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‘I’m on vacation all the time’

Maintenance-free living suits this former Horsham resident

Created date

September 12th, 2014
The second bedroom of Elsie Harpf’s apartment home at Ann’s Choice showcases plaques carved by her late husband and a wall hanging fashioned by one of her daughters from hand-embroidered, family-heirloom tablecloths.
The second bedroom of Elsie Harpf’s apartment home

When Elsie Harpf moved from her house of 53 years in Horsham, Pa., to Choice, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Bucks County, a host of friends from decades back welcomed her to her new home. 

Elsie moved to be in control of her future and to stop relying on her children for home ownership chores. But those friends, who now live at Ann’s Choice and who had all attended Olney High School with her late husband, made her decision an easy one.

Choosing her apartment home was simple, too. Elsie’s two-bedroom, one-bath Fallston floor plan suits her perfectly. 

Her fourth-floor location lets her look out on spectacular sunsets that light the evening sky with breathtaking color. 

Her second bedroom, which doubles as her office, provides daughter Debra with comfortable overnight accommodations. Daughter Lisa lives nearby in Warrington, but Debra lives in York.

Elsie’s address in the Village neighborhood on campus also increases her carefree living. Meals at the Fireside Restaurant or Banners Café and trips to the campus aquatics center, state-of-the-art fitness center, or full-service medical center staffed by Ann’s Choice physicians are right downstairs.

When Elsie developed knee problems, her location was a boon, as were the community’s standard amenities of one-level living, a washer and dryer in the apartment, and convenient elevators.

Rehabilitation right on campus

Following knee surgery this April, Elsie reaped the added benefit of doing her rehabilitation on campus. She started with brief, in-patient rehabilitation at Rose Gardens, the on-site rehabilitation and continuing care neighborhood at Ann’s Choice. 

Then she rode the campus shuttle to six weeks of outpatient therapy in the community’s Liberty Commons neighborhood. Now she goes downstairs to water aerobics classes at the aquatics center. And she heads to her favorite on-campus spots outdoors to sit and read. 

While she could contract with housekeeping to do her cleaning, “That’s what’s nice about a not-so-large home,” she says. Because it takes little care, Elsie pursues activities she enjoys. 

“I have a good time here,” she says. Indeed—her daughters claim she’s never home when they call. Elsie attends Ann’s Choice Lifelong Learning Academy classes, belongs to the German club, and takes in the garden club’s Sunday night $1 movies. Oscar contender Philomena, starring Judi Dench, was so popular, the club screened it twice.

Elsie volunteers at the Treasure Chest, the campus resale shop that benefits the community’s resident care fund and the scholarship fund for its student servers. 

She also volunteers at her church in Horsham and takes day trips with the Ann’s Choice travel club to venues like Winterthur’s Downton Abbey exhibit and sightseeing tours of some of Philadelphia’s 3,000-plus murals. 

What she doesn’t do is cook (even though she often prepped for her European-trained father, the chef for 30 years at Germantown Cricket Club).

She enjoys her chef-prepared meals now at Fireside. And because she gets together with friends for meals at off-campus restaurants, she chose the 20-meal-per-month option for flexibility included in her monthly service package.

It’s a sweet life. “I feel like I’m on vacation all the time,” Elsie says.