My Journey to Otterbein: Kathlene and Richard L.

Posted on: August 28, 2023

When Otterbein St. Marys residents Kathlene and Richard L. originally retired in North Carolina, they chose it for the proximity to both the ocean and grandchildren. 

But one thing missing in the Tar Heel State was access to continuing care retirement communities: “So many of them were the 50-plus type of facilities, which appealed to people very active in their lifestyle, but they just didn’t have the levels of care all in one place,” said Kathlene. 

Read more of Kathlene and Richard’s story below. 

Returning Home to Ohio

Kathlene is originally from the Piqua, Ohio, area, and Richard is from Indiana. After living in various places across the country, Kathlene said returning to Ohio “felt like coming home. And I’m lucky to have a spouse who was willing to come back to my home with me.” 

At various times, Kathlene’s grandmother and both parents have called Otterbein home, so the couple was familiar with the community. 

“It’s convenient – it’s easy to get around and go to various places, and the town is a nice size,” said Richard. “And we love being right on the lake.” 

“We found that a three-bedroom ranch at Otterbein really fits our lifestyle right now,” Kathlene added. “It’s just been a good move for us.”

Lots to Do at Otterbein

While some activities are on hold right now during the pandemic, Richard mentioned numerous ways he usually enjoys staying active at the community. 

“I meet the guys up at the campus center for coffee in the mornings. And I help out at Grandma’s Attic [a consignment shop on campus], and the shuttle, and I’m a pontoon boat driver too,” he said. 

Kathlene has gotten involved, too, primarily as one of the pianists for on-campus church services

“That has really provided some meaning to my life, such that I’ve gone on now to study to be a lay leader in my church,” she said. “I think the atmosphere here really has led me to believe that that’s something I could do at this age.”

Life at Otterbein During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Although some activities have changed during the pandemic, Richard and Kathlene said life at Otterbein has continued fairly smoothly for them during this time.

“They’ve been really good about letting us know when things are going on,” said Kathlene. 

Richard added, “We’re still able to go out to the grocery store, see people out walking. We have two dogs, so I get out and walk them every morning. And a lot of times I see others and am still able to stop and visit and keep in touch with what’s going on.”

That highlights one of the key reasons Kathlene and Richard enjoy their time at Otterbein so much: The potential for social interaction. 

“I’m a sociologist, so I know that to build those social connections that are so important when we age, that’s vital for keeping our bodies and brains healthy,” said Kathlene. 

The couple’s advice to others thinking about making the move? Move while you’re still healthy and can enjoy all of the opportunities available on campus. 

“If people come here when they’re a little bit younger, in better health, they can get a lot of joy out of it,” said Richard.

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