Journey to Kendal: A Quaker-Led Retirement Adventure

After retiring in 2008 Jeff, a former professional musician and commercial music composer and Anne, a former nurse practitioner, decided to embark on an adventure! The couple, who were long time New York City residents, had decided it was time for a major life change. So, they left the city and moved “upstate” to the beautiful but relatively quiet and remote area of Northern Cayuga Lake. For the next decade they enjoyed the picturesque views and peaceful surroundings. Given their personable, friendly nature, they easily connected with the local community. As luck (or perhaps something else) would have it, there was also a very strong Quaker presence in the area. This became an increasingly important part of their lives and certainly helped to set them on a trajectory that would eventually lead them to Kendal.

After about a decade they began realizing this wonderful location, surrounded by woods and a view of the lake was also somewhat isolated and would become impractical as they aged. About this time, Jeff learned of an opportunity to serve on the Kendal Board of Trustees, becoming a member in 2019.

 “What I heard at Board meetings was very impressive and fit in perfectly with our own Quaker Values”, said Jeff.  Anne attended some Kendal events, met some of the residents and was also convinced it was the right move. 

A year later Anne and Jeff moved to Kendal.

As Jeff noted, “No other senior living community in the Finger Lakes has all the attributes of Kendal”.  He also pointed out that the community has extremely competent and compassionate administration and staff, worry-free maintenance in the cottage, and excellent access to healthcare, transportation for medical visits and shopping. He and Anne appreciate the activities, lectures, and concerts as well as having academic influences such Cornell University and Ithaca College nearby.

Given all of that, the Quaker influence at Kendal may be one of the most important qualities for both Jeff and Anne. This value alignment is something Anne addressed succinctly and eloquently through the SPICES testimonies; “S is for living Simply, ” she began, downsizing is a great example of this. “P is for living in Peace and Harmony. There is an Ombudsman, Social Workers, and others to help navigate the challenges here. The “I” is for integrity, and we see that in the administration’s transparency, the trust, and the lack of gossip. “C” is for community and the many opportunities for this through committee work. “E” is for equality. We believe strongly that all people are treated equally. We have no pecking order. Finally, the “S” is for Stewardship. We have a garden committee, a composting program and are committed to these efforts.”

It appears the adventure that began in 2008 has impacted not only Anne and Jeff, but all those they have touched along the way. We are certainly grateful Kendal is playing such a major role in their journey.