Gretchen Wright has a long history with Kendal~Crosslands Communities!

It Starts With a Family Connection

Gretchen’s father and step-mother moved to Kendal at Longwood from Chicago in the late 1980’s. She fell in love with the place on her first visit. Gretchen was working as a social worker in Rochester NY at the time. A while later, she was looking to make a change and one of her parents’ friends suggested that she apply for a position in what is now the Sales and Marketing Department. Gretchen applied, and was hired in 1996. 

She spoke about how, as a social worker by profession, she was a little nervous about being in a sales position, but Kendal made it easy because it is really all about the residents. “It’s easy to “sell” something you believe in with all your heart. You get such a good feelings about the place when you meet the residents and the staff. You really need to choose a retirement community based on the people. Every community has its own personality.”

Gretchen retired a number of years ago from Kendal-Crosslands, and recently moved into Kendal at Longwood as a resident herself. She loves her sunny one bedroom den cottage that she shares with her Boston Terrier, Sadie.

She has a great perspective on just about every aspect of Kendal~Crosslands, having had family here as residents, having been a member of the staff, and now living here as a resident herself. “We work very hard here to maintain the core values, including simplicity and inclusion. There are cottages at many price points, offering something for everyone.” By maintaining a diversity of entry fees, the community welcomes everyone, and can offer Entry Fee assistance for those who meet the criteria for admission, and have led a life of service. These core values are important to the community at large.

Planning for the Future

Gretchen got a firsthand look at Kendal~Crosslands from her parents who were ever so happy here. Not surprisingly, each of her siblings but one has also chosen Life Plan communities for themselves. “Our parents led the way and showed us the value of making decisions for yourself about how you want to spend the rest of your days, and of not leaving it up to your children to have to make those decisions. So many people that I met with in Admissions had stories of trying to take care of their own parents, and they did not want to put that same burden on their children. That’s why they were looking at Life Plan communities. They knew they would be cared for for the rest of their lives-no matter what.”

How is Kendal~Crosslands Different?

Saide the Boston Terrier

As a member of the Sales and Marketing Department, Gretchen got to visit many other retirement communities. So we asked her what set Kendal~Crosslands apart from other communities and why she chose it for her own retirement. “We strive here to maintain our core values of Simplicity, Integrity, Inclusion, Community, and Sustainability. I think that Kendal~Crosslands also stands out in the extent to which residents are involved in making the communities work. There is no Activities Director for the programs and activities here, so they are doing what they are interested in doing. They sponsor concerts, lectures, art exhibits, and more. Residents are also in charge of such things as the library, the weaving room, the wood shop, the gift shop, and maintaining the various trails in the two communities. They are represented by their respective Resident Associations through which they can freely express their thoughts, ideas, and concerns.”

Another important feature of Kendal~Crosslands is that the Health Centers are immediately connected to the main community center. This allows for easy access back and forth so residents can readily visit with their friends and spouses who reside in skilled care or personal care, and those residents can also continue to participate in programs and activities in the greater community.

“It was also very important to me to be able to bring my dog Sadie with me. Pets are welcome and for many of us, they are an important part of our lives. The dog park at Kendal gives the dogs as well as their people an opportunity to socialize. Pets also play a role in the Health Center. Residents who are still able to manage them may keep their dog or cat in Personal Care, and residents in both parts of the center enjoy visits by four-legged friends brought by family or fellow residents.”

It’s the Connections That Matter

“The relationship between the staff and residents here at Kendal is special. We are a family”. Gretchen related a story about her step-mother who was 97 and living in Personal Care. She was a woman who was very engaged in politics. The nurse who helped her in the evenings developed a special bond with her over the months, and one night the nurse told her that she had never voted in her life, but that this year, she was going to vote for the step-mother’s favorite candidate. “That’s the kind of relationship that develops between the residents and staff here. I think it speaks volumes. People care deeply for each other.”

Values Matter

“At Kendal~Crosslands, we strive to walk the walk and talk the talk.. We were founded upon Quaker values. Many of us are not Quakers ourselves, but have been drawn here by those values. The values help to sustain the culture here. People get involved, spark new interests, and contribute their special skills and knowledge. Acceptance of everyone and of what they bring to the community at every stage is of key importance.”


“It is so important to enter the community when you are healthy and can make the most of all that goes on in the communities, and to develop the friendships that will support you as life goes on.”

Gretchen’s knee had fallen victim to years of playing tennis and paddle tennis, and as she began considering knee replacement, the thought of moving to Kendal also felt appropriate. She lived in a multi-story townhouse and the stairs were getting harder to deal with, plus she knew that after surgery, she could spend some time recovering in the Health Center and that there would be good Physical Therapy right there in the community. So, when the perfect cottage became available, she made the move and soon after, had the surgery.

“Making the move to a retirement community is a big decision. You can’t pressure someone into making the move, but you can try to help them see the value in doing so. Sometimes it means helping them think about the fact that after looking after others for so long, it was time to look after themselves. I can’t tell the number of times that residents have expressed their gratitude for having made the move once they came.” Several have told me “I wish we had come sooner!”

If you’re thinking about whether community like Kendal-Crosslands is for you, and when the “right” time to move is, be sure to click the button below to download our digital brochure, and reach out to our Sales and Marketing Department at (610) 388-1441 to learn more.