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Planning for the life you want to live


By Ann Lovell

For many of us, retirement will be here much more quickly than we might expect. According to a 2015 fact sheet on aging and health from the World Health Organization, the pace of the world’s population is aging much faster than in the past. By 2020, the number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than 5 years. Today, WHO reports, 125 million people are aged 80 years or older. By 2050, 120 million aged 80 or older will be living in China alone.

With these statistics in mind, it is never too early to begin planning for retirement. In a recent article for Forbes magazine, Richard Eisenberg offered nine keys to a happy retirement:

Spend time with your children and grandchildren if you have them.

Eisenberg references Stan Hinden, author of How to Retire Happy, who suggests one of the best ways to be happy is to find ways to spend time with your children and grandchildren, even though they may be busy. “You need them,” Hinden said. “Whether they realize it or not, they need you.”

What if you don’t have children or grandchildren? We suggest you connect with younger generations in a way that utilizes your experiences and strengths for their benefit. Tutor a high school student in math or science. Teach a class on investing at your church or community center. Allow kindergarteners at your local elementary school to read to you. The opportunities — and benefits — are endless.

Keep a schedule, but not like your pre-retirement one.

Eisenberg describes a study from Taiwan that asserts the key to a happy retirement isn’t how much free time you have, but how you manage your available time. A schedule helps prevent boredom, depression and loneliness, Eisenberg says. While you may be able to throw your pre-retirement planner away, having a daily or a weekly plan will help organize your activities and maintain control of your schedule.

Learn new things or pursue your passions.

Remember thinking, “When I retire, I’m going to …”? Now you can write that novel, travel, take a cruise, or learn to play the guitar. Retirement is the time to pursue your passions and learn new skills. Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first book, Little House in the Big Woods, when she was 64. The eight-book series that followed has since been translated into 40 languages.

Get a part-time job.

According to Eisenberg, studies show that working in retirement keeps your mind sharp and helps you avoid feeling isolated and lonely. Your current employer may offer a phased-retirement plan, or you could set up your own business as a consultant or contractor. Maybe it’s time to pursue a part-time job in another field. A semi-retired writer I know now drives a school bus for his local public school system. The job not only provides him additional health insurance benefits, but the interactions with students fuels his stories. (See #1 above).

To the extent possible, stay engaged and healthy.

According to Eisenberg, career coach Bill Ellermeyer says the happiest retirees are either engaged in meaningful activity or are actively employed. Whether your work is paid or volunteer, finding a way to contribute to society will help you stay engaged. Regular exercise and good nutrition will help you stay healthy.

Choose when to retire and then follow through.

“The authors of The Retirement Maze surveyed 1,477 retirees to see what made the happy ones happy,” Eisenberg writes. “They found that 69 percent of the retirees who retired by choice were satisfied with their lifestyle but only 36 percent pushed into retirement said they were.”

But what if you had a plan for retirement, and organizational changes either hastened your departure or you were, as Eisenberg describes, “pushed into retirement”? Can you still be happy? A 2012 Forbes article by Margie Warrell references research by psychologist Marty Seligman who found that those most likely to succeed after a setback like involuntary retirement frame the experience differently from those who continue to struggle. Remember that your job status does not define you, Warrell asserts. If you can interpret forced retirement as an opportunity to grow and re-prioritize, you can look forward to your future with excitement.

Come up with a retirement income plan.

“Figure up how much your 401(k) and other accounts will translate into monthly income; how much you’ll get from Social Security and any pension; how much you can afford to withdraw each year, and which accounts you’ll tap first for withdrawals to keep taxes down,” Eisenberg advises.

 Adjusting your housing needs may also factor into your income plan. How much maintenance will your home require? Should you consider downsizing to minimize upkeep? Should you consider moving to a one-story home? Should you consider the future possibility of assisted living or healthcare for yourself or your spouse? Seek advice from your financial planner or a retirement counselor as you make these decisions.

If you have a spouse or partner, talk about your plans together.

Much like you did in the early days of your relationship, talking with your spouse or partner about your hopes and dreams for retirement may give you both a sense of excitement and hope for the future. Quoting Neal Frankle, a noted financial planner, Eisenberg suggests that couples discuss their retirement dreams and write them down. Identifying each item as a “must have,” a “want,” or a “wish” will also help clarify your goals and aspirations. Of course, as with every decision in your relationship, be ready to compromise!

