For older adults who have spent most of their lives caring for families and making their own decisions, asking for assistance is hard. No one likes to admit they need help, but making the decision to downsize from the family home doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your privacy or freedom. Elderwood Residences at Cheektowaga and Elderwood Residences at Wheatfield offer spacious, private independent living patio homes and apartments for adults age 62 and older looking to remain self-sufficient, while shedding the strain and worry of home ownership.

Taking Elderwood for a ‘Test Drive’

Beverly Dally’s two sons were concerned about their mother living alone in a large family home. Their search for options led them to suggest Bev give Elderwood Residences at Wheatfield a try. A fully-furnished guest suite offered Bev the perfect introduction to a more carefree lifestyle. The guest suite is available for a trial period of one to several months for people who are interested in “testing the waters” of independent living.

Almost immediately, Bev decided to make the move permanent.

“I love it here!” she says. “I was surprised that I felt so comfortable right away.”

She gladly takes advantage of built-in services that include housekeeping, laundry and transportation to doctor’s appointments.

Nicollette Holland was instrumental in orchestrating Bev’s move from the guest suite to her own apartment. She made sure utilities and other services were in place, so that when it came time for Bev to move, she didn’t have to worry about a thing.

As Elderwood’s Lifestyle Associate, Nicollette provides concierge-style services to residents of the independent living community’s patio homes and apartments, managing everything from coordinating movers to calling a cab.

“As I go about my day talking to residents, I try to find out what they need. I’ll ask them, ‘What can we do better?’,” says Nicollette. “Overall, they’re pretty happy, which makes my job so fulfilling.”

Bev was happy to turn over the duties of cooking and housekeeping. What she appreciates most about her new home, however, is the friendliness of the staff and other residents.

“It’s pretty busy here,” Bev says. “There are things scheduled throughout the day.” She enjoys Bingo, cards, exercise and shopping at Tops and Wegmans, and she’s anticipating outings and lunch at local restaurants.

Best of all, she’s making many friends. After dinner, you might find her sitting around the fireplace chatting with “a few of the ladies.” The fact that she’s still getting to know everyone doesn’t hold her back. “You can still carry on great conversations,” she says, “even if you haven’t learned everyone’s names yet.”

Bev’s sons have visited her at Elderwood and she says they are happy with her new home. To others who are considering a move to independent living, Bev says, “Don’t even hesitate!”

Like-Minded Sisters

Dorothy Fairhead had just finalized plans to move out of her home of 50 years when she got a phone call. “We sold the house; we’re moving,” said her sister, Jeanne Radder. Coincidentally, they had both rented patio homes at Elderwood Residences at Cheektowaga.

The sisters grew up in Lancaster with five siblings, eventually separating when Dorothy moved to Rochester to raise her family. Jeanne and her husband, Ed, built a home and raised a family in Cheektowaga, where they lived for 63 years.

More recently, though, taking care of their homes had become challenging. Jeanne’s children worried about her and Ed managing snow removal, house and yard work. Dorothy’s house included a long driveway and a large yard, all of which fell entirely under her care as a recent widow. Both sisters felt uncomfortable turning to their children for help.

“I like to feel I can take care of myself. My kids have families and homes of their own to care for now,” Dorothy said.

Jeanne’s son recently confided that before the move, he’d been afraid to answer the phone for fear one of his parents had suffered an accident.

“That hurt. That cut real bad,” Jeanne said.

“Your kids worry about you. You don’t think they do, but they do. Here they don’t have to,” said Dorothy.

The sisters entered cautiously into their search for new living arrangements. Both wanted easy accessibility -- no stairs, no long halls -- as well as laundry access, maintenance upkeep and a safe, secure setting. Environment was equally important in the search for the right place.

“I didn’t want to live in a huge hotel setting. I wanted a more home-like atmosphere,” said Jeanne.

Elderwood Residences at Cheektowaga presented solutions beyond their expectations. The spacious one- and two- bedroom patio homes line the streets of a charming, private neighborhood.

“I was surprised by the benefits of living here. They take care of all the little things,” said Dorothy. Lawn care, trash and snow removal, maintenance, repairs and weekly housekeeping are included in the monthly rent.

“They take good care of us. Things are taken care of before you ask. They even hang your pictures and change your light bulbs,” said Jeanne.

The sisters are pleased by the spacious accommodations in their new homes.

“Our patio home has a high tray ceiling, so we had a huge Christmas tree this year,” said Jeanne. “And we can plant our own garden.” She looks forward to seeing the bulbs she planted last fall.

Jeanne admitted leaving her neighbors was one of the hardest parts of saying goodbye to her old home, but said, “We’ve got good neighbors here. Everyone is very nice.”

Dorothy is thrilled at how easily she is making friends. “It’s just a real good place to meet real good people,” she said, adding that she was quickly invited to neighborhood barbecues and enjoyed a successful Halloween pot luck dinner.

“Everyone has been saying we need to plan more parties like that,” she says.

Beyond the social and practical aspects of independent living, Elderwood’s security features provide peace of mind. “I feel safe and secure knowing any time, day or night, there’s someone I can call,” said Dorothy. “This place is extraordinary, with just the right amount of privacy. I do not believe I’d be this happy any place else.”

Further information about Elderwood independent living is available by calling Elderwood Residences at Cheektowaga, at 961-9663, or Elderwood Residences at Wheatfield, at 215-8040, or by visiting