Moving Decisions
Pine Run Retirement Community welcomes new residents during the 2020 pandemic with increased safety measures and the warm, though socially distant, greetings that characterize life at the lush, 43-acre campus in Central Bucks County.
by Jennifer Updike

Making the move into a senior living community is a major life transition even under normal circumstances, and a global pandemic certainly is not “normal” circumstances.
Bob and Alice Vernon of Doylestown found that out firsthand when they moved into the Village at Pine Run Retirement Community at the end of April 2020. The coronavirus pandemic was well underway in Pennsylvania, and so were public health measures put in place to slow the spread of the disease. Those measures forced some readjustments to the Vernons’ moving plans.

Pine Run Protects Senior Health
As the pandemic grew, it soon became clear that the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age. As a premier senior living community offering a continuum of care from independent living to personal care, to rehabilitation support, specialized memory care, and long-term care, Pine Run quickly mobilized to protect its most vulnerable populations.
Throughout its continuum of care, Pine Run put several processes and procedures in place to help protect its residents and employees from the virus. The beautiful, 43-acre campus in Doylestown Township was closed to most outside visitors. Employees and the few authorized visitors underwent health checks before entering the grounds. And new residents were required to follow strict social distancing guidelines that kept them apart from the rest of the community for their first two weeks in their new home.
People such as the Vernons and Deaune Volk, who moved into the Village, Pine Run’s independent living community, in May 2020, mostly were confined to their cottages or apartments for the first 14 days. They could leave Pine Run’s campus for shopping or other personal business, but could not socialize with other Pine Run residents or spend time in the community center, dining areas, or other communal gathering spaces. 
Rather than rankle the new residents, those safety measures reassured them that they had made the right decision to move to Pine Run. 
“Everything they did, all the procedures they put into place, we thought they were all important to be done,” says Alice Vernon. “The requiring of masks and keeping social distance was essential.”
“We would have been surprised, and frankly disappointed, if the restrictions had not been in place,” Bob Vernon echoes. “It would have been a tragic thing if the virus had found its way onto this campus and spread freely.”
Healthy living is at the center of the Pine Run Retirement Community lifestyle. Every resident has access to the health and wellness programs and services that are an integral part of daily life. Pine Run believes that health and wellness are multidimensional, encompassing the whole person. A Healthy Living Team creates and implements programs that address all aspects of senior living, including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
“Our goal every day at Pine Run is to create a safe, supportive environment that exceeds the expectations of all of our Villagers and helps each one thrive,” says Pine Run Executive Director Maria Santangelo.

Time to Unpack and Unwind
The safety measures put into place on Pine Run’s campus meant that new residents could not meet and mingle with their new neighbors right away. For some, the 14-day separation period might have made the adjustment to a new home more difficult. Not so for John and Margot Winfree, who arrived in April 2020, and spent their time in isolation unpacking all of their stuff—a lot of stuff.
“We moved a 3,000-square-foot house into a 1,000-square-foot cottage,” recalls Margot. “The mover couldn’t even get the door closed on the truck. Our lockdown went fine because we used that time to unpack all of our boxes. By the time the two weeks were over, we basically had everything done. We know people who have been here for six years and still haven’t unpacked.”
The Winfrees’ move was the culmination of a two-year search for the perfect place to embark on the next phase of their lives. Deaune Volk also spent a considerable amount of time searching for the retirement community that would be right for her. She researched area communities, keeping a spreadsheet of pros and cons for each, then visited eight area senior living communities. She chose Pine Run, and listed her house in Buckingham Township for sale.
A meticulous planner by nature—before she retired, she was an auditor for the U.S. Defense Department and then for U.S. Customs—Deaune had aimed to move into Pine Run in the spring, when she thought her new neighbors would be out and about, and meeting new people would be easier. The 14-day isolation period threw a wrench into those plans but didn’t end them completely.
“I hadn’t planned for a lockdown, but in the end, it worked out fine,” she says. “My new neighbors didn’t come inside my house, but they knocked on the door and waved. I unpacked, and I had projects that I wanted to get done. I ordered my meals from the Pine Run dining team, and they were delivered to my front door. I followed the Pine Run in-house TV channel for exercise classes, and the Healthy Living Associates at the gym called and asked if I needed anything. It was a peaceful time to settle in to my new home.”

Embracing the Pine Run Lifestyle
In the months since the Winfrees moved into Pine Run, they have availed themselves of many of the community’s activities and amenities. John plays water volleyball, shoots pool, and participates in a writers’ group. Margot works out in the gym several days each week, takes an aquatic exercise class twice a week, and practices aquatic yoga. She also has gotten involved in the arts and is helping to run classes. 
The Winfrees stroll Pine Run’s walking trails and admire the lush green landscape, sit on the outdoor terrace by the pond to eat, and get together for socially distant cocktail hours with neighbors. 
“We did a lot of outdoor living at our previous home, so being outside is important to us,” Margot says. “I thought I would really miss my gardens, but we love Pine Run because of how green it is—and the best part is, we don’t have to mow the grass, and we don’t even have to think about cooking. It really couldn’t get any better. We get happier every day.”
John agrees, adding, “After we moved in, someone asked, ‘How are you adjusting?’ I said, ‘You know, it took me a little bit, but after that first 10 minutes, I was okay. I don’t have to do anything here. I love it.”

About Pine Run
Pine Run Retirement Community is a vibrant senior living and continuing care retirement community nestled in the heart of Central Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Located in Doylestown, an hour north of Philadelphia, its beautiful 43-acre campus encompasses historic farmhouses, walking paths, a pond, and nearby Pine Run Creek. A continuum of care at every level is offered at its personal care setting, Pine Run Lakeview, supportive rehabilitation and long-term care at the five-star rated Pine Run Health Center, and specialized memory care at The Garden at Pine Run.

Pine Run Retirement Community
777 Ferry Road, Doylestown, PA
800.992.8992 |

Photograph by Jung Wi, Allure West Studios

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life magazine, October 2020.