Figure out in advance what you want out of retirement.

Whether you want to travel the world or retire to a cabin in the woods, knowing how you want to spend your days, where you’ll spend them, and who you hope to spend them with are key decisions if you hope to make the most of the years ahead. Remember the words of George Burns, “Retirement at 65 is ridiculous. When I was 65, I still had pimples.”

Retirement counselors at The Culpeper can introduce you to the benefits of maintenance-free living and discuss with you how you can live the life you want to live. For more information, contact them today!


Ann Lovell is corporate director of communications for LifeSpire of Virginia. For more information, email or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

Compare us with other CCRCs!

Choosing a continuing care retirement community is one of the most important decisions you will ever make, and knowing and comparing your options is an important part of the selection process. “Where you live matters,” a website sponsored by the American Seniors Housing Association, has developed a CCRC visit checklist to help you identify the amenities and services that will best fit your lifestyle in your retirement years. We encourage you to download and print this resource and bring it with you when you visit The Culpeper and other CCRCs. We think you’ll find we have everything you need to make your next move your best move!

Schedule an appointment with one of our retirement counselors for a visit today!

The faces of The Culpeper

The Culpeper has a special kind of atmosphere. See what our residents and employees have to say about living and working here.

Visit The Culpeper

The Culpeper recognized for operational and customer service excellence by LifeSpire of Virginia


By Ann Lovell

Rose Wallace (left), Jim Jacobsen (center), and Kelly Trout (right) display awards they received on behalf of The Culpeper at a recent awards ceremony.

CULPEPER, Virginia—LifeSpire leadership recognized each of its four continuing care retirement communities for operational and customer service excellence at an awards ceremony Sept. 27. The Culpeper, formerly Culpeper Baptist Retirement Community, received a number of awards, including:

  • Spirit of Giving 2016 for highest percentage of employees participating in the employee crisis fund
  • First Impression 2016 for best appearance of the community
  • Fiscal Management 2016 for the community that performed best compared to budget in relation to campus financial results
  • Graves-Morris Award for largest net gain in independent living occupancy: The Culpeper

In addition, The Culpeper’s marketing director, Rose Wallace, received the Peak Performance Award for the highest closing ratio.

“We are very pleased that our corporate office chose to recognize us in this way,” said Jim Jacobsen, executive director of The Culpeper. “All of our employees work very hard to ensure we offer the best quality of life to our residents. I’m very proud of their efforts.”

LifeSpire owns and operates four retirement communities serving approximately 1,200 residents throughout Virginia: The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville, The Chesapeake in Newport News, and Lakewood in Richmond.

Ann Lovell is corporate director of communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email or call (804) 521-9192.



Hans Murdock assumes joint role with The Culpeper and Culpeper Baptist Church


By Ann Lovell

hans-murdockCULPEPER, Virginia—Fifteen years ago, Hans Murdock was trying to get out of the country. It was September 2001. Murdock and his wife, Becky, were slated to serve a two-year term with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board (IMB) in Russia. They had tickets to leave the U.S. in mid-September.

Then 9/11 happened.

“We got a call from the IMB,” Murdock recalled. “‘You’re not going anywhere yet,’ they said. So, we started unpacking everything we’d packed up. We didn’t know how long we would be held up. A couple of days later, we got another call. ‘You can leave in two days.’ We started packing again.’”

Murdock is the newly appointed chaplain at The Culpeper, a LifeSpire of Virginia continuing care retirement community in Culpeper, Virginia. He, his wife, Becky, and their 7-year-old daughter, Sandra, recently relocated to Culpeper from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where Murdock had served as a church planter and pastor since 2004, a role he assumed after he and his wife returned from Russia.

Murdock’s position is a first-of-its-kind collaborative venture between The Culpeper, formerly Culpeper Baptist Retirement Community, and Culpeper Baptist Church (CBC), said Jim Jacobsen, executive director of The Culpeper. Murdock serves both as chaplain at The Culpeper and as senior adult minister at CBC — a vision that began more than a year ago among CBC senior pastor Dan Carlton and the senior leadership of LifeSpire of Virginia, The Culpeper’s parent organization.

“We wanted to strengthen pastoral service programs to seniors at the church and within the community,” Jacobsen said. “Many of our residents are members and active leaders within Culpeper Baptist Church. We support one another in many ways, and the addition of Hans will only enhance our vision of continued family within the community.”

