Enjoying life together

Enjoying life together

Created date

March 30th, 2020
Every month, Devonshire’s resident jazz ensemble plays in the lounge. Here, neighbors are seen sitting at tables, watching their friends perform.

Every month, Devonshire’s resident jazz ensemble plays in the lounge.

According to a recent study by the Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging and Northwestern University, “Those who live in continuing care retirement communities have greater levels of wellness than older adults in home-based settings due to the abundance of social interaction.” 

For community members at Devonshire, the Erickson Living-managed community at PGA National, their premier location within the world-renowned campus provides numerous opportunities for social engagement at a variety of venues, including the Stratford Performing Arts Center, lounge, fitness center, croquet course, pool, and library.

“Our community members are engaged in a variety of meaningful activities, from socializing with their peers, to organizing and participating in clubs and groups, to serving others by volunteering in and outside the community,” says Resident Services Manager Marty Bores.

As a result of these bountiful offerings and a vast social network, many Devonshire community members decide to move to the community in their early retirement years.

“When I first visited Devonshire, it was with the idea that I was looking for a place to live in the distant future,” says Nancy DeSantis. “However, once I was here, I realized that if I stayed in my current home, I’d be missing out on the opportunity to meet new people and enjoy a wide range of activities.”

Friendly atmosphere

For many community members, starting the day off right means heading down to the Verandah restaurant, located in the 65,000-square-foot clubhouse, for weekday breakfasts with friends.

“I believe it is important to put yourself out there,” says Sara Gordon, who moved to Devonshire last October. “I make a point to come down to breakfast in the Verandah restaurant every morning. I sit down at a table and am soon joined by other neighbors. I really enjoy meeting new people.”

The opportunities to meet and socialize with neighbors continues throughout the day, as community members engage in their favorite hobbies. Whether competing in a croquet match on the full-size campus court, joining friends for nine holes on the PGA National courses, or fitting in a workout in the state-of-the-art fitness center, everyone is welcome and encouraged to try something new.

“I began playing croquet shortly after my move to Devonshire,” says Marita Sedlak. “It’s a beautiful course and a great way to meet new people.”

Others enjoy the short trip to PGA National to engage in a little friendly competition. Each Tuesday, members of Devonshire’s ladies golf group play nine holes before enjoying a delicious lunch.

“Playing golf with friends is just one of so many ways we love life at Devonshire,” says Nina Geilich.

Social hub

Making sure community members are up to date on the wide range of activities available keeps Devonshire Resident Services Coordinator Irene Malanga and her staff busy. In addition to publishing a monthly calendar of activities, Malanga plans trips as requested to popular local destinations.

“It is very much a joint effort,” she says. “The door of our office is always open. We encourage all community members to share their ideas. Whether it’s a trip to the nearby Ballpark of the Palm Beaches to see a baseball game or a group trip to the Kravis Center to see a show, we will do the work to make it happen.”

Malanga’s staff also keeps a calendar of ongoing activities at the Stratford Performing Arts Center on campus. In addition to hosting an impressive lineup of renowned entertainers, the Stratford is the gathering spot for numerous activities, such as the annual variety show, large parties, wine dinners, and cabaret shows.

Shirley Diuro enjoyed the recent Napa Valley wine dinner at the Stratford. These popular dinners allow community members to immerse themselves into the wines and cuisine of a particular region and almost always sell out within hours.

“It is a fabulous experience and a wonderful way to enjoy a delicious meal with friends,” Shirley says. “It’s something I never would have done before moving to Devonshire.”

Burning the midnight oil

At Devonshire, the opportunity to socialize with friends continues long after the Florida sun descends. Each night, community members enjoy happy hour at the lounge before heading to dinner at one of the five on-site, world-class restaurants.

“The lounge is the premier gathering spot,” says Nancy. “It is a very social place to meet up with friends. Happy hours are held nightly as well as a variety of musical performances, including the monthly jazz concert. And whether you are part of a couple or single, it is a very welcoming place.”

Once a month, guests fill the lounge to capacity to hear the upbeat musical stylings of the resident jazz ensemble.

“We are having so much fun,” says drummer Allen Dubbrin. “Weeks after moving to Devonshire, I began jamming with the guys. It’s been a wonderful way to meet new people while doing something I love.”

“Our community members are living happier and healthier lives because of the personal connectedness and belonging they enjoy as a result of moving to Devonshire,” says Bores. “We are blessed to serve in this way and will continue to find new and exciting ways for people to engage in the activities they love with friends who support and encourage their efforts.”