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Reaching out, gathering in

Friendship is contagious at Maris Grove

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November 6th, 2015
Every evening in her home at Maris Grove, Ruth babiy unwinds by playing the piano
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A few months after she moved to Maris Grove from Sarasota, Fla., Ruth Babiy began building her future. 

She’d moved to Erickson Living’s retirement community in Delaware County, Pa., to be closer to her three children, one in Devon, Pa., one in Cohasset, Ma., and one in Suffolk, Va. But she didn’t intend to live her life through them.

“I have to make my own life,” Ruth says. “I’m here to know more people and make friends.” 

Opening doors of friendship

She’s a veteran at reaching out. That’s what she did decades ago when her husband was posted to French-speaking Geneva, Switzerland, with DuPont. The family spent what Ruth calls her “five Cinderella years” there.

Her efforts to learn the language and adapt to the culture opened doors of friendship with her neighbors.

Now, although she has a lovely apartment home at Maris Grove spacious enough to hold her piano and featuring light-filled rooms that provide cheerful studios for her needlecrafts, Ruth doesn’t isolate herself there. 

In fact, during her first December at Maris Grove, she spontaneously invited her hallway neighbors to a holiday party at her home. “I slipped invitations under all 19 apartment doors,” she says. “None of us really knew one another, but we had a wonderful time.”

Ruth has since become a familiar and friendly face at Maris Grove. 

She gets her hair styled at a campus salon, goes to the campus medical center for doctors’ appointments, plays weekly bridge, and has learned to play billiards. 

She also owns the perfect friend magnet, a little Cavalier King Charles spaniel named Keely. Maris Grove is a pet-friendly community, and Ruth and Keely’s daily walks spark conversations and neighborly camaraderie.  

Maris Grove provides a wealth of opportunities for social interaction such as movie nights; four bustling restaurants; and its postal, fitness, and aquatics centers. New residents can’t help but make friends. 

Weaving support and camaraderie

The roster of 180-plus activities expands those opportunities. Ruth started a special interest group called Social Stitchery. Around 15 women attend each Friday. They don’t take on group projects but gather to chat, work on their own stitchery, or learn needlework. 

They also share their lives and support one another through occasional rough patches. “The support is the best part,” Ruth says. The group echoes the “sit and knit” gatherings she’d attended in Sarasota.

A prolific needle worker, she also quilts and spins her own yarn. Ruth plays her piano every day and knits every evening, often giving away her finished projects.

She’s not the only resident to share her talents. Maris Grove residents delight in doing for one another. Ruth’s upstairs neighbor, for example, enjoys repairing clocks and timepieces for his fellow residents. 

He’s fixed two clocks for her, and the two have become good friends as a result.

Friendship, it seems, is contagious at

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