The Gift That Keeps Giving–Waverly Place
In an age where gift cards are ubiquitous, gift giving can seem like a lost art. However, the best gifts are still those that appeal to the unique traits and interests of the recipient. And the perfect gift is usually not wrapped in pretty paper or adorned with colorful ribbons.
Gil and Barbara Stein know this simple fact well. Recently, the couple gave their children an incredible gift and quickly discovered the joy of giving. After carefully reviewing the nearby options, the Steins signed a contract on a new villa in Waverly Heights, a lifecare community in Gladwyne, Pa. Waverly Heights is a Main Line community located a mere 10 miles northwest of Philadelphia, Pa.
“We decided moving here would be a gift to our children, since they would never have to worry about taking care of their parents,” Barbara explained. “Since moving, we’ve discovered that it was really a gift for ourselves.”
While the Steins originally planned to move to Waverly Heights in 2012, they decided to relocate a year earlier based on the sage advice of current residents. “All the residents uniformly recommended that we come early and enjoy the lifestyle,” Barbara recalled.
Now that the transition is over, the couple enthusiastically seconds this advice. “To our peers who are on the fence, I would say, based on my own experience, it is better to move here five years early than one day late,” Gil said. “I couldn’t agree more,” Barbara added. “We are enjoying the wonderful lifestyle we have here, and we know that the care here is excellent if and when we need it.”
An alumna of Vassar College, Barbara married Gil on her graduation day. The couple eventually settled in Gladwyne, where they raised two sons and a daughter. While Barbara was a full-time wife and mother, she always made time to give back to her community.
For more than 40 years, Barbara worked on the Vassar Show House Scholarship program. The group partnered with interior designers and landscapers to redecorate estate homes and gardens for public tours. “It was a wonderful experience, and we all became very close friends,” Barbara said. “During our time together, we raised almost four million dollars for scholarships.”
As part of another unique partnership, Barbara became a founding board member of the first hospice program in the Philadelphia area. “Hospice really is a remarkable program,” she said, recalling as one of her most memorable experiences her direct volunteer work with a young family.
A native of Philadelphia and an avid sports fan, Gil’s career path has reflected his many passions. An Army Veteran who served during WW II, Gil graduated from Temple University and Boston University Law School. His varied and prestigious work history has included high-ranking positions in Philadelphia city government and positions as a law firm partner, a member of the U.S. Supreme Court Bar, and president and CEO of the National Hockey League (NHL) – just to name a few.
While he found all his various careers rewarding, his work with the NHL married his passion for law with his love for sports. “Whatever I was doing was my favorite at the time, but being involved with the NHL was probably the thing I most identified with,” Gil said.
While he was never a hockey player himself, Gil has always been a huge fan and getting the opportunity to serve as the president of the NHL was an enormous honor. Gil loved working with the players and coaches and advancing the game. After retiring, he wrote the book POWER PLAYS—An Inside Look at the Big Business of the National Hockey League.
As for their lifestyle today, the Steins are enjoying a mix of new and old interests with lots of new friends. Barbara, a self-proclaimed “professional volunteer,” is still pursuing her passion for giving back. She has joined Waverly’s marketing, special events and movie committees. She also participates in the daily physical activity options, ranging from aquatics to line dancing.
Gil continues to work part-time as an adjunct professor of sports law at Villanova University Law School. He is also using his newfound free time to pursue volunteer activities. In fact, he recently became the editor of the Waverly Heights monthly magazine, Waverly Window. He also participates in Waverly’s putting competition and is a member of the traveling putting team.
“The thing I like best about living here is that you can continue to live the life you were living before, or if you want to get involved, there are myriad activities available,” Gil said. “We’ve always had a nice social life,” Barbara added. “The difference is now it is all right here—right outside our door.”
In fact, the Steins knew almost immediately that they would be most comfortable at Waverly Heights. When considering a life care community, they looked at nearly all of the local options, but always felt at home at Waverly.
“Beauty is terribly important to me; I love green space, and this community is just outstanding in that area,” Barbara said. Gil concurred, “We were very attracted to the natural beauty and lovely living accommodations, and once we came here, we found the activities were just wonderful as well.”
The activities and the people have made what is undoubtedly a picturesque location a true home for the Steins. “The biggest thing we have here is a sense of community,” Barbara said. “The residents and staff are there for each other, and it is just a really warm environment.”
Having found that sense of community that is missing in so much of adult life, the Steins have never looked back. “So many people tell us that they are not ready to move, but I’m not really sure what that means,” Barbara said. As a trained social worker with a Master’s in Social Services from Bryn Mawr College, Barbara saw firsthand the importance of planning for one’s later years. She had been an advocate of lifecare communities long before considering their own move; however, she could have never dreamt how much moving would enrich their quality of life.
From pursuing beloved activities to hosting new friends, the Steins are fully enjoying everything that Waverly Heights has to offer. When they were researching life care communities, they thought they were giving a gift to their children. When they moved, they realized that the gift was really for them—and that it just keeps giving. Today, the Steins are thrilled to be literally living in the present.