A Secure Future in a Retirement Community

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grandparents in a philadelphia, pa retirement homeWhen Pat and Dick Schaphorst decided to take the next step and research different retirement communities, they were not just looking for lavish amenities and an abundance of activities. While the couple wanted the perks of a convenient and diverse community, they above all desired a maintenance-free lifestyle with the security of available healthcare services. It was at Cathedral Village, a nonprofit Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) located in Philadelphia, Pa., that they eventually found all of this and more.

Although it was important to allow themselves and their children this peace of mind regarding their care later in life, the Schaphorsts also wanted to make the transition while they were still energetic and enjoying various pursuits.

Dick, a native of Atlantic Highlands, NJ, graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in electrical engineering and moved to Philadelphia to work in the government business sector at Philco. After 24 years with the company, Dick founded Delta Information Systems for which he served as president until 1999. Through his career, he chaired the United Nations Committee to establish the international standard for the video telephone, an aspect of his job that led him to write a book “Videoconferencing and Videotelephony.”

“I enjoyed the entrepreneurial aspect of the work — pulling people and programs together for success in the marketplace and establishing technical standards for the industry,” he said.

Following her graduation from Wilson college, Pat moved to Philadelphia for a career in math, statistics and computers. After marrying Dick in 1957 and raising three children, she eventually returned to school and received a MEd from Temple in Counseling Psychology, a field she stayed in until retirement.

As they remained active with Dick serving on the Jenkintown School Board for eight years and Pat being highly involved with the Women’s Center of Montgomery County and other volunteer efforts, the couple soon found that maintaining their large family home was becoming more difficult.

“Our house was a Victorian three-story house, much bigger than we needed,” said Pat. “At that point in our lives, it seemed it was better to look into a retirement place.”

Aside from the upkeep of their home, Pat’s bout with a cardiac problem also influenced the decision for finding a community that would offer the security of available medical care.

Out of the several local options they visited, Cathedral Village greatly appealed to the Schaphorsts with its distinctive amenities, from its healthcare program to its Village College courses.

Dick praised other amenities saying, “We have the most significant Horticulture and Greenhouse facility perhaps in the entire Delaware Valley,” and added, “We also have a very unique assisted living program.”

Unlike many other CCRCs, Cathedral Village does not have a separate building for residents whose needs may increase to a level requiring assisted living care. Instead, they are provided with a range of services within their established homes. The services are not limited to but do include medical care, transportation to social events and to meals, meal delivery, assistance with dressing and bathing, and reminders to take medications at the proper time or, in some cases, delivery of medications by the professional nurse.

While the Schaphorsts and their peers have the physical security with this continuum of care, they also have a sense of financial security knowing their money goes a long way at Cathedral Village. The community’s Type A Resident Contract is the most comprehensive in the retirement industry covering unlimited visits with nurses and the physicians in the outpatient department, each of whom are certified gerontologists. Residents are also covered for unlimited stays in the Skilled Nursing facility. Everyday healthcare maintenance is supported not only by the availability of immediate and routine medical care, but other departments as well.

In the community’s dining services program, the monthly fee covers three meals a day although it is not mandatory that residents take all three daily. This has been especially convenient for the couple, who with Pat’s health concerns, wanted to be rid of the burden of cooking.

The fee also covers use of the Health Club and the Fitness Center including all of the classes, water aerobics and the special attention and training given by the full-time director, and exercise physiologist. Cathedral Village’s Horticultural seminars and classes, painting and sculpting classes and the year-round Village College courses are among the many covered activities that the Schaphorsts and their peers enjoy. According to Pat, the couple is currently taking a short story course.

“We have a lot of people from academia teaching the courses they used to, which is a tremendous asset,” said Dick.

Another unique perk of the community is the fact that the residents determine and organize the committees, and conduct the activities of the Resident’s Association rather than an Activities Director. As part of the Trip Committee, Dick meets monthly to plan trips and activities. He has also been elected for a second term as president of the Resident’s Association while outside of the community he remains active with Delta Information Systems and committees affiliated with the couple’s summer lake cottage. Pat, who exercises regularly, is part of the Video Library committee, Book Club and works at Cathedral Village’s Thrift Shop. She attends almost all of the musical events and guest speaker programs.

The couple has enjoyed the flexibility of being as busy as they want to and the ease of meeting new people at the community, including its welcoming staff. “Cathedral Village has a great group of people, it is a very diverse population,” said Pat. “I was amazed how quickly we made friends and found lots to do.”

There is no question with this range of activities and amenities that complement the Schaphorsts’ individualized lifestyles that Cathedral Village has far exceeded their expectations in offering maintenance-free living and a secure future.

“We like the diverse community, the closeness to the city, the beautiful grounds to walk in, the less structured environment and the multitude of things to be interested in,” said Pat. “It’s wonderful to be here; we are very pleased with the move.”

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