Gwen Barry, Carolyn Schwartz and Linda Norton are just three of the vibrant, active and fascinating people who make Channing House the exceptional Life Care Community it is. Interestingly, this trio were friends before they even moved to Channing House and still play golf together every week. What’s also clear when you chat with these charming women is the depth of their ties to both Channing House and the Palo Alto community they’ve all been a part of for many years.
How They Got To Channing House
Gwen Barry has lived at Channing House for six years. “Why did I choose Channing House?” she muses. “Well, I lived about a mile away for 50 years. I knew that I wanted to come to a Life Care Community, which this is. I had a lot of friends here, and I wanted to be close to downtown Palo Alto, so I could walk there when I was no longer able to drive. Also, I noticed that friends who stayed in their own homes got quite isolated when they became ill. So, I knew that I wanted to move into a community like Channing House for those reasons.”
Carolyn Schwartz, a native of New York, has lived at Channing House for a year now. “I came out to California after college and marriage,” she says, “and I’ve been here ever since.” What inspired Carolyn to move to Channing House was a lesson she’d learned from her mother. “My mother had moved to a community similar to Channing House,” she says, “and it really eased the concerns of her children as she got older, knowing that she was in a safe place. I had always planned to do the same so that my children wouldn’t have to worry. And I liked the idea of being part of a caring community of people that seemed to be interested in many of the same things as I was — politics, good conversation, books, music – and bridge!”
Massachusetts native Linda Norton moved to California in 1959 and has never looked back. Linda has recently moved into Channing House, and it’s apparent she’ll soon feel like a fully integrated member of the community. “Like Carolyn and Gwen,” she says. “I thought it would be a wise move to be in a safe, comfortable, caring place before I really needed it. I looked at the various options around here, of which there are many, and Channing House was at the top of the list by far, not only because of its medical benefits but also because of the friendly, enthusiastic residents whom I had met. I felt welcome even before I moved in.
There’s Always Something To Do
Aside from their shared interest in golf, the three friends have much in common with their fellow Channing House residents. This is especially true when it comes to maintaining an active lifestyle that includes interests within Channing House but also taking advantage of and maintaining their connections to Palo Alto.
Gwen notes that “there are several people here at Channing House who play golf. One of the advantages of living here is that there are many public courses very close by, and with our great California weather, we can play year-round. “But,” she emphasizes, “there are other activities that residents take part in. For instance, there’s a group who plays bocce ball in a nearby park and others who do a lot of biking and hiking.”
Carolyn takes that thought a step further. “When you first move in, you still have your “outside” activities. I’m just now beginning to take advantage of the many opportunities inside Channing House. As a result, I am busier than ever trying to combine my outside life with my inside life.” Gwen agrees by saying, “Even after all these years here, I still have all my outside activities going. As Carolyn said, you move in and there are all these other people you start to connect with. So, you do stay very busy and active.”
Linda adds, “Something that I like about Channing House is there is so much resident involvement – from someone organizing a trip to Half Moon Bay or someone else starting a chorus. It’s not as though Channing House has someone on duty who says, ‘Oh, how can I amuse them today? It’s the residents who organize things.” And, to the point of staying busy and active, Linda mentions the on-site exercise classes, Fitness Center and pool.
All three women agree that between the activities offered at Channing House and what’s available to them just steps from the front door, no one can complain that there’s nothing to do. Although the pandemic put something of a crimp in their ability to travel, Gwen points out that many Channing House residents have been all over the world. Now that conditions are improving, travel among the community residents is picking up again.
But Gwen also points out that you don’t have to travel far to remain active. “One of the nice things about being in downtown Palo Alto is that you can easily walk to a restaurant at night if you decide you don’t want to eat here. And the scene walking up and down University Avenue with all the college students and residents is a lot of fun. Don’t forget the start-up company people.”
All three women loved having nearby parks, coffee houses, markets, and the weekly Downtown Palo Alto Farmers’ Market, where you can buy everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to seafood and meats.
But there’s another place that all three women hold dear — the Palo Alto Baylands Preserve, almost 2000 acres of undisturbed marshland with 15 miles of multi-use trails that provide access to a unique mixture of tidal and freshwater habitats. “The Baylands are only a short drive away,” says Carolyn. “But they’re absolutely gorgeous, so, it’s a wonderful place to go and wander around.”
In talking with this trio, one apparent thing is that life at Channing House doesn’t only include the numerous activities, classes, and groups put together by its residents. It also includes the entire city of Palo Alto and nearby Stanford University. Channing House is proud of its community members. Clearly, Gwen Barry, Carolyn Schwartz and Linda Norton are examples of Channing House residents who enjoy the ample opportunities available to them.
If you’d like to discover more about why Channing House’s location in downtown Palo Alto offers so much to its residents, call 650-529-4871 to schedule your personal tour.