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Bill and Chris Finch have been independent living residents at Sun Valley Lodge ( for about six months. Following World War II the Finches opened a bicycle, toy, and game store in Shelby, Illinois that they operated for 37 years. They retired to Arizona a few years ago for Bill’s health and to be close to their daughter.

I recently had a chance to sit down with them and discuss their decision to seek a retirement community and some of the things they were looking for in a retirement community home. Among elements of particular importance to Chris and Bill were safety, transportation, and an overall friendly feeling from the staff and other residents.

“We visited lots of places,” said Chris, “but everyone is just so friendly here. You can’t walk through the place without seeing a friendly face.”

Bill agreed adding, “The staff is so helpful and everyone goes out of their way to take care of us. We were looking for a comfortably sized place and so many of the facilities we visited felt like giant hotels.” Sun Valley Lodge is a one story facility with spacious dining rooms, a library, recreation rooms, and a beautiful rose garden.”

Because of vision issues, neither Chris nor Bill drives anymore, so transportation was of some concern. Sun Valley Lodge provides transportation throughout the week in the form of a van and driver available to drive residents to their shopping and recreation destinations. “Carl (the SVL driver) takes us everywhere,” added Bill with a chuckle.

And, Sun Valley Lodge has a wide array of activities within the community. “I just found out we have exercise classes available six days a week,” said Bill. “We also love the chapel with its beautiful stained glass,” added Chris. “It is just so convenient.”

Marcia Gunnell, Resident Services Director at Sun Valley Lodge, sums up the key points in finding the right independent living retirement community: “Residents need to feel comfortable in their retirement community. They need to feel safe and yet have access to the larger community. And they need to feel like the residence is their home and not just a place they are staying for a short time.”

Sun Valley Lodge has proven to be the right decision for Bill and Chris.

  • 12415 N. 103rd Ave.
  • Sun City, Arizona
  • (623) 933-0137

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