“Never Too Late”: Father Finds Support to Reconnect

Joel SharpJoel Sharp (Submitted Image)
Retirement Community Empowers Distant Father to Be Present in His Family Again

WEST CHESTER, PA — Joel Sharp’s journey as a father has taken several turns, and at 65, the Watermark at Bellingham resident is proud to be more present in his children’s lives than ever before.

Rigorous work hours and battles with alcoholism inhibited Sharp from being as involved a father as he would have liked to be. He regrets his absences in his children’s lives and plans to cherish every moment going forward.

“Enjoy every minute you have with your children,” Sharp said. “You just never know what might happen in either of your lives and there is no time to waste.”

Sharp moved to the Watermark at Bellingham last year, where he lived in the personal care community until a broken hip from a fall placed him in the community’s skilled nursing and rehabilitation center. An amputee, Sharp received several months of physical care and rehabilitation there before he moved to the independent living building, where he lives today with his two cats.

Sara Getz, Sharp’s oldest child, attributes her father’s impressive progress to the expert medical guidance and emotional support he is receiving at Bellingham.

“The care teams at every level of the community have been crucial to his physical and mental well-being,” said Getz. “That coupled with his drive to stay healthy for his family has allowed him to thrive.”

Sharp’s story is a poignant example of the personal growth that can occur during the senior years, particularly in a nurturing environment. Growing physically stronger and emotionally more connected to his family and friends, Sharp is looking forward to the road ahead. He is even able to support fellow residents.

“Dad has always been very to himself,” Getz explained. “After making close friends in both the independent and assisted living, he has really found a community there and often finds himself helping others to do the same.”

With a newly optimistic state of mind, Sharp is celebrating one year sober, strengthening himself through physical therapy, and spending precious time with his grandchildren during visits and tee-ball games –experiences he refuses to miss as a grandfather.

“It’s never too late to make the most of your family,” said Sharp. “They are all I ever need on Father’s Day.”

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