Noble’s Pond, a master-planned active adult community just outside of Dover, DE, offers its residents “more fun per square inch than anywhere you’ve ever lived”—and they just might be right. Lifestyle Director Colleen Ostafy, who has been a part of Noble’s Pond since 2008, before the first home in the community was built, recently took home the National Association of Homebuilders’ silver award. As creative as she is energetic, Colleen is the beating heart of Noble’s Pond’s vibrant social scene.
“With the 55+ community, it’s nice to have a lifestyle director. I organize all of their trips, events, and everything they do in the clubhouse,” Colleen says. “When I’m throwing a party or organizing trips, I invite everyone. It’s true community involvement.”
Colleen holds public dinners where new residents at Noble’s Pond get to know everyone. On the second Wednesday of every month, she also hosts Coffee with Colleen—a gathering of 100-150 people. “They share ideas, and I tell them what’s going on, what trips are coming up. This year, we went to Alaska. We have an African safari that we’re doing in August. In September, we’re taking a bus trip up to Cape Cod,” she says. “We just went to see a minor league baseball team, ate hot dogs, and saw fireworks afterward. I’m like the travel agent of the community.”
Colleen has introduced residents to riverboat cruises to give them a different take on the cruising experience. Next year, they will travel to the Smoky Mountains, Tuscany, and the Amalfi coast. “The nice part about it is that all you have to do is pack your bags and go to the clubhouse. I take it from there,” says Colleen, who enjoys trips alongside the residents, making herself available to take care of any concerns that might arise—from logistics to healthcare emergencies. “I make residents happy,” she says. “They’ve worked all their lives, taken care of people. Now it’s their time to enjoy life.”
Being the lifestyle director for an active 55+ community has its advantages. “I had it on my bucket list to go to the tulip festival in Germany. So I got together in a room of 100 of my best friends and brought it up. Close to 50 people went to Germany with me,” Colleen says.
Noble’s Pond residents also have a tremendous amount to do close to home. “People who come to Noble’s Pond or even look at our website are like, ‘This is just so amazing’,” Colleen says. “If people are moving in from out of state, they don’t know each other. The clubhouse is our grounding point. They can meet their neighbors, and meet other people who have something in common with them. We can show you how to play pickleball and bocce. We have a community garden.”
While Colleen is a treasure trove of ideas for activities, she is also open to residents’ input. “I’ve had suggestions for a little bit of everything. I’m never going to say no to you,” she says. “I come up with some really crazy things sometimes. We have a group of residents—we call them ambassadors. If we have an open house, they’ll come and talk to prospective people coming into the community.”
Colleen considers herself adventurous, but not as much as one of the residents who she accompanied on a trip to Niagara Falls. “One of the ladies wanted to zipline over the Falls. And she’s in her 80s!” Colleen says. “She’s my little daredevil. We went to Las Vegas…she wanted to zipline there, too.”
The residents of Noble’s Pond are also committed to giving back to their community. “We do a lot of charity events. Girls’ Night Out to Fight MS has raised over $92,000 in the past six years. It’s amazing how residents come together,” she says.
For Colleen, the greatest satisfaction lies in making her residents happy. “People realize that you can really retire and have the good life. One gentleman said to me, ‘I feel like I’m on vacation.’ Another said, ‘I just have to pinch myself every day to think that I can actually have this life and enjoy it as much as I am,’” she says. “I love what I do. I want to make it fun and entertaining. When we go on these trips, they bring their bags up, we take it from there—and they’re on their adventure!”
“Too many people, when they get old, think that they
have to live by the calendar.”
— John Glenn (1921-)
Fitness at On Top of the World is the focus. Age should not define you, and the homeowners at On Top of the World (OTOW) certainly don’t let it define their fitness.
“I start off every conversation with:’We’re just going to throw out the window the age you think you are. It doesn’t matter. Tell me what you can do, what you like to do, and what you want to do. Now I can create an exercise program for you,” says Cammy Dennis, Fitness Director at OTOW’s Recreation Center and The Ranch Fitness Center & Spa. “It is so empowering. It profoundly changes lives.”
Fitness By Design
At OTOW, they have a contemporary view of aging and have developed a program called ‘optimal aging.’ Cammy says, “We’d like for everyone to shift their opinion a little bit by discrediting their chronological age and focusing on their capabilities—what they can do and what they want to do. We are about staying engaged in life and exercise should be a part of that.”
“We do not subscribe to the notion that there is one program for 55 and older. The paradigm of retirement is shifting. People have encore careers, are retiring later, and moving in younger so we must have programming available more frequently.”
Need was so great at OTOW that they recently opened a second fitness center for their residents, in addition to their three fitness parks. On the cutting edge, they offer Fitness On Demand™, a market-leading delivery platform of virtual fitness, where the residents can choose their own fitness programs. The brand new fitness room contains two 70-inch screens, and outside is an iPad where you can scroll down a list of classes and choose what you want.
World Class Active Aging
They still have three live classes every morning with instructors, as well as scheduled classes through Fitness On Demand™. If it is open, you can choose a class or you can even reserve the room for a regular class. It’s very flexible.
The fitness professionals at OTOW are working on their own channel for Fitness On Demand™ called “World Class Active Aging,” so others in the world can take advantage of their expertise with active adults.
Older adults need to find that “Fun Factor.” It’s vitally important to connect with fun and enjoyment. Before they retire, people are concentrating on work and family, and don’t focus on themselves. It’s never too late to turn this around.
Education is Key
“When you are sedentary and aging, you can exacerbate your muscle loss, start losing muscular endurance and strength, and confidence. Your fall-risk goes up, so you start reducing your activity because you are afraid of falling and you continue on a downward spiral. We take strides to educate our residents,” says Cammy.
“Regular physical activity cannot only stave off chronic disease, but in a lot of cases can almost reverse the aging process, because you gain muscle. When you age you naturally lose muscle, it’s a natural process called sarcopenia. But we can regain muscle our entire life, resetting that chronological age.”
Food for Life
Donald Dormstetter, a 76-year-old OTOW resident, can attest to resetting that chronological age. “In November of 2016, I had a heart attack, and had to go to rehab. I took one of Cammy’s courses for 12 weeks called “Food for Life,” which taught about nutrition and exercise. Since then I have lost 50 pounds and am still going.” His routine includes 40 to 45 minutes of cardio every day and then adds strength training three days a week either at the Power Park, an outdoor fitness park with outdoor machines, or at the Arbor Club (the new fitness club that opened in March).
Linda Ford’s voicemail says, “I’m either working, working out, or shopping…” She’s the perfect person to help others get excited about their fitness. According to Linda, “The new gym is like a resort. The people are phenomenal.”
Octogenarians are both physically and emotionally strong, and that’s what the fitness professionals at OTOW encourage their residents to be.
At OTOW’s “Master the Possibilities Lifelong Learning Campus,” Cammy conducts a lot of wellness training. “From there, I can gain their trust and help them find their success.”
As adults age, balance may begin to falter, so OTOW provides free balance assessments every week for older adults that consist of 15 minutes with a personal trainer. They also have Balanced Body classes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Cammy also says, “We have a fall risk reduction class to improve and maintain strength. We practice with and train the systems that govern the body: the visual, vestibular, and sensory systems, and rehearse and learn functional movement patterns.”
“If you’re bored at OTOW, it’s your own fault,” finishes Donald.