Life Without Compromise
Older adults eager to downsize or “right-size” have an abundance of five-star options.
by Jill Lupine

When folks of a certain age decide it’s time to leave the family home and downsize, or “right-size,” to a cottage or apartment at a nearby retirement community, it’s natural to have conflicted feelings. Many say the experience fills them with profound regret. 
While such a move requires a period of adjustment—adapting to new surroundings, new people, new schedules, etc.—the regret usually has less to do with the change of scenery, but more to do with the fact that they wish they had made the change sooner. Most tend to describe their new lives as “addition by subtraction.” They could have had more time free of the hardships and headaches associated with home ownership, like “spring cleaning” as the weather begins to warm, mowing the lawn in the heat of summer, raking leaves and clearing the gutters in autumn, and shoveling snow in the winter. 
As we get older, a change of address is often a matter of necessity, either because of a noticeable shift in one’s health or the loss of a loved one. Others do so out of a profound desire to “reignite the fire” by developing new hobbies and friendships. The happiest residents say it’s best to start interviewing prospective communities—many of which are akin to five-star hotels, with lushly manicured campuses to match—long before a move becomes necessary so they can enjoy the benefits for as long as possible. 
Most residents tend to get involved in their new community, including helping to make the decisions that dictate a community’s direction—everything from changes in dining options to novel programs offered in the fitness/wellness center to the offerings of a new library/media center to the color scheme of a renovated community center. Most communities welcome such engagement; in fact, if a resident is interested in a particular club or hobby that a community does not yet offer, administrators tend to support the resident in starting it on their own. 
In the Philadelphia area, five-star continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) and life-plan communities enable their residents to lead active, engaged, and inspired lives for as long as they possibly can, with multiple modes of health care, when and if the time comes.
The Stars Align
Most older adults say they decide where to call home based on the combination of a few important factors: a community’s healthcare capabilities, the breadth of amenities, and how the campus and its residents make them feel—i.e., do they feel safe, does the community give them a warm and welcoming feeling, etc. 

The location certainly helps, too, as residents often choose to stay close to family and friends. While many residents say it’s essential to maintain connections with the “outside world,” they usually say they are amazed by how much their life improves once they become familiar with the campus, join community groups, and engage with their fellow residents.  
Older adults have an abundance of choices in terms of where to call home. Following are some of the area’s finest communities known for prioritizing residents’ safety, independence, and peace of mind. We acknowledge that there are many exceptional CCRCs and life-plan communities in the Philadelphia, not all of which are included here.
Acts Retirement Life Communities
Brittany Pointe Estates in Lansdale, Fort Washington Estates, Granite Farm Estates and Lima Estates in Media, Gwynedd Estates in Ambler, Normandy Farms Estates in Blue Bell, Southampton Estates, and Spring House Estates in Lower Gwynedd
Arbour Square of Harleysville
Artis Senior Living
Huntingdon Valley, Yardley, and Princeton, New Jersey
Atria Senior Living
Atria Center City in Philadelphia and Atria Lafayette Hill
The Attleboro Community
Brandywine Senior Living
Dresher Estates, Haverford Estates, Longwood in Kennett Square, Senior Suites in East Norriton, and Upper Providence in Phoenixville
Chandler Hall
Cornwall Manor
Cornwall (Lebanon County)
Dunwoody Village
Newtown Square
Elm Terrace Gardens
Five Star Senior Living
The Devon Senior Living, NewSeasons at New Britain in Chalfont, and Forwood Manor in Wilmington, Delaware
Friends Home & Village
Garden Spot Village
New Holland
HarborChase of Wilmington
Wilmington, Delaware
HarborChase of Princeton
Princeton, New Jersey
The Hearth at Drexel
Bala Cynwyd
Warminster and Yardley
Hershey’s Mill Villages & Golf Club
West Chester
The Hickman
West Chester
The Mansion at Rosemont, Rydal Park and Rydal Waters in Jenkintown, and Spring Mill Pointe in Lafayette Hill
Glen Mills Senior Living, Exton Senior Living, Magnolias of Lancaster
Kendal-Crosslands Communities
Kennett Square
The Landing of Collegeville
The Manor at York Town
Maplewood at Princeton
Plainsboro, New Jersey
Masonic Villages
Lafayette Hill and Warminster
Meadowood Senior Living
Merrill Gardens
Arbour Square in West Chester, Eagleview Landing in Exton, Mercer Hill at Doylestown, Merrill Gardens at Glen Mills, The Pinnacle in Plymouth Meeting, Truewood by Merrill in Glen Riddle
Oxford Enhanced Senior Living
Pennswood Village
Pickering Manor
Pine Run Retirement Community
Pleasant View Communities
Priority Life Care
Symphony Manor of Feasterville and Independence Court of Quakertown
Riddle Village Retirement Community
The 501 at Mattison Estate in Ambler, Chestnut Ridge and Plush Mills in Wallingford, Daylesford Crossing in Paoli, Echo Lake in Malvern, and Ovation at Riverwalk in Princeton, New Jersey
The Solana Doylestown
Springton Lake Village
Sunrise of North Wales
North Wales
Symphony Square
Bala Cynwyd
The Watermark at Bellingham
West Chester
Waverly Heights
White Horse Village
Newtown Square
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life magazine, October 2022.