Sort of like the Mr. Rogers TV show used to begin, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood,” life is still pretty good for the senior citizens living in The Neighborhood in Rio Rancho.
At least, so it seems for two of the original residents there, Bob and Nancy Bathaser, who moved in about four years ago, when the facility on Loma Colorado Boulevard, just south of Northern Boulevard, opened.
“We’re gonna be here forever — the rest of our lives,” Nancy told the Observer in an April 2016 feature. “I’m anxious to have people around me.”
Of course, today that means people no closer than 6 feet — and her husband says quite a few of the residents in the 120-unit independent-living section are self-quarantining. They can’t have visitors, Bob said, but they are free to go out and shop — or even play golf, which he’s itching to do soon.
He and his wife were anxiously awaiting seeing their newest grandchild, a boy born to Amy Hinkle — a teacher and assistant boys soccer coach at Cleveland High — on May 3. Hinkle returned home Tuesday, Bob said.
People living in the supportive care units are locked down, Bob said, during these days of COVID-19.
“I think there’s like 112 in independent living,” he said. “We were all tested over here for the virus; one person tested positive. She was in assisted living and had returned home from the hospital — she was re-tested and she’s fine.”
The Bathasers have seen their lives change at The Neighborhood — the frequent interesting guest presentations and movie nights have been discontinued, as is use of the pool and fitness center. Instead of eating in the dining room, residents have their meals delivered to them.
“We can go out; for awhile they didn’t want us to go out and we’d give them a (shopping) list,” he said. “Up until about two weeks ago, I was using the gym here.”
The Neighborhood decided to abide by the governor’s directive to shut down gyms, so his workout days there ended.
“It’s about what I expected,” Bob said, after four years as a resident at The Neighborhood. “I still miss my garage — our cars are out there all the time; we still have our (double-wide) house down there at Elephant Butte.”
And like many people planning to vote in next month’s primary, the couple requested absentee ballots, to avoid any contact at the polls.