Keeping a Busy Schedule in a Retirement Community

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grandparents stay busy in retirement homeThere is no question that Leone and Malcolm Schoenberg are extremely proactive individuals. This has been demonstrated not only in their past careers, but in their volunteer work and longstanding affiliations with different organizations. They were also proactive, however, when making decisions for their future. Knowing they wanted to be in an environment that would embrace their active lifestyles, they made the move to Waverly Heights, a nonprofit Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) located on the Main Line area outside of Philadelphia, Pa.

The Schoenbergs’ journey began with a blind date when Leone was a freshman at Syracuse. As their relationship progressed, she eventually transferred schools in order to start a life with him.

“I fell wildly in love with Malcolm,” she said. “We married and then I started at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.”

With his degree in electrical engineering from MIT, Malcolm had worked for three large national companies until he came upon the opportunity to join a national investment banking firm in New York, where he worked for 21 years.

“It was very demanding, but very exciting,” he said. “I enjoyed building relationships with investors and doing what was best for them; it was a very rewarding career.”

Leone, on the other hand, enjoyed devoting her time to their three sons in addition to creating works as a fiber artist. She also took pride in getting involved with different causes from participating in peace organizations to managing a historic house in Ft. Washington, Pa.

“In the 30-40 years following graduation, I was a volunteer,” she said. In fact, the couple has participated in numerous organizations throughout their lives including the Highlands Historical Society, Montgomery County SPCA and the Visiting Nurses Association Community Services.

While Malcolm has also enjoyed fox hunting and skiing for 25 years, the couple has utilized much of their free time for traveling, their first trip being to Europe in 1953. “We have done about 40-45 trips and cruises all over the world,” said Malcolm. “We’ve visited a lot of wonderful and beautiful places.” Among their array of excursions, the Schoenbergs said their most interesting adventure was in 1982, when they spent three weeks in the People’s Republic of China.

Although the couple knew they always had their wonderful family home to return to when traveling, the time eventually came for them to plan ahead for their potential future needs. Their home of 44 years covered 20 acres of land and they each knew if something were to happen to the other, neither spouse could manage it all alone.

“We wanted a maintenance-free lifestyle,” said Leone. “There had also been the experience with my mother needing care, so we wanted to solve that problem out of fairness to our children.”

As a result, the Schoenbergs proceeded to explore different CCRCs throughout eastern Pennsylvania. It was the community of Waverly Heights that particularly stood out to the couple.

“I had always said while I would be willing to move, I didn’t want to change my lifestyle having worked hard for many years,” said Malcolm. “We only found a few places that met the standards that I wanted and Waverly was one of them.”

When the opportunity arose to move in, the Schoenbergs did not hesitate to secure their spot in the community, and they have enjoyed life ever since for over a decade. “It’s a very easy lifestyle,” said Leone. “The thing that appealed to me was that it’s not a competitive community; it’s very relaxed, yet busy, and very friendly and caring.”

What has been especially important to the couple is having the ability to remain active on their own terms and maintain outside pursuits. “There are about 50 volunteer committees here. You can be as active or inactive as you want,” said Leone.

As Malcolm still assists a few of his past clients and continues his 26-year role with the Board of Directors for the SPCA, he was elected to the Board of the Waverly Heights Residents’ Association in 2001 and became president for two terms. In addition to serving on three other committees, he was elected to the community’s Board of Trustees. Like her husband, Leone has been a member of the Residents’ Association Board and now co-chairs the Windfall resale shop which earns money for activities and programs. She is also a member of other committees, including the Trips and Tours Committee, and writes for the community’s magazine, The Waverly Window.

The couple has even expanded their volunteer efforts by participating in a community outreach program organized by Philadelphia Contact Reassurance. “We make telephone calls and reach out to people in the Philadelphia area who live alone and may not have contact with anyone else,” said Leone. “One of us in the 20-member group will call them every morning to see how they are, and chat with them for a few minutes.”

Even with their outside affiliations and involvement in onsite organizations and programs, the Schoenbergs still make time to enjoy the various activities the community has to offer.

“I play Wimbledon croquet and we attend lectures, concerts and parties during the month,” said Malcolm. “There is a great social life here with our fellow residents who are very friendly people.”

According to the couple, that friendliness also extends to the staff at Waverly. “They are wonderful. I can’t praise them enough,” said Leone.
For the Schoenbergs, having excellent healthcare was their first priority when making the move and knowing they have such a supportive staff only furthers their peace of mind with Waverly’s personal care and skilled nursing services. In fact, its skilled nursing center, Muirfield, which was renovated and expanded in 2010, has received “deficiency-free” surveys for the past three consecutive years, an achievement rarely seen in U.S. nursing homes.

And Malcolm and Leone are in no way surprised by this since he stayed at the center following an accident. “The healthcare is marvelous, and so convenient,” said Leone. “Muirfield is just a couple minutes away from our villa, so I could walk to see Malcolm and have my meals with him.”

When the Schoenbergs decided to look into a senior housing option, they wanted great healthcare and did not want to sacrifice their busy schedules. Instead, they have found so much more at a community where they not only have a sense of security, but their energetic lifestyles have flourished.

“One of the best decisions we ever made was moving to Waverly Heights,” said Leone.

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