‘More time now to be what I want to be’

Working in retirement suits this resident just fine

Created date

July 19th, 2018
Raina Sloan seated at the desk she's set up as a home office in a corner of her bedroom at Maris Grove.

Five days a week, Raina Sloan works at an office in Chadd’s Ford, Pa. She’s also set up a home office in a corner of her bedroom at Maris Grove.

Raina Sloan, a community member at Maris Grove, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Delaware County, Pa., doesn’t like the word “retired.”

“I look at those years as a new phase of life, a new beginning,” Raina says.

Her “new phase of life” includes employment, and she’s far from alone. According to PEW Research Center, nearly one in five Americans over 65 continue to work every day.

She got her first job at age 16 and has worked ever since, spending 50 years in the corporate world. She’s also an ordained interfaith minister and author and pursued entrepreneurial endeavors.

Free to choose

Since 2016, Raina has done marketing work for Nichem Company, an activated charcoal manufacturer based in Newark, N.J. She also models and does recruiting for Mainline Models & Talent Company in Glen Mills, Pa.

Monday through Friday she works at Nichem’s remote office in Chadd’s Ford. She also has a small office in her one-bedroom Brighton-style apartment home at Maris Grove.

As she researched senior living communities, “Maris Grove called to me,” says Raina. “I liked its philosophy. It doesn’t only focus on making you comfortable and providing amenities for you, but it’s more enlightened about bringing your life to a greater wholeness. I liked the idea of a community of people wanting to improve their lives in their later years.”

Also, Maris Grove’s on-site continuing care neighborhood would spare her three daughters from caring for her should she ever need more assistance. Raina cared for her parents collectively for 24 years.

‘Fulfilled in a grander way’

When she moved last year from her house of 25 years in Bluebell, Pa., Raina was recruited to continue working in the business world.

“As you reach a certain age,” she says, “you have more freedom to make choices. You aren’t challenged by other responsibilities. That means I have more time now to be what I want to be. I call it being fulfilled in a grander way.”

Maris Grove enables that fulfillment by offering residents freedom to be themselves: they live the way they want and engage within the community as they choose.

“I cannot imagine being engaged in anything less than where life leads me,” Raina says. “I follow my inner promptings.”

A born entrepreneur

Her promptings have led to entrepreneurial pursuits that focus on energy healing to enrich seniors’ lives.

For example, she’s working on a series of programs for MGTV, Maris Grove’s on-site television station. The programs will spotlight modalities to help community members live more fully and authentically as they mature.

Reiki, a healing technique that channels energy through touch, and meditation, are two such modalities; Raina practices them every day.

“These [sorts of ] things will only enhance what Erickson Living already believes in,” she says.

Energy healing has long played an important role in Raina’s holistic and natural lifestyle. That lifestyle has enabled her to overcome some of the medical conditions she’s been challenged with.

So while she enjoys dining with her Maris Grove neighbors after work, she often prepares her own meals at home. Her contemporary kitchen is especially convenient providing both a pantry and generous counterspace.

Raina also uses the community’s fee-based housekeeping service provided by the full-time housekeeping staff. “Because I’m working, it wouldn’t make sense not to,” she says. “By living at Maris Grove, I am having my everyday and long-term needs met effortlessly.”

She’s also nurtured many campus friendships. “They continue to grow,” she says. “Now that is a beautiful thing.”