Age of Enlightenment
Older adults “live their best lives” in the area’s top retirement communities.
by Bill Donahue

You are not too old and it is not too late, according to the novelist and poet Rainer Maria Rilke.

Many older adults discover the truth in Rilke’s words when they move into a continuing care retirement community or independent-living facility that “checks every box”—one that enables them to make new friends, embark on new adventures, and improve their overall health and well-being, as well as explore sides of themselves they never knew existed.
The Keystone State has an abundance of communities devoted to helping older adults “live their best lives,” however they choose to define the term. These establishments strive to provide superior care to all residents, whether they live independently, need some degree of personal care, or require more specialized support. While many such organizations are listed here, we acknowledge that the ones mentioned represent only a fraction of the area’s many exceptional retirement communities.
Top Retirement Communities
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 Bethlehem, Atria Center City in Philadelphia, and Atria Lafayette Hill
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
Freedom Village at Brandywine
Friends Home & Village
Garden Spot Village
New Holland
HarborChase of Wilmington
Wilmington, Delaware
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 & Waters in Jenkintown, and Spring Mill Pointe in Lafayette Hill
Independence Court of Quakertown
Glen Mills Senior Living, Exton Senior Living, Magnolias of Lancaster
Kendal-Crosslands Communities
Kennett Square
The Manor at York Town
Maplewood at Princeton
Plainsboro, New Jersey
Masonic Villages
Lafayette Hill and Warminster
Merrill Gardens
Arbour Square in West Chester, Eagleview Landing in Exton, Mercer Hill at Doylestown, Merrill Gardens at Glen Mills, Truewood by Merrill in Glen Riddle
Oxford Enhanced Senior Living
Pennswood Village
Pickering Manor
Pine Run Village
Pleasant View Communities
Riddle Village Retirement Community
The 501 at Mattison Estate in Ambler, Plush Mills in Wallingford, Daylesford Crossing in Paoli, and Echo Lake in Malvern
The Solana Doylestown
Springton Lake Village
Sunrise Senior Living
Abington, Dresher, Haverford, Lafayette Hill, Malvern, Media, Newtown Square, North Wales, West Chester, and Yardley
Symphony Square
Bala Cynwyd
The Watermark at Bellingham
West Chester
Waverly Heights
White Horse Village
Newtown Square
Support for Those Who Age in Place
While many older adults choose the comfort and camaraderie of living in a retirement community, others prefer to “age in place” at their own long-time home. It’s natural for humans to need help as they age, especially for those who live alone. Enter home-care providers such as Amada Senior Care (, Kaydailycare HomeCare (, and Visiting Angels (
“In my experience, people tend to do better and make greater improvements if they are in the home,” says Matt Ushler, president of Amada Senior Care, which serves families in Bucks and Montgomery counties. “That is, of course, with the right care plan and support. Left on their own and the exact opposite can happen. … The reality is that some people can’t stay at home and need to be in a facility.”
Organizations such as Amada Senior Care provide in-home companionship and support services as well as assistance with tasks such as bathing and dressing, light housekeeping, and meal preparation, among others; it also offers care for individuals with more specialized needs, including those who have been diagnosed with either Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. When interviewing potential providers, Ushler suggests asking candidates about costs and hourly requirements, how they vet their in-home caregivers, and their contingencies in the event of staff callouts, as well as their policies in cases when a caregiver does