On a fall day in 1951, when Charles and Katherine Kietzman were married, they made great plans for their future and growing old together. More than forty years later, they were ready to realize their retirement plans.
“We were in Claremore, Oklahoma, and that’s where we were going to be,” Katherine recalled.
They had lived in the community for more than 20 years, but an unexpected turn in Katherine’s health caused them to rethink their plans. Their two daughters live out-of-state and their son was nearly three hours away in Oklahoma City. They began considering options closer to family, and knew access to quality care would become increasingly important as they got older.
Today they live in a patio home at Concordia Life Care Community in Oklahoma City, near their son and grandchildren.
“This wasn’t in our plans but if you get to thinking that you are of age, it was the right thing to do,” she said.
Living in a stand-alone patio home surrounded by peers, the Kietzmans have embraced their new home.
Concordia offers residents several independent living options including patio homes as well as one- and two-bedroom apartments. As more assistance becomes necessary, they can transition into additional levels of care as needed including assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and long-term care.
The Kietzman’s neighborhood looks much like any other neighborhood in Oklahoma City, except that it is part of a secure division designed especially for seniors.
Katherine enjoys the convenience the community offers. They can cook at home or eat meals in the dining room in the main building, participate in activities and take advantage of health and wellness programs.
“In the four and a half years that we’ve been here, I probably cooked three dishes,” she said. “The housekeeper comes and helps take care of things, but if I don’t want her here, like last week, I just make a call,” Katherine said.
They were able to customize their home to fit their taste and needs.
“It’s our house,” Katherine said.
Their cottage has two bedrooms, two baths, a living room, full kitchen and a lovely sunroom. They also have a garage.
Charles, a World War II veteran, has claimed the sunroom as his quarters, displaying a wonderful collection of memorabilia from his time in the U.S. Airforce.
While Charles admits he still misses his large wood workshop in Claremore, he found a place to get creative in his garage, making wooden toys for his grandchildren.
Charles stays busy with woodworking and other activities around the house. He still mows his own lawn.
“There comes a time – I don’t want to admit it – when I don’t want to do it anymore. Then somebody else would mow,” he said.
Charles initially wasn’t sure that life in a senior community was for him. However, he has since changed his mind.
“It turned out to be very nice. We miss some of the people we knew in Claremore, but we reconnected with others here,” he said. “We are happy.”
Charles and Katherine also said it is good to know Concordia is run by a faith-based organization rather than a large corporation, making everything feel more personal.
Katherine said the freedom of living on their terms has a lot of value.
“You are by yourself, but you are not by yourself,” Katherine said.