Tom and Pat Kealy

couple smiling with glass

After visiting nearly every retirement community in New Jersey, Tom and Pat Kealy received a recommendation to check-out Applewood from an unlikely source. “We were meeting with a salesperson from another New Jersey retirement community to discuss what we were looking for in our next home,” Pat Kealy recalls. “The person leaned forward and said in a low voice, ‘you need to go see Applewood.’’

Pat said she felt like Gimbel’s was recommending that they shop at Macy’s, but they took the salesperson’s advice.

Tom, a retired New York City firefighter, has some health challenges from on-the-job injuries over the years. The Brooklyn natives decided it was time to lighten the load, reduce their footprint and downsize.

“We wanted our next move to be our last move, so it was time to finally purge our 2,000 square foot home at The Fairways at Lake Ridge in Lakewood.”

With the help of an estate sale and home contents disposal service, the couple cleared decades of ‘things’ by a whopping 80 percent.

Pat says they were delighted to be left only with things that were meaningful to them, which would be used to decorate their fully-renovated apartment at Applewood.

“Tom and I have moved many times over the years and my gut tells me when we’ve found our new home,” Pat explains. “When we entered the elegant entrance at Applewood, I knew we had found the place.”

The couple was also impressed when they passed residents chatting after an in-house educational course taught by a professor from Rutgers University.

Ultimately, the Kealys chose the 900 sq/ft Signature Juniper 2/B, 2/BA apartment floor plan. The model they eventually chose also happened to come with an enclosed temperature-controlled patio. The apartment was completely updated, from wall color and lighting to new flooring and countertops.

Pat and Tom moved in just before the holidays and instantly felt welcomed and included by the community. Tom, a graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School, has already met eight other fellow graduates at Applewood.

The couple quickly acclimated themselves and regularly meet their new neighbors for lunch or dinner in the Bistro or formal dining room. They also enjoy stopping by the community’s light-filled Coffee Bar after club meetings and events.

“It was so worth it for us to visit so many retirement communities before we made our choice,” Pat notes. “It made our move less stressful, because we realized during the process that we were anxious to free ourselves of the responsibilities of owning a large home.”