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‘I came here to live’

Limited vision hasn’t slowed this resident’s lifestyle one little bit

Created date

December 24th, 2013
couple at a doctor's office

When her eyesight worsened due to macular degeneration, Betty Zelesnick asked her husband, “Ross, if something happens to you, what will happen to me?” 

Her search for answers led the Zelesnicks to move to Grove, Erickson Living’s community in Delaware County, Pa., from their active adult community in nearby Glen Mills.

Had something happened while they lived in Glen Mills, their community association would have handled Betty’s outdoor maintenance. But she’d have been dependent on others for everything from food to medical appointments. 

And because of jobs and travel distance, the Zelesnicks’ three children couldn’t have helped except in emergencies. 

So the Zelesnicks investigated Maris Grove. What they learned eliminated Betty’s concerns about the future. 

Under one roof

Maris Grove provides maintenance-free, one-level living plus on-site conveniences like a pharmacy, minimarket, fitness center, bank, and restaurants. 

Most important, it offers a full-service, on-site medical center. 

When the Zelesnicks worked the numbers, they found that Maris Grove fit their budget. They moved in that same year, and they changed their doctors to one of the community’s staff physicians. 

At Maris Grove, standard medical appointments last 30 minutes, and the Zelesnicks’ physician, Dr. Cathy Smith, takes a holistic approach to health care. 

She even attends campus events. “Dr. Smith says she knows firsthand how her patients are doing because she sees them all the time,” says Betty.

“She wants to know the personal part of your life, not just the medical part,” adds Ross. 

Maris Grove gives Betty independence. “For a doctor’s appointment or blood work, I just walk downstairs,” she says. Good weather or bad, she needn’t cancel an appointment.

Two of her specialists hold monthly office hours at Maris Grove. And following a back injury, Betty even did her outpatient rehabilitation on campus. 

She’s scheduled same-day appointments when needed, and once when she walked in unscheduled with a red and swollen eye, a nurse practitioner saw her within 15 minutes. 

For Ross, who works part time at Staples, such care brings peace of mind: “If I’m away and Betty has an appointment, she handles it.” 

Should she need a ride, her neighbors volunteer or she can use Maris Grove’s transportation service.

Living life to the fullest

“I came here to live,” says Betty. Does she ever!

She teaches women’s billiards, organizes Maris Grove’s annual holiday fashion show, leads line dancing and chair dancing classes, and choreographs dance routines for the community’s Follies productions. 

When she learns of neighbors with vision issues, she draws them into her circle, helps them adapt, and expands their lives. 

Ross is her secretary and DJ. “We’re a team,” he says.  

But he also has individual commitments: he does the scheduling for campus leagues and tournaments such as bocce, Wii bowling, and billiards. 

And the Zelesnicks both act in Maris Grove’s zany, resident-written-and-produced theater shows. 

They’re each on the community’s flexible dining plan of 20 monthly meal credits (Maris Grove also offers a one-meal-a-day program). It reduces their monthly service package by $120, caters to Betty’s zest for cooking, and lets them unwind over twice-a-week dinner dates in their beautiful Harrison floor plan with bay window.