg).

The culture of the area also isn’t lost on the seniors who retire to Lynchburg. According to Westminster Canterbury’s director of marketing, Susan Pettyjohn, the CCRC’s residents sing with the Jefferson Choral Society, trace their genealogy at Jones Memorial Library, and take classes or attend events at the city’s colleges: Randolph College, Lynchburg College, Liberty University and Central Virginia Community College as well as nearby Sweet Briar College. In turn, the city reaps the benefits of seniors’ activity with many volunteering at Poplar Forest, the Academy of Fine Arts, the Maier Museum of Art, Lynchburg Historical Foundation and the local hospitals.


The whole package
You’ll be able to enjoy everything the city has to offer, all year long, thanks to the agreeable weather in the “City of Seven Hills.” In fact, some Northern retirees, who have moved to Florida, find themselves coming halfway back (“Halfbacks”) because they miss the change of seasons.

“I moved my parents here from Pennsylvania about six years ago… ,” says Brian Runk, president and owner of Runk & Pratt Senior Living Communities. “My mother loves the seasons here. She doesn’t have the severe storms, and it’s close to the mountains and the ocean.” Runk & Pratt operates assisted living communities in Lynchburg and Runk & Pratt of Forest as well as a community also offering independent living and memory care in the Smith Mountain Lake area – Runk and Pratt of Smith Mountain Lake.

Of course, quality of life doesn’t just include the good times. You’ll also want to be sure there’s good medical care should you need it. Lynchburg General Hospital, part of Centra (that also owns or manages all aspects of The Summit), was recently named one of the nation’s 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals by Thomson Reuters. “Knowing that (they have that) quality of excellence is absolutely crucial,” says executive director of The Summit, Ken Burger.

Looking for both activity and tranquillity when you retire? You can have the best of both worlds when you choose to make Lynchburg your retirement home!

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