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Smart move

Wilmington couple considers socialization in retirement decision

Created date

April 12th, 2016
Phil and Joan Spiegelman

Phil and Joan Spiegelman in the entry to their spacious and light-filled Washington-style apartment home.

Shedding home maintenance and planning for the future inspired retired DuPont engineer Phil Spiegelman and his wife Joan to move to Maris Grove, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Delaware County, Pa.

For one thing, Joan didn’t want Phil going up on the roof of their three-story Victorian house in Wilmington, Del., anymore. He’d routinely handled the raking, shoveling, and home maintenance chores.

For another, although Joan was strongly connected to friends and volunteer commitments in Wilmington, “I could see the day when I’d no longer drive,” she says. “Then I’ll have lots of things to do at Maris Grove with the political, current events, and book clubs.” 

Maris Grove was also conveniently located. It’s close to Philadelphia’s concert and chamber music performances. And there’s a shopping mall just across the street. 

Making connections

Joan was initially unsure about living at a community of 1,400 people. “But I’ve found loads of connections, so it’s lots of fun here,” she says. 

In fact, friends from 50 years ago are among her Maris Grove neighbors. 

A professional volunteer for much of her life, Joan’s interests center on education. A former music and piano teacher, she also worked for Delaware State’s Division of the Arts. 

She’s involved now with the Jewish Federation of Delaware’s Halina Wind Preston Holocaust Education Committee. Equally passionate about the Delaware Chamber Music Festival, Joan serves on its board.

Phil hadn’t been involved in Wilmington, but he is at Maris Grove. He belongs to the DuPont Retirees Club, serves on the scholarship committee for Maris Grove’s student servers, and plays golf and tennis. Once a week, he plays duplicate bridge. 

But he’s not obliged to do anything, which is what he likes most about Maris Grove.  “I’m just happy here,” Phil says. “You do what you want and nobody bothers you.” 

Joan and Phil also travel. Last November, when the couple visited family in California, they signed out at the front desk and left Maris Grove without a worry because its security team is on duty 24/7.

Joan says it took two days to close down their house in Wilmington when they traveled.

She misses that house but is enamored with their new home, a spacious Washington floor plan. The deluxe two-bedroom, two-bath corner home features a sunroom and two bay windows, making it as bright as their window-rich Victorian. 

The Spiegelmans downsized in just three months. It was a good timeframe, says Phil. It kept them from dragging things out.

“When you decide to move,” adds Joan, “you just do it. Remember, everyone who lives at Maris Grove has gone through the downsizing process and survived.”