Trading Spaces: Home Swap Perk Expands Travel Options for Kendal System Residents

Inaugural Swap Wins Plaudits

Oct. 17, 2016—“The week of our home Swap was a rich and stimulating experience,” said Kendal at Lexington resident Dianne Herrick. “The experience was much more than a standard tourist visit because of the interaction with so many friendly people. Folks could not have been more welcoming and friendly.”

For seven days in September, Dianne and her partner, John South, swapped their residence in Lexington, Virginia, with Kendal at Longwood residents Betty and Bob Warner in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania—making the four of them the first to try out Kendal’s Home Swap Program. The unique, new program is a value-added benefit for residents of Kendal communities in eight states and for Kendal at Home members. They now have the opportunity to temporarily exchange residences with residents in other Kendal communities and with Kendal at Home members.

Created exclusively for those living in Kendal System communities, residents can access the Home Swap website through a password-protected portal. It provides Kendal residents with a secure login, allowing them to search for an Available Swap and/or post an Available Swap.

Dianne and John posted an Available Swap on the Home Swap site shortly after it went live for Kendal at Lexington residents. “We like to travel, and it really seemed like a great way for us to do more traveling around the U.S.,” Dianne said. “We were the first ones officially signed up on the Swap website and not too long after that Betty Warner sent us an email and said, ‘Do you want to swap?’ And we said, ‘Yes!’”

The couples had very little to do to prepare for their Swap. “They cleared some space in a closet for us and some space in a drawer, and we did the same thing,” Betty said. The couples also traded memos, titled “Things I Think You Should Know,” about linens, trash disposal, use of the washing machine and other household details. They also let their neighbors and friends know about the upcoming Swap.

Betty and Bob planned to visit several locations near Lexington, including Charlottesville, Virginia, where they had spent the first 10 years of their retirements. They also planned their Swap visit for the week of Sept. 11 so they could finish off the week by attending home games of the University of Virginia’s men’s and women’s soccer teams.

“We chose that week for the Swap based on UVa’s soccer schedule because Bob is a big soccer fan,” Betty said. “We stayed in John’s cottage from Sunday until Friday morning, and then we left Lexington and stayed in Charlottesville for the weekend because the soccer games were at night.”

The Warners planned carefully and had a full schedule during their Swap week in Lexington. “One of the things that we found—and I think that John and Dianne found, too—was that we over-scheduled ourselves,” Betty said. “My advice is not to over-schedule yourself and to really investigate the community because that is where the richness is. You can go to all the tourist attractions, but in the end what you’re going to remember are the people that you met and talked with.”

“We met their friends, and they met our friends,” Bob said. “It’s the fellowship that really makes the trip fun and interesting.”

John and Dianne agree. “If you just go and stay in a place and don’t meet anybody, it won’t be nearly as much fun,” John said. While they took day trips to see the sights in Philadelphia, attended a concert, and visited nearby Longwood Gardens and the Brandywine River Museum of Art, Dianne said they really enjoyed meeting Kendal at Longwood residents. “They were warm, friendly, welcoming, interesting and interested,” Dianne said.

Swap visits also provide an opportunity for cross-fertilization of good ideas among Kendal communities. “I’m on the Program Committee at Kendal at Lexington, so I’m personally interested in how programming is done at each Kendal,” Dianne said. “I think it’s interesting to see the similarities and different ways that different communities do things.”

Although the couples have exchanged many emails since agreeing to Swap, Betty says there’s one thing that strikes her as a bit odd about the arrangement. “I can tell you where John keeps his reading glasses, but I can’t tell you what he looks like because we still haven’t met him and Dianne,” Betty said. “All four of us agree, though, that more people should try the Swap.”

Residents and Kendal at Home members now have the opportunity to temporarily swap residences and travel to any one of several Kendal communities located in Chicago; Easthampton and Northampton, Massachusetts; Oberlin, Ohio; Hanover, New Hampshire; Ithaca and Sleepy Hollow, New York; Kennett Square, Pennsylvania; Lexington, Virginia; and suburban Washington, D.C. Kendal at Home, based in suburban Cleveland, combines the security of a continuing care retirement community with the freedom and independence of living at home.

Posted by Larry Elveru