Residents Stay Young and Healthy by Staying Engaged
Walk into the lobby of any clubhouse at Maris Grove, an Erickson Living developed and managed senior living retirement community in Glen Mills, PA, and you'll feel the energy. The residents are constantly on the go, engaging with friends, learning in classes and lectures, exercising in the gym or pool, playing games, participating in clubs, enjoying live performances, taking field trips…the roster of activities is packed all day, every day. There is something for everyone, even those who prefer just to relax and enjoy the engaging atmosphere on campus.
Besides being fun, this regular engagement with others around shared interests delivers important benefits: It enhances residents' emotional well-being and cognitive function, and may even help stave off certain age-related illnesses.
Studies Prove the Point
The National Institute on Aging cites research that shows "a strong correlation between social interaction and health and well-being among older adults."
That's why so many seniors are opting to live in communities like Maris Grove, where they can stay active and connected. All the amenities – gym, pool, theater, restaurants, game rooms, art studio, TV studio, and clubs – are under one roof, so it's easy to engage with peers. Outings to cultural events are always on the schedule. With so much to do on and off campus, residents can pursue long-time hobbies and discover exciting new interests.
Director of Resident Life Todd Sullivan says, "We often joke that Maris Grove is like a cruise ship on land. There's something for everyone, with plenty of opportunities to try new things."
"Even if you're not a "joiner," you'll see friendly faces and hear "hellos" everywhere on campus," he adds. "It's easy to make friends and impossible to feel lonely here," he notes.
The Downside of Aging in Place
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 11 million seniors live alone, usually in their family home. Many view "aging in place" as a badge of independence, but living alone can be isolating.
Then, there's the time and expense of home maintenance. Unfortunately, houses age right along with their occupants; deferring maintenance can erode a home's value and your nest egg.
Maris Grove's Sales Director Liz Harrington notes, "We understand that leaving your home is emotional, but once people are living an active, maintenance-free life here, they don't miss it. We constantly hear, 'I wish I had moved sooner,' even from those who thought they weren't ready. When they see how much fun they're having and how good they feel, they don't look back."
She adds, "I encourage prospective residents to explore their options and be open to the wonderful lifestyle we offer. Having a sense of community and purpose makes such a difference. This truly can be the best time of your life."
Getting Much and Giving Back
The decision to move to Maris Grove was easy for Barbara Miller. Her brother and a good friend already lived there, and she frequently visited her aunt and uncle at Brooksby Village, an Erickson Living developed and managed senior living community in Peabody, MA.
Still, it took her 10 years after her husband passed away to commit. "I'm not sure what I was waiting for," she says with a laugh. "I came in October 2018 and love everything about it, especially the people. Maris Grove made sure that the newcomers had plenty of parties and mixers, and everyone was so warm and friendly. In just one year I have made so many new, close friends."
Barbara spent decades in a large colonial home and admits that she never imagined living in an apartment. Now, she can't imagine living anywhere else. "I never knew how wonderful it could be to walk out your door and see neighbors in the hall. We've all become so close. My apartment is beautiful and spacious," she adds. "I always had a porch swing at home, so I'm thrilled to have a swing on my screened-in patio. I have my own little garden, and there's something to do every minute of the day."
Barbara has always been active but believes that she's in the best shape of her life, thanks to regular exercise classes. Chair yoga, swimming, and ping pong are her favorites. She has taken billiard lessons and is active in the current affairs club. She loves the delicious meals, the variety of restaurants, and the movies, which she attends a few times a week.
"The range of activities is incredible, and you can meet so many wonderful people who share your interests," she says. "If you're bored here, you'll be bored anywhere."
Barbara's pursuits aren't confined to campus. She organized a small group that regularly attends the theater in Philadelphia. The best part? They don't have to drive. "We take a Lyft back and forth, grab lunch, enjoy the performance. It's so easy," she says.
Grateful for her new life and eager to give back, Barbara and her friend, Bette Baylay, are working with Maris Grove to start a "reading buddy" program, in which residents tutor young students. "The staff is helping us set it up, and a number of residents have signed on as tutors," she says. "It enriches our lives to do something good for others, and we can't wait to get started."
That kind of support, she says, is what makes Maris Grove a special place to live. "I'm constantly meeting wonderful, interesting people. The staff is kind, respectful, and truly interested in how we're doing. I feel so relaxed and safe here, and being active and engaged helps us feel good about ourselves and our lives. I'm very blessed to be living at Maris Grove."
For more information on Maris Grove, visit marisgrovecommunity.com.
Maris Grove is a not-for-profit organization, developed and managed by Erickson Living®. The community is governed by its own board of directors affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community.
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About Maris Grove: Maris Grove, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 87-acre campus in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. The not-for-profit community of more than 1,900 residents and 1,000 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Additional information about Maris Grove can be found at MarisGroveCommunity.com.
Photo: Maris Grove resident Barbara Miller enjoys meeting friends for dinner on campus. From left, Carol Ericksen, Bette Baylay, Barbara Miller, Pauline Pastore
Written by Dorrie Anshel