Staying Connected in a Retirement Community
After decades of building business connections, developing lifelong friendships and giving back to the community they’ve called home the majority of their lives, Harold and Esther Grier weren’t about to uproot their lives during retirement. They had too many beloved people, cherished organizations and strong ties that just couldn’t be packed up and taken with them.
So the Griers found their new home, Parkside at Rydal Park, right in their current hometown of Rydal, Penn., a suburb of Philadelphia.
“We’ve lived most of our lives within 10 miles of where we live now,” said Esther. “We chose Rydal Park because of its wonderful location. We’ve kept all our connections within the community “” our friends, our church, our doctors and our hospital.”
While a hospital is important for many people for the medical care it provides, for the Griers, it’s a bit closer to the heart. They’ve had an active role in shaping health care in their community.
“We’re both still on the board of the Abington Hospital,” said Harold. “Of course, when you get our age, they make you an emeritus member,” he said with a laugh.
Harold made his name as a prominent member of the local business community, having been a realtor and running an investment business. He maintains these bonds as a member of the Rotary Club, serving on the board of the local bank, and making the rounds on the golf course several times per week.
“Harold is out for lunch with someone every day,” said Esther. “It seems like I’m busier too, now that I don’t have to do housework. I’m out doing what I want to do, not what I have to do.”
Esther, who was a registered nurse, spends her time serving with the Women’s Club, at church and attending the cultural events throughout Philadelphia. She’s also found new interests at Parkside at Rydal Park.
“I’ve started taking computer lessons and bridge lessons since I’ve been here,” said Esther. “We both like that the swimming pool is heated in the winter and that we don’t have to go outside to get to it. We used to have to travel a ways to our gym, so we love the exercise areas on site. We’re still very much into regular exercising.”
Each having had a parent that received a continuum of short- or long-term care at Rydal Park, the Griers say their experience at the community has been much different.
“A big difference is that back then, people lived in a more communal way,” said Harold. “We live in a freestanding apartment and can be very independent, rather than only participating in the programs offered here. We drive in and out of the community, going to things we choose.”
In many ways, moving to Parkside at Rydal Park has helped the Griers maintain the lifestyle they spent 56 years building together in and around Rydal.
“I need physical therapy, but it’s very convenient because it’s right here in the community,” said Esther. “And we know there is someone here to take care of us down the road if we need it.”
“My wife does all the activities, but for me it’s easy living,” said Harold. “We had two feet of snow, and I didn’t have to shovel a flake. It’s pleasant to see so many nice people in the community. We’ve made a lot of friends in addition to our long-time ones. In a lot of ways, it’s the same lifestyle as we had before, but there is a freedom from worry.”