Lifelong Health & Aging

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When Barbara Fanney decided to move to Patriots Colony At Williamsburg 23 years ago, her only hurdle was overcoming the doubts of her husband, Julius or “Skip”.

He didn’t like change. 

“I finally convinced him it was his idea,” she says.

Some time later, she heard her husband explain to a friend, “this is the best decision Barbara ever made me make!”

Julius Fanney died in 2008 in Patriots Colony Healthcare, where he lived for two years. Barbara Fanney has since relocated from the independent living villa they shared to assisted living in the Riverside retirement community. That’s meant downsizing from 1,800 square feet to 500, but she’s able to manage her vertigo better in a smaller residence.

“I’m elated to be where I am,” she says.

Barb touts the efficiency of how every part of Patriots Colony is run, from the medical care to the food to the assistance of the staff, and she knows a thing or two about how to run an operation smoothly. 

Before it was fashionable for women, Barb joined the Marines, and “once you’re a Marine, you’re always a Marine,” she says.

Not surprisingly, she is a planner and a thinker — attributes she partially credits to earning her bachelor’s at the University of Richmond. That’s where she met Skip, a World War II veteran who was her husband of 56 years. When his health declined, she realized she could not handle his care on her own.

“He was a big and tall man, and I knew if he fell, there was no way I could help him,” she says.

Yes, giving up their house of 33 years in Ford’s Colony was difficult. 

“I didn’t want to give up my home; who does?” she says. “But it was the right thing to do at the right time.”

The same holds true for her move to assisted living. 

“It’s plenty of space,” says Barb, thankful for her daughter, Julie, helping move and then decorate her apartment to make it home.

Barb relies on her sense of humor to carry her through life, and she’s got a refreshing take on just about any topic. 

“Some people will be unhappy when they meet Saint Peter,” she says. “There’s no such thing as perfection.”

She offers these thoughts on Patriots Colony:

The food, “I can always find something on the menu that I like.”

The pandemic: “They’ve done an amazing job of protecting us from getting COVID.”

The physical therapy following hip and shoulder surgery: “With my shoulder, I was two months ahead of schedule. I had beautiful care. Just beautiful care.”

There is no cure for the vertigo Barb developed, but she’s grateful for the assistance staff provides. She remains as active as possible and never tires of reading and crossword puzzles.

Her mother taught her life is about learning to do what you have to do. She has no complaints, and would she recommend Patriots Colony?

Without hesitation, Barb responds, “in a minute!”