Carlton agreed, noting the partnership is a natural extension of the relationship that The Culpeper and CBC have enjoyed for more than 70 years.

“Culpeper Baptist Church helped start The Culpeper and ultimately Virginia Baptist Homes” (now LifeSpire of Virginia), Carlton said. “What we will be able to do together in engaging people over 60 will be far more than what we could have done separately.”

Carlton, Jacobsen and a panel of community and church staff received more than 50 resumes and interviewed “many solid candidates,” Jacobsen said.

“We had a ‘top 6’ list that was pretty dynamic,” Carlton agreed. “Several candidates told me they would not have applied if it was only a church staff or a senior adult chaplain position. They were excited about the possibility of working in both arenas.”

For his part, Murdock is also excited about the practical ways the church and The Culpeper community can be involved together in spiritual growth in ways that are both intentional and intergenerational.

“Many churches put lots of emphasis on children and youth ministries,” Murdock said. “But for most churches these days, their greatest population is senior adults.” Murdock wants to explore ways to connect seniors and youth in a meaningful way.

“Kids and teenagers don’t always pay attention to their parents, but they will pay attention to their grandparents,” Murdock said.

Murdock believes the teachers and professionals who live at The Culpeper have a lot to offer kids in terms of practical support and life lessons.

“They can listen to children read. They can offer tutoring in math or science. There are great opportunities for them to connect with and continue to influence the community they helped build,” Murdock said.

What else can we expect from this new venture?

“Check back in three years,” Carlton said. “I think we are on track to create a model for spiritual wellness and meaningful ministry for people over 60 that can be replicated in many other communities.”


Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.


The Culpeper’s bridge club provides social connections, mental fitness for residents


By Ann Lovell

20160426-AML-0342Jean Isaacson, 72, was disappointed there wasn’t a bridge club at The Culpeper, the LifeSpire of Virginia continuing care retirement community where she’s lived since 2013. An accountant who had started her own business in 1980, Isaacson learned to play bridge as a teen and taught the game when she lived in Chicago from 1972-1975.Then she met Lila Bunt, 89, another avid bridge player who has lived at The Culpeper since 2011.

“Lila and I were walking from ‘the big house’ (the building that houses the dining room and community center) to our cottages,” Isaacson recalls. “I told her how I wished we had a bridge club. ‘Let’s start one!’ Lila said. So we did.”

Bunt laughs. “Two heads plus a need equals a bridge club,” she says.

The two women started the club with one table in 2013. Then, they asked Pat Ballard, The Culpeper’s Director of Resident Services, to add it to the The Culpeper’s activities’ calendar each month. Soon Bunt and Isaacson were offering weekly classes to those interested in learning the game. Eight players joined a cruise the group took in early 2015, and today the group has grown to 14.

“We need two more players to have four tables,” Isaacson says.

Isaacson and Bunt are two of LifeSpire’s featured trailblazers during Older Americans Month in May. The U.S. Administration for Community Living sets aside May each year to recognize the contributions of older Americans. The 2016 theme is “Blaze a Trail.” Ballard recommended the two women for their initiative in starting the bridge club.

“LifeSpire trailblazers model wellness, community, and hospitality,” agrees Jonathan Cook, LifeSpire President and CEO. “By starting the bridge club, Mrs. Isaacson and Mrs. Bunt showed the kind of community spirit we appreciate from all our residents.”


Bridge evolved from the British card game whist and dates back to the 1700s. In 1925 railroad heir Harold Stirling Vanderbilt created the modern version of contract bridge, the version The Culpeper club plays. According to David Owen of The New Yorker, Vanderbilt “had been annoyed by what he felt were deficiencies in the previous version, auction bridge.” Contract bridge caught on quickly, especially as the Great Depression set in, and by the 1940s, 44 percent of American families played the game.

Today, an estimated 25 million Americans enjoy bridge, including such notables as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, who often play as a team. The majority of bridge players are over age 50, says Jon Saraceno in an article for AARP.

“Bridge’s intricacies make it particularly appealing for those who want to sharpen acuity with mental gymnastics,” Saraceno writes. “A study in 2000 at the University of California Berkeley, found strong evidence that an area in the brain used in playing bridge stimulates the immune system. Researchers suggest that is because players must use memory, visualization and sequencing.”

Additional research by Dr. Claudia Kawas of the University of California Irvine, seems to indicate bridge, with its added social element, may have a slight edge over other mental games in staving off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

“We think, for example, that it’s very important to use your brain, to keep challenging your mind, but all mental activities may not be equal,” Kawas says. “We’re seeing some evidence that a social component may be crucial.”


Isaacson and Bunt carve out lots of time each week for bridge. The two women teach bridge on Wednesdays, developing lessons based on the book, “The Fun Way to Advanced Bridge” by Harry Lampert.

“Many of those who come last played in college,” Bunt says. “It’s a great way to welcome new residents to the community.”

The group plays together at The Culpeper on Fridays. Isaacson plays with a group at her home on Saturdays, and Bunt and her husband, John, play Tuesday evenings at the local country club with people from the greater Culpeper community.

When they aren’t playing bridge, the two women are also involved in other activities in their community. Bunt and her husband regularly work in the food pantry at their local church, St. Stephens Episcopal in downtown Culpeper. Isaacson reads to an older friend, plays rummy with older residents, and enjoys caring for her granddaughter one day a week.

Still, bridge has provided a strong bond between the two women and allowed them to forge friendships with other residents as well.

“It’s very rewarding,” Bunt says. “It keeps us busy and provides a lot of good laughs.”

Culpeper Baptist Retirement Community is now The Culpeper

Culpeper Baptist Retirement Community has changed its name to The Culpeper, Executive Director Jim Jacobsen announced in a community meeting with residents April 6.

“While we are proud of our Baptist heritage, we believe this name change better reflects where we are today — a community who welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds in the faith-based family atmosphere Culpeper residents have come to expect,” Jacobsen said.

Built in the late 1940s, The Culpeper is the fulfillment of Dr. J. T. Edwards’ vision to assist Virginia Baptists in their retirement years. Since then, LifeSpire of Virginia (formerly Virginia Baptist Homes) has grown to four continuing care retirement communities in Culpeper, Newport News, Richmond and the Roanoke Valley. Each community provides a full continuum of care to address the changing health needs of seniors.

In addition to the name change, plans are underway to expand and revitalize The Culpeper campus, including a new front entrance and building, said Peter Robinson, LifeSpire’s Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations. Access to the community will change from Route 15 to Route 299, and the new campus will face the Blue Ridge Mountains. Additional services will include a rehab-to-home neighborhood, memory care and skilled nursing.

“For Culpeper, this is long overdue,” Robinson said. “We have long been known for providing some of the best care in the area. We have been accomplishing this in a building built in the late 40s. We can’t wait to give residents and staff a new building, multiple dining venues, a wellness center, library, walking trails and all the amenities our residents deserve.”

Culpeper Star Exponent Article Features Expansion at Culpeper Baptist Retirement Community

Click below to read an article in Culpeper’s daily newspaper featuring the expansion plans for CBRC:

Culpeper Baptist Retirement Community Expansion

Culpeper Baptist Retirement Community (CBRC), a faith-based continuing care retirement community with a history of more than 65 years has announced that the Board of Trustees has approved expansion plans for the CBRC campus located on Route 15 South in Culpeper.  CBRC was a vision and dream of Dr. J. T. Edwards, a former pastor of Culpeper Baptist Church.  CBRC is operated by Virginia Baptist Homes, Inc., which operates four communities serving more than 1,200 seniors. CBRC enjoys a stellar reputation including with the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services for its licensed nursing home.

Residents of CBRC attended meetings on Monday, October 19, to receive an overview of the plans for new Residential Apartments, which will include licensed Assisted Living, a dedicated neighborhood for seniors with dementia or memory impairment, and a licensed nursing home with a dedicated area for rehabilitation.  Staff announced that the new buildings being planned for the CBRC campus will replace the existing Assisted Living and Nursing Home buildings.  The staff shared with residents that there will be opportunities for input and suggestions from residents and their families regarding the design and programming of the new building.

The project has been a long time coming, and comments from residents during the question and answered periods reflected their appreciation that plans are moving forward with an expansion.

In addition to CBRC, Virginia Baptist Homes operates the following not-for-profit faith-based continuing care retirement communities:  The Chesapeake in Newport News, Lakewood in Richmond, and the Glebe in Daleville as well as the Virginia Baptist Homes Foundation.



Peter Robinson

Vice President for Marketing and Public Relations

1900 Lauderdale Drive

Richmond, VA 23238