Sandy Dallas is a depositor. For those not in the know, this means that Sandy has put a 10% deposit on a residence at Westminster Canterbury Richmond’s new Vibrancy! expansion, and he is excitedly waiting for his new home to be ready as he starts packing up the old one.
Sandy is a Peace Corps veteran who retired after a 30-year career as a teacher and administrator in the Fairfax County school system. He’s lived in Richmond since 2002. During that time, Westminster Canterbury Richmond kept popping up in conversations.
“As long as I’ve been in Richmond,” Sandy recalls, “I’d heard about Westminster Canterbury. I had friends who were living here. It has a sterling reputation, and it’s in a location around Ginter Park I like, which is close to the city. When the Vibrancy! expansion was announced, they had an apartment with a small garden. It also has a den that I can use as an office, and it has parking. Parking’s a big deal. I already knew it was a great place. All these things helped solidify my decision to move here.”
So how is Sandy dealing with the anticipation of moving into his new home? “I’m excited,” he says. “I really am. I have a good friend who has a beautiful apartment in the Tower. He loves it there, so I think it’s a good move. You need to anticipate. After all, I’m 80 years old.”
What else is it about Westminster Canterbury Richmond that attracted Sandy? “The food service they have here is quite good. You can get sandwiches or go to the Canterbury Room and get an elegant meal. Plus, the doctors are right here. Continuing care is very important to me because I’m here by myself while my family lives in North Carolina. If something were to happen, I want to have a place like Westminster Canterbury I can rely on.”
But what about the apartment itself? As it does for others, moving to Westminster Canterbury Richmond—even into a 1,200-square-foot apartment—means downsizing for Sandy. Is that a problem? “I used to own a beautiful home in The Fan (an artistic district in Richmond centered around the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, featuring beautiful mansions, theaters and restaurants),” Sandy says. “I had to downsize from that when I moved to my current condo, which has three bedrooms and is quite large. I’m going to have to downsize again when I move to the smaller apartment at Westminster Canterbury. I have almost 500 books. I’m looking at them thinking, do I really need all of these? So I’m culling through them now.”
Continuing the thought, Sandy adds, “I looked in my closet the other day and realized I have more than 13 sport jackets I don’t wear anymore. Those are things I just need to get rid of. I’ve thought about it a lot and will admit, at first it was a little daunting. But I’ve determined this is going to work, so I’m doing it.”
Asked what some of the other features at Westminster Canterbury Richmond are that led him to become a depositor, Sandy is quick with an answer. “I’m excited about the Fitness and Aquatic Center. I used to be a good swimmer and I love the beach, so I’m going to be swimming over there a lot.”
But that’s not all that attracted Sandy to Westminster Canterbury Richmond. “Aside from the food, which I’ve already mentioned, there’s the Sara Belle November Theater. It’s a beautiful, beautiful facility. I saw a performance there year before last. It was a small orchestra, but they were really good. They played Harry James and some of the big band stuff which I love. But they’ve also had rock ‘n roll shows — a little of everything.”
While Sandy is already spending time with friends currently residing at Westminster Canterbury Richmond, there’s yet another draw for him — Richmond. “Being able to remain close to the heart of everything Richmond has to offer is very important,” he says, “especially since the cultural life is a large part of what brought me here 20 years ago. I really like the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. It’s a fantastic museum. And the old Virginia Historical Society, which is now the Virginia Museum of History and Culture. They are expanding like crazy.”
In the end, though, aside from the cultural and social events, great food and active lifestyle its residents live, there are also practical reasons Sandy chose to become a depositor at Westminster Canterbury Richmond. “First of all,” he explains, “it’s a continuing care community, which is very important to me. It’s not a nursing home, but it is what I need at this point in my life. It gives me confidence to know if my health declines, my care will be provided for.”
Finally, when it comes right down to it, for Sandy, it’s really about the people. “All the people I’ve met are very friendly,” he says. “They’re not old. I mean, they may be old chronologically, but they’re not old mentally. Obviously, I don’t know everybody. But the people I do know, I like very much. They’re friendly and nice, and there’s always something going on. I’m just really looking forward to being a part of that.”