Meet Our Residents: The Shanes

October 15, 2020

Meet Our Residents: The Shanes

If you’re looking for cheerleaders for Royal Oaks, look no further than John and Karen Shane.

“John and Karen are a wonderful part of our community, and we’re so thrilled that they chose Royal Oaks as their forever home,” says Mary Ellen Thieroff, Marketing Director of Royal Oaks, an established Life Plan Community in Sun City, AZ. “Their sense of adventure, their energy and their zest for life fit perfectly with our vibrant lifestyle.”

John and Karen may have spent more time away from Royal Oaks than they have living there since they became residents in 2011. After their early retirement, their mission was to explore the world, but they realized they needed and wanted a home base. Karen always says, “It’s the lifestyle here we cherish.” Karen, a writer by trade, and John realized Royal Oaks was the perfect complement to their rolling stone lifestyle.

From their marriage on the plains of Nebraska 60 years ago at age 18, John and Karen led a nomadic lifestyle filled with enriching experiences (such as camping on a glacier in Alaska while keeping an eye out for polar bears). After they retired in 1994 from Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, they decided to turn their passion for adventure into a treasured lifestyle.

“We always knew that our home was wherever we were together,” says Karen. “It was in retirement that we began our ‘on the road’ odyssey that we were privileged to live for two decades.”

Karen and John say that no experience was more challenging and rewarding than the 42-foot trawler they purchased to chart their lifestyle journey. After motoring up and down the Intracoastal Waterway for a year, they purchased a 34-foot Airstream travel trailer and traveled from Nova Scotia to the Yucatán with the seasons (always moving in tandem with the 80-degree temperature belt). They explored South Africa for six weeks in a 20-foot camper van, and in the spring of 1999, they relocated to England to live on a 57-foot narrowboat. Two years later, they returned across the pond and picked up their adventures in their Foretravel motorcoach.

The idea of senior living didn’t enter the picture until they met another adventurous couple, also traveling the world in retirement. Over dinner, the couple asked John and Karen what they planned to do in the future if they became incapacitated.

“We always just assumed we would take care of one another,” says Karen. “The issue was something we refused to confront head-on.”

Fifteen years later, John, Karen and the couple decided to check out CCRCs in the greater Phoenix area, where all four wintered each year. Royal Oaks was on their list from the beginning because of their unchallenged reputation – and it was their final selection when they had completed marking off our checklist.

“We all reasoned that financial soundness had to be the single top priority,” says Karen. “When we checked into Royal Oaks we found that even if our health or financial status changes down the road, they will still be here for us.”

Secondary to solid financial credentials, our evaluation included, of course, health care, a proven management team, dining and social venues, classes and lectures.

John and Karen chose a small apartment home and promptly filled it with everything from a Julia Child-type pegboard for Karen’s gourmet cooking to countless boxes of books from 20 years in storage. They made up the bed, ensured everything was perfect, and then closed the door. “We were making our apartment ready for an emergency landing if needed,” says Karen. “Our plan was to hit the road and be back at Royal Oaks in 10 years.”

Fate had other plans. Less than two years later, John developed aggressive prostate cancer, and that bed at Royal Oaks was waiting for them. The all-inclusive, maintenance-free lifestyle helped make John’s treatments and recovery that much easier – and it was wonderful for them to have an instant community of caring, like-minded people.

Fewer than five months later, John and Karen back on the road, continuing their adventures … while having the peace of mind that Royal Oaks is always waiting for them.

“We continue to be confident in our decision of Royal Oaks,” says Karen. “The residents’ refrain ‘Aren’t we lucky to be here?’ is genuine. It’s the lifestyle!”

A vibrant oasis in the heart of Arizona.

If you love the idea of living in a community that sees the world a little differently – welcome home to Royal Oaks. Come discover the extraordinary when you reach beyond the familiar. You’ll have the time of your life in our Life Plan Community exploring the almost endless possibilities.

Conveniently located near Phoenix in Sun City, Arizona, our upscale senior living community is an oasis of 50+ lush acres featuring a myriad of plants, trees and rose gardens. We are a nonprofit community that offers a full continuum of senior living services and care to older adults, from independent living residences, assisted living, memory support, and complete supportive living. Continual improvements to the campus have resulted in state-of-the-art communal and private areas. Our main building bustles like Grand Central Station, complete with all the amenities of a small city.

With state-of-the-art technology, beautiful residences and engaging programs and amenities, Royal Oaks was designed with a focus on the future and all its potential. We invite you to visit our vibrant retirement community near Phoenix and get a taste for the good life. Call 623-377-7663 today to schedule a personal tour.

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