Community & Common Ground 

The Bishkos discovered welcome connections at Judson’s South Franklin Circle, where they explored new interests and continued their favorite pastimes. 

The simple, meaningful invitation immediately made Dr. Fred and Ellen Bishko feel at home. Soon after moving to South Franklin Circle, a hospitable resident recognized a faith connection—and asked if Ellen would host the upcoming Hannukah potluck dinner. The Bishkos have been taking turns with other Jewish members who look forward to gathering on special holidays, breaking bread, and sharing traditional dishes and conversation. “The community really bends over backwards to make these dinner meetings a success, as they do for other groups and events members foster,” Dr. Bishko says. “It’s a very welcoming community of a variety of people.”

This diversity resonates with the Bishkos, who spent a lifetime in University Heights, both having grown up on Cleveland’s east side and returning there after Dr. Bishko completed his rheumatology training in New York City, where Ellen was hired as a social worker in the first hospital-based Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program—when the chemical dependency approach was in its infancy. Moving back to their hometown, she continued this career track for the next 50 years while Dr. Bishko practiced, eventually, at University Hospitals and served as a clinical associate professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. 

After decades of growing a network of colleagues, friends, and neighbors, the Bishkos determined it was right to move to a community with a continuum of care. At the same time, they could proactively make decisions and manage the transition in good health. They landed upon South Franklin Circle, a departure from their stomping grounds yet a short drive to the doctors, relationships, and activities they know and appreciate. “We could keep our friends, networking, and proximity to cultural institutions and yet be part of a community,” Dr. Bishko relates. Another big priority: Keeping their large German Shorthaired Pointer, Clancy, happily active with a patio and area to run. From activities like the Men’s Group for Dr. Bishko and art classes for Ellen to appealing dining options, the couple settled into South Franklin Circle life, forging new connections with other engaging members. Ellen says, “When we were shown the two-story townhouse, it felt warm and inviting, and the location is just lovely.”

A Smooth Transition

After living in the same home for 45 years, downsizing—or right-sizing for the coming years—required careful planning. The Bishkos lifted this burden by enlisting a professional who helped strategize what furniture to move, sorting and packing, and assisting the couple in customizing their South Franklin Circle home. The ability to tailor the interior to their liking was a big selling point. “All of this made the move so much easier,” Ellen says. Another point of ease: no maintenance. “Living is easy here because there is about an hour or two per day of tasks that we do not have to do,” Dr. Bishko says. That even includes changing a lightbulb and extends to groundskeeping, 24-hour security, and repairs. Plus, amenities include a dog park, community garden, walking trails, salon services, an indoor heated pool and sauna, and a robust Health and Wellness Center. 

The roomy townhome appealed to the Bishkos, as did the accommodating purchasing flexibility, Dr. Bishko says. For instance, they could first sell their family home with timing leeway for investing in their South Franklin Circle residence. And should they require more care down the road with a transition to assisted living, Dr. Bishko appreciates knowing that three-quarters of their investment in the original dwelling can be applied toward the next stage, which he found is not typical among continuing care communities.

Active, by Choice 

Since moving to South Franklin Circle, the Biskhos have continued their favorite pastimes, like visiting the city’s cultural institutions while exploring new interests. Ellen started taking art classes for the first time and exercise classes at the Health and Wellness Center, an ideal distance from their townhome. “It’s close enough to walk but far enough away that I get some exercise on my way there,” she quips.

Dr. Biskho attends the Men’s Group discussions. “We can talk about pretty much any topic and share our perspectives,” he says. Dining at South Franklin Circle is an activity in its own right, with the Radius Restaurant, where the couple enjoys dinner two to three times a week. The Bistro offers flexible, casual dining and is a go-to for Ellen after meetings. “The chef and staff all work hard to put out great meals, and they are flexible—there are always choices,” Dr. Bishko adds. Choice is a common thread, from activities and housing customizing to social outlets and community groups. Indeed, the Bishkos have established a proper home among neighbors who share their interests. Just as a welcoming resident found common ground with the Bishkos and introduced the couple to the Jewish potlucks, Ellen now serves on a friendly caller list as assistant chair of the building committee and neighborhood welcoming committee. 

Ellen says, “There is so much to offer here—and our move has been so positive.” 

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