FAIRFIELD – Forty-two years of living in the Carmel Valley meant a move to Paradise Valley Estates seemed a trip to new territory – with all the unknowns that can involve.
But Dave Allard, 77, said that despite the fact that he and wife Barbara knew only one other couple at Paradise Valley Estates when they came here three years ago, their decision was a great one.
“This is home,” Allard said.
Success of the retirement development depends on a trio of reasons, he said.
“It’s the people. It’s the size. It’s the transparency,” said the retired manager of a financial firm who served nine years in the U.S. Navy.
The nearly 500 residents and staff at the 70-acre site make you feel welcome, he said, and people speak about why they decided to make Paradise Valley Estates their home. For those trying to determine whether the Fairfield development is the right place for them, the advice is to check out other retirement sites.
“We tell people to go to as many of these places as you can,” Allard said. “This is a major decision.”
Paradise Valley Estate’s benefits are only more evident when compared with other developments, he said.
Jane Walker, director of sales and marketing at Paradise Valley Estates, said the not-for-profit status allows the development to reinvest in the community. Events such as a dance in May that brought students from the Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Fairfield High School to Paradise Valley Estates are another reason for the site’s success, she said.
Linda McCrory’s therapy dogs are low profile – Abby and Libby are Chihuahuas – but also provide part of the Paradise Valley Estates story.
The breed, that some might see as small dogs with a big bark, may not be everybody’s idea of a therapy animal, she acknowledged, but the two dogs are welcome at the health center.
“Mine are very quiet,” McCrory said of the Chihuahuas. “They’re very popular.”
“These two walk in,” she said, and “they bring big smiles.”
Resident Ruby Hardy said the range of health care provided at Paradise Valley Estates is part of its lure.
“If I’m ill, I know there a place for me here,” she said.
Surgery may mean two to three weeks with skilled nursing care at the Fairfield development – and then a return home, Hardy said.
Safety and fine food are among other attractions, she said. “People feel secure here,” she said.
Dining at Paradise Valley is a pleasure, Hardy said.
“We joke around that it’s the only five-star restaurant in Fairfield,” she said.
For Allard, the city itself was once a surprise. He recalled often driving along Interstate 80 to Sacramento without knowing where Fairfield was before moving here.
Medford, Ore., was among sites he and his wife considered moving to before they selected Paradise Valley Estates. The couple spent two days in the town and discovered how little happens in Medford – and that Oregon has a serious winter.
Fairfield has a mild climate, attractions including the Missouri Street Theatre and, at Paradise Valley Estates, the Army-Navy game on TV, Allard said.
“People will choose up sides,” he said, “to have a good time.”
His near-decade in the Navy means Allard already has a side.
Paradise Valley Estates, once only for retired military, opened to all residents about 18 months ago. Allard said the U.S. Air Force still has a strong presence because of Travis Air Force Base but the number of Navy veterans is rising.
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