Anita and David Loerke

Anita & David Loerke at Piano

An active couple transitioned from a 55+ active adult community to Applewood to enjoy all of the community’s amenities to the fullest. The Loerkes have lived full and enviable professional lives, David as a professional musician and music educator, Anita as a teacher who went on to work at Princeton University’s Investment Company (PRINCO). The couple met in their early 40’s when David provided piano instruction to her two sons. In January 2022, the couple will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.

The empty-nesters resided at a New Jersey Four Seasons active adult community for 17 years. Recently, both faced supporting older family members transitioning to senior care communities after health crises made living independently no longer possible.


“We’ve seen firsthand how difficult aging can be when you wait too long to secure your senior living situation,” Anita explains. “At a time when life should be fully enjoyed, some of our family members were forced into a more urgent and stressful move after their health had deteriorated.”

The couple had friends in their age group who had already moved to a continuing care retirement (CCRC), and they unanimously agreed the decision had been the right one.

“Communities like Applewood have an endless array of things to do every day,” David notes. “But if you aren’t in good health to take advantage of them, you’re doing yourself a disservice.”

The couple agreed the move from their active adult home would be their last; they took two full years to research and visit senior living communities throughout New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania to be near their children living in Mercer County.


The couple had five key priorities in choosing their home:

  1. Spiritual Experiences – Religious (interfaith) education and social opportunities
  2. Fitness & wellness focus – Various amenities and events focused on health and disease avoidance
  3. Cultural and educational amenities – Music, art and continuous learning experiences
  4. Friendly community – Building new friendships
  5. Fine dining – Fine dining culinary experiences with a focus on health

“Applewood checked off all the boxes for us,” David explains. “Plus, the Maplewood Signature floor plan was able to accommodate our baby grand piano.” Anita notes the home’s second bedroom, with full bath, suits their needs as an office/TV room.

The couple’s apartment was gutted down to the studs, allowing them to select all of their preferred finishes, including cabinetry, flooring, tile and countertops.

“I like to garden and we were excited about having a first-floor home with a patio and lawn,” David notes. “We’re also very pleased about the quality of the food here and especially enjoy the Culinary Institute of Applewood events.”

The Loerkes moved to their new home in January 2021 and were eligible to receive their first Covid-19 vaccine at Applewood shortly thereafter. When Anita’s personal healthcare provider cleared her to have the vaccine a few months later, she was driven by Applewood transportation to the community’s affiliated healthcare partner, CentraState Medical Center, for her shot.

“Throughout the pandemic, the staff here has truly been exemplary,” the couple note. ”They were highly supportive and reactive to anything we needed. We couldn’t have asked for more.”


“We took a good look at what the community’s Engaged Living™ philosophy encompassed and it truly spoke to the quality of life assets that are meaningful to us,” David says.

Now that the community is coming closer to pre-Covid operations, David and Anita are fully ensconced in daily community activities. Both participate in the weekly Bible Study group and attend the monthly interfaith service. Anita is on the Worship Committee; David plays piano and organ in various musical activities. Both have joined the community chorus.

As they approach their first anniversary living at Applewood, the Loerkes offered their insight about senior living:

“Take the time to do your due diligence when it comes to choosing the community where you will live—sample the food, talk with the residents and the staff, and study the daily activity calendar,” David recommends. “Here, the residents are also very involved in the operational management of the community, but you won’t find that everywhere.”

Monthly, executive director Keith Grady hosts an open meeting for all residents to review the oversight of the community, including fiscal review, community operations, new construction and renovations and receiving feedback from residents about issues important to them.

Anita recommends, first and foremost, don’t wait too long to move. “To reap the full benefits of living in an active community like Applewood, you want to be in the best possible health, so you don’t miss anything!”