People often say that Glenaire residents become like family. When Barbara Mann and her husband David moved to Glenaire in 2016, that was literally the case – her mother, Betty Hollis, had been a resident here since 1999. (Her father moved in, too, but sadly passed away in 2011.)
Her parents originally retired in Florida, but while paying a visit to Cary, Barbara convinced them to visit Glenaire. Her father was so impressed that he signed the application papers that day. Her mother was hesitant to leave Florida but loved being here once they moved.
Barbara visited her parents often and came to love Glenaire herself. She and her husband added their names to our waiting list and eventually became residents themselves. But even with her long experience coming to Glenaire, she was surprised at how welcome she felt as a new resident. “I thought I knew a lot about Glenaire, but until you actually live here, you don’t get a feel for what it’s like,” she says. “There are so many people with such interesting backgrounds, and it’s so welcoming. They’re eager to get to know everybody who’s new and made a point to invite us to meals. And people still do that. It’s really an incredible big family.”
She noted that photos and short biographies of new residents are posted on the bulletin boards around the facility. “People really make a point of getting to know people when they move in,” she says.
Part of what has made her life here so special, both before and since moving in, is sharing her musical talent with the residents. A former music teacher and talented flautist, Barbara played flute at Glenaire concerts and joined the community choir even before she became a resident. And she isn’t the only musician in the family. Her mother is an accomplished pianist and her two sons are professional musicians. “One is in New York and he plays bass guitar. The other is in Asheville and he plays a little bit of everything, including being a church pianist,” she says. Oh, and her brother is also a musician. When her mother turned 90, the whole family had a concert for her, and it has become an annual Glenaire event.
As for life at Glenaire, “we love it,” Barbara says. “We only lived two miles down the street, and all of our friends say, ‘Don’t you miss your house?’ and to them and to each other we say, ‘We don’t miss a thing.’” Her husband, she says, “finds it wonderful that someone shovels the sidewalk and the driveway for him.”
Which isn’t to say David doesn’t keep busy. “He’s gotten very involved here with things that he does well. He works with the audio/visual crew to broadcast performances in the auditorium down to Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing,” she says.
Besides her music, participating in the community’s tutoring program (learn more about that here) has also been a huge part of Barbara’s life at Glenaire. “After we got started working with the kids, some adults started saying, ‘We’d like to have an ESL class.’ I thought that sounded great and I had a friend who had just completed ESL training at Wake Tech. She agreed to come out and help me start a class. That was three years ago. It’s such a wonderful group of employees that we work with.”
In fact, Barbara and her husband like it here so much and stay so busy, they don’t want to take time away. “We had a house in Florida that we intended to spend our winters in, and we did the first few years we were retired,” she says. “But once we came to Glenaire there were so many things we were involved in year round that we decided to sell our house down there and spend our winters back in North Carolina. And we haven’t regretted that. There was just so much to do here that I felt like I was really missing out when I was gone for three months.”