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The great home swap

Aston woman exchanges living alone for being active, living among friends

Created date

January 31st, 2014
The great home swap
The great home swap

Thelma Nicholson kept up with her children and grandchildren’s activities, but was beginning to realize she was spending too much time alone, especially in the winter. She lived in a house in Aston, Pa., that she loved. But she didn’t love living there alone.

Then she saw a commercial for Grove, EricksonLiving’s community in Delaware County, Pa., which planted the idea of moving there.

‘Perfect home with the perfect view’

“I’m not a cold-weather person,” she says. “Unless I had a reason to go out, I stayed in.” And she watched TV.

So Thelma broached her thoughts with her children, and all four of them plus three of the spouses accompanied her to Maris Grove for a tour.

“Everyone loved it,” she says. “I joined the priority list that very day.”

Joining the list saved Thelma’s place in line for the apartment style of her choice based on the date she joined. It also gave her access to the complimentary services of Suzanne McAllister, the community’s personal moving consultant.

Thelma reserved an extra-large, one-bedroom, one-bathroom Dover floor plan with a super-spacious great room and a balcony with a view into woods. “It’s the perfect home with the perfect view,” she says.

The Dover’s size makes it a breeze to clean, but it’s spacious enough to accommodate large family gatherings. 

Thelma’s daughters, one of whom bought her house, both live in Aston. One son lives in Middletown, Del., and the other in Wilmington. 

When everyone, including the ten grandkids, came to visit Thelma last summer, “We were playing games, eating, and spreading in and out of the bedroom, the great room, and the balcony,” Thelma says. 

During other visits, they’ve played billiards or Ping-Pong in a campus clubhouse. 

When the grandkids were younger, Thelma juggled campus commitments with chauffeuring the kids to their after-school activities. Now she sings in the fellowship choir and does early morning fitness walking.

Maris Grove suits a working lifestyle

Besides 180 groups and activities, Maris Grove boasts on-site amenities like a convenience store, bank, theater, pharmacy, and full-service medical center. 

“I love that in the clubhouses it’s like it was in neighborhoods years ago,” says Thelma. “You knew your neighbors and everyone spoke. Maris Grove is like family. And everything you can think of is here. The only thing missing is a clothing store.”

Well, not exactly 

In 2012, Thelma started working part-time at women’s fashion retailer Coldwater Creek, located just across Rte. 1. Maris Grove suits her working lifestyle. 

For example, Thelma loves to cook, so she’s on the community’s flexible 20-meal monthly dining plan. But she needn’t cook on workdays. She can enjoy dinner with her neighbors at any of three different campus restaurants.

And when she comes home after dark, she knows she’s safe. Maris Grove’s security team is on the job 24/7.