West Chester retirement community allows father to return to an active role in his family – Daily Local

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

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

“Enjoy every minute you spend with your kids,” Sharp said. “You never know what might happen in either of your lives and there’s no time to waste.”

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

Sara Getz, Sharp’s eldest child, credits her father’s impressive progress to the expert medical advice and emotional support he receives at Bellingham.

“Care teams at all levels of the community have been crucial to his physical and mental well-being,” Getz said. “That, coupled with her desire to stay healthy for her family, has allowed her to thrive.”

Sharp’s story is a poignant example of the personal growth that can happen over the past few years, especially in a nurturing environment. Becoming physically stronger and emotionally more connected to family and friends, Sharp looks forward to the road ahead. He is even able to support the other residents.

“Dad was always very for himself,” Getz explained. “After making some close friends in independent and assisted living, he’s really found a community there and often finds himself helping others do the same.”

With an optimistic new mindset, Sharp is celebrating a year clean, getting stronger through physical therapy and spending precious time with his grandkids at 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,” Sharp said. “They’re all I need for Father’s Day.”

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