Rita Steingold and her husband were living in Oceanside, New York before moving to East Ridge at Cutler Bay.
She had fallen in love with the community at first sight and it offered an opportunity to be closer to her son.
“There weren’t elevators or stairs and I felt so blessed to be in a country atmosphere,” said the petite, perky Rita.
Her husband consented to move but passed away after living only three months at the community.
Rita has embraced East Ridge’s lifestyle and feels it satisfies her needs.
“I can enjoy the art therapy class, discussion groups and ceramics. If I want to socialize I can go to dinner with several groups of different people. I also can find quiet time to do research for my writing and read,” she said.
When she needs additional library resources, the Pine Crest library is convenient to East Ridge.
“I could be anyplace in the world but am not missing anything living at East Ridge,” she said.
Rita is a former school teacher who taught blind and visually impaired children for 25 years as well as Braille workshops. She has authored children books for many years. Her book, “Taking Visual Impairment to School” was published in 2004. It tells the story of Lisa, who is visually impaired, and explains how she finds her way around school, knows where her clothes are in her closet, and even plays baseball. Other books include “The Story of Pepper Parrot”, “Katie the Purple Kangaroo” and “Stories about Cats and Dogs”.
The former Bronx-born New Yorker was living in Manhattan on September 11, 2001.
“Here was my city being destroyed,” she said.
The tragedy inspired her to write a book and gear it to eight and nine year old readers.
“The words simply poured out of me. The book wrote itself and is about the adventures of a boy living in California and his quest to go to ground zero,” she explained.
She is seeking an agent to publish this latest book.
Rita starts her day at East Ridge turning on the community’s TV channel to find out what is being offered and what is going on in the world. She spends two hours either in the morning or afternoon researching and writing and the day seems to fall into place depending on what is offered. She may meet friends off campus.
The community’s organized outings have offered great learning experiences for her.
“I’ve learned so much about Miami and have enjoyed discovering places such as Biscayne National Park where we recently went,” she said.
A top priority is the exercising and she takes advantage of Susana Delgado’s 45 minute “Stretch and Flex” class on Tuesday and Fridays.
From her own experiences Rita offers some excellent tips for retirement living:
- It’s important to get over the notion that a community is a nursing home. Living at East Ridge is an extension of your life when you aren’t comfortable living in your own home. It has lifted a real load off my shoulders and I don’t have to take care of all the things I had to do in a house.
- You can fill your time with what you enjoy doing not shopping, cooking or cleaning.
- Appreciate the staff. These are wonderful people who take care of all the headaches. They are quick to respond to a request from fixing the toilet to changing a lightbulb.
- You can do what you want to do without relying on your children. There is peace of mind for children when their parents live at East Ridge.
- Come with something you enjoying doing. You’ll make friends more quickly. If you enjoy reading, there are reading groups; crafts, gardening and volunteering. You can quickly make friends.
Rita believes this is the best move she could have made. A lover of life, she seems to enrich the lives of others she meets.