Where I Live: Blue Skies of Texas – The Rivard Report – March 22, 2020
Roger and Carol Hansen walk alongside their home in the Blue Skies of Texas retirement community. Credit: Stephanie Marquez for the Rivard Report
We began our journey to Blue Skies of Texas West many years ago, after a 30-year career in the United States Air Force and 20 years of living in Fredericksburg as retirees. Blue Skies of Texas West, formerly Air Force Village II, was prominent in our minds, as my wife’s parents lived here beginning in late 1988.
The decision to move to this life planning community was made without much trepidation. Blue Skies is home to people from all over the United States, both military and civilian families. The atmosphere is an active one where people can be as involved as they desire. From water aerobics in the indoor pool, pickleball, tennis courts, golf driving range, and hobby shops to evening bridge and monthly birthday and anniversary celebrations, there is enough to fill anyone’s calendar.
The indoor pool, where water aerobics classes are offered for members of the Blue Skies of Texas retirement community. Credit: Stephanie Marquez for the Rivard Report
Music, concerts and resident-supported activities are abundant, and when you add to that bus trips to downtown San Antonio or around central Texas, a person may ask for some moments of peace and quiet. The social activities certainly keep us busy and provide something to look forward to each day.
In light of the recent pandemic, Blue Skies has made every effort to keep us safe from harm. All staff are temperature checked daily and asked to stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms of the virus. Dining services are to-go only, all events are canceled for the time being, and residents who have recently traveled are quarantined. We rest assured in knowing our senior health care staff is constantly monitoring the situation for changes, and, since everything we need is here on campus, all we have to worry about is washing our hands and keeping safe distances from our neighbors and friends.
Another contributing factor in our decision to live at Blue Skies was the location of our adult children. Our oldest is our daughter, and she and her husband have moved several times in her marriage, from Seattle to McKinney, Texas and now to Denver, North Carolina. Her family includes our two eldest granddaughters. Our son and his wife live in Alamo Heights in San Antonio, but they too have moved all over, from Washington, D.C., to Naples, Italy, to Arlington, Virginia and now here to Alamo Heights. They have our two youngest grandchildren: twins, a grandson and granddaughter.
We know they both will continue their careers wherever they are sent, so it was our choice to find a place among friends. We have cultivated many new friendships here, but friendships have also been renewed, especially with friends who were at the same bases where we were stationed through that 30-year career.
Blue Skies supports all phases of senior care from independent living to assisted living to memory care with onsite facilities. As supporters of The Charitable Foundation since 2006, we are proud of what has been accomplished for the people who live at Blue Skies, both at the Alzheimer’s Care and Research Center (better known as Freedom House) and through the Blue Skies Charitable Fund, which supports the mission to take care of any residents who outlive their resources, through no fault of their own.
The variety in residencies, from single-family homes around cul-de-sac to duplexes to apartments in the high-rise towers, offers any family many comfortable choices in this gated community. We live in an Oaks cottage, which serves us very well. Our house has two bedrooms, two baths, a full kitchen, and an area adjacent to the master bedroom for an open office. On the back of the house is a deck that faces to the east, so it is nice in the warm summer months for socializing or barbecuing. We have plenty of happy hours prior to going to dinner with other couples. Dining services are available for all three meals and, with a diverse menu, you can always find something that will fill your appetite.
Roger and Carol Hansen drive their cart in the Blue Skies of Texas community. Credit: Stephanie Marquez for the Rivard Report
A golf cart allows us to go all over the campus roads to meet with people, go to dinner, or run errands at the Towers, which includes a front desk with concierge services that is open 24/7. There is a small convenience store for such items as milk or ice cream that you may need. We can also mail letters and smaller packages at that same front desk.
Driving through the campus you will find a one-mile inner perimeter road with sidewalks where people enjoy walking, taking in the view toward San Antonio and soaking in the fine weather of central Texas. If you don’t want to walk the perimeter sidewalk, there are ample walking paths throughout the tree-filled campus. Numerous ponds provide outstanding moments where you can sit and enjoy watching the waterfowl. Additionally, the ponds are stocked with various species of fish that can be caught under a catch and release policy. With some 550 acres of property, of which only 250 is developed, there’s plenty to explore.
Monthly fees cover everything from housekeeping and landscaping services to home maintenance issues. We certainly don’t miss cutting the lawn in the middle of August! Having these services lets us celebrate our senior years and gives us time to enjoy hobbies and travel. Living at Blue Skies allows us to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle among friends, and we’re grateful for that.
Roger Hansen was born in Rochester, New York and moved all over as an Air Force brat. He served as a pilot in the Air Force and after retiring served as the airport manager of the Gillespie County airport.
Carol Hansen was born in San Antonio and moved all over as an Air Force brat. She graduated from Southwest Texas University and married Roger in 1968. She worked as a school teacher and later as a salesperson