Beaumont: Don’t Just Retire… Start Living
Residents don’t move to Beaumont at Bryn Mawr to simply curl up in a cozy corner – they expect to remain fully engaged while enjoying a luxurious retirement lifestyle. Many residents are still at the top of their professions or have leadership roles in area organizations. They are also fully involved in shaping the direction and management of the community.
Beaumont is unique in this respect. It is the only top-ranked Continuing Care Retirement Community in the nation that is owned and governed by residents, and is internally managed. Residents, rather than an outside board or corporate manager, make decisions for the benefit of the community.
Visitors to Beaumont immediately sense that there is no one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter look and feel to the community. Beaumont is situated on 50+ wooded and landscaped acres in the heart of Philadelphia’s Main Line – close to everything yet far enough away to enjoy peace and quiet. The community was planned with the historic Austin Mansion as its central hub and social commons. The original details, from hand-painted murals to intricately carved wooden lintels and mantles, have been fully restored and serve as the perfect complement to the modern, spacious apartments attached to the mansion and the free-standing villas beyond.
“A pronounced shift in the definition of, and expectations from retirement is taking place,” said Joe Peduzzi, president of Beaumont. “Our newer residents, who really are the vanguard of the Baby Boom generation, demand more choices in lifestyle, amenities and services.”
As a result, residents voted in 2013 to make a multimillion dollar investment in building brand-new fitness and aquatic facilities and further renovating parts of the mansion, including the Personal Care wing. “Residents decided it was time to raise the bar,” he added.
Dr. Don Trachtenberg, chairman of Beaumont’s all-resident Board of Directors, offered, “Fitness and wellness are paramount. That’s why we
decided to build a state-of-the-art exercise center with the most modern equipment, a large fitness room for Tai Chi, yoga and stretch classes, and construct a heated pool for both serious swimmers and less mobile residents…with dressing rooms and massage area to rival the best of clubs. And we did not neglect our many talented resident authors and artists – the project also included a brand new library and art wing.”
The mansion, with its spectacular music room and eight full-service dining rooms, saw the addition of a casual bistro and games room, and major renovations to the Personal Care area. “A bistro just made sense,” resident Alan Tripp, an active supporter of the project, said. “It gives us the option to meet friends over a beer, get a delicious late evening meal, or watch an important game on the big-screen. We also added a games room with a championship billiards and shuffleboard table.”
The second floor of the mansion, which houses the Nursing Care, Personal Care and Rehabilitation Care areas, was carefully renovated to accentuate the original architectural details while ensuring a modern and inviting care environment. “My wife was a geriatric nurse-practitioner and was very involved in bringing the physical environment and equipment up to the next level for our nursing staff and patients alike,” Dolf Paier, resident and Chair of Beaumont’s Finance Committee, added.
Designed by RLPS Architects and managed by Warfel Construction, the total project comprised roughly 30,000 square feet. Resident involvement in planning, design and management was evident at every turn, including the financial aspects of the project. “It is remarkable,” Peduzzi said, “that residents voted to undertake this project in the first place. It really was a very forward-looking decision. Construction is messy, creates temporary inconveniences and the outcome may not directly benefit an individual resident. And much to the credit of Mr. Paier and the Finance Committee, we haven’t suffered the special assessments and financial fall-out that plague so many other communities when they undertake capital projects like this. Their careful and conservative financial management has resulted in a debt-free balance sheet and still makes living at Beaumont more affordable than at comparable CCRCs.”
In typical Beaumont fashion, the hard hats were officially retired during a community-wide celebration, which was open to Main Line neighbors. Complete with delicious culinary creations by the executive chef and his staff, micro-brew and wine tastings, fitness demonstrations, hole-in-one and bocce ball competitions, the festive opening event marked a new phase for the Beaumont community.
“It’s about offering choices,” Peduzzi continued. “Residents want to be independent while having a sense of community and belonging. They want to come and go as they please, dine where and when they please, and enjoy a superior lifestyle where everything is taken care of…including their health and well-being. At Beaumont, there is no lack of choice. It’s like being on a cruise…except you’re not stuck in the middle of the ocean.” With a smile he added, “Don’t come to Beaumont to just retire, come here to start living.”