It’s another eventful day inside the full-service community clubhouse at Silverwoods, the area’s most affordable age-restricted, gated community spread out over 55 acres in Toms River, NJ. In the exercise room, a woman is engaged in her favorite Tai Chi class. It’s obvious that she takes her exercise seriously. But then again, 88 year old Estelle Fitzpatrick has never been one to sit idly by. That was until back to back record-setting snowfalls piled 6 foot high snow drifts up against the front door of her Lavallette cottage, and held her hostage in her own home.

“This last snowstorm was the worst”, says Estelle, relaxing in the beautifully decorated living room of the one-story garden apartment she moved into March 1.“ I couldn’t open the door to get out. My son finally said, “That’s it. Pack up.”

Estelle did pack up, and briefly lived with her children. But being one who cherished her independence, perhaps even more than most, Estelle knew that for her, having her own place was the only option. Naturally her children were concerned and wanted their mom to find a place close by to their Toms River homes. So the search and the trepidations began. But ended just as fast. Upon Estelle’s first visit to Silverwoods, she knew she was ready to unpack for good. “Once I walked in here, I made up my mind. I was very impressed. I’m very independent.”

Silverwoods promotes individuality by the very way it is constructed. Unlike those 4 and 5 story hotel-style facilities with elevators, here residents live in large one-story garden-style apartments with wooded views, patios, porches and privacy. People can bring their own furniture, beds, linen and set up their home to suit their own taste. For people like Estelle, who cherish their freedom, Silverwoods is ideal. Residents can enjoy all the freedoms and support that inspires individuality and self-esteem.

Katie Davis, Executive Director of Silverwoods says Estelle’s story is a microcosm of so many other senior experiences. “People become overwhelmed running a house all alone. They realize that the house is just too much to maintain. They come here to get rid of the daily hassles, and focus on enjoying a more relaxed lifestyle. We’re here to take care of their needs.”

A full schedule of activities at Silverwoods creates an atmosphere that inspires enthusiasm and confidence, which is especially crucial to newer residents still adapting to life away from the homes they knew. Says Katie Davis, “There’s always activity going on– trips, Women’s and Men’s Clubs, resident associations, opportunities to meets lots of people.” Ms. Davis added, “Estelle was excited about being here. 30 inches of snow on the ground may have cinched it.“

Settling into a community where she could keep active on a daily basis was a vital consideration for this former Brooklynite and long time Jersey Shore resident. She has always brought boundless energy and passion into every corner of her busy life, from loving wife, devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother to career woman and active force in the community. While President of the Seaside Chapter of Deborah Hospital, Estelle was a tireless supporter and fundraiser. Her many efforts included organizing trips to the British Isles, Hawaii and Aruba.

Though barely a month has passed, Estelle is obviously very taken with her new home and stimulating environment. “My place is very nice. Lovely. Very impressive. For someone like me, if I don’t like something, I don’t stay with it.” She continued, “I truly have everything here. They have exercise classes, a heated indoor swimming pool, and a library. I love to read. Two to three books a week. They have Saturday morning bus trips to the mall. I love to shop, too.”

Silverwoods also features a clubhouse with restaurant, a billiards room, card room, and more. But one can’t live on amenities alone. There is a dinner meal served restaurant-style in the dining room seven days a week. How does Estelle rate the culinary offerings? “The dining room is excellent – the food is delicious.”

The Silverwoods community is friendly and intimate, with many shared experiences and common bonds leading to future friendships. “I’ve met wonderful people here”, says Estelle. “Every day I meet someone new. I met three lovely ladies at brunch on Tuesday” (Silverwoods offers a brunch for its residents and the outside community every Tuesday). Yesterday at the luncheon trip to the Via Amalfi Restaurant I met a woman who comes from the same area of Brooklyn that I do. She knew everything about Bay Ridge.”

It’s impossible to look at the dynamic lifestyle that Silverwoods offers, and not think about what the price tag of it all might be. Cost is a major concern for seniors living on a fixed income. As it turns out, Silverwoods is remarkably affordable. The garden apartments are not only bigger than most, but their monthly rates are cheaper than the competition. The current running special offer could save new residents up to $2,400 a year.

At Silverwoods you get all the features, services and amenities you need to enjoy an independent lifestyle, without tying up your nest egg. With no entry or endowment fees, one low monthly fee covers your choice of 5 different floor plans. Every apartment comes with a fully equipped kitchen, individually controlled air conditioning and heating, a cozy enclosed porch and patio, pendant and pull cord security system monitored 24-hours a day, smoke detectors connected to an around-the-clock security system, full bathrooms with safety bars, window treatments and wall-to-wall carpeting in each home.

Research has shown that meaningful activities and social relationships are integral to happy, healthy living. Promoting the highest level of well being possible, and satisfying residents’ zest for living so completely is what continues to separate Silverwoods from other senior facilities in the area.

As the next month’s calendar of ever-expanding events arrives at her door, Estelle eagerly grabs for it and anticipates the new possibilities it will bring. “I’m still unpacking. I haven’t caught up with all there is to do here. And I have a long way to go.”

Part of a continuum-of-care campus in Toms River, Silverwoods is one of the areas first and most highly regarded independent living residences. Delivering a high level of service, stressing independence, building long-term relationships with residents and families, and promoting active lifestyles, has created a new standard for affordable senior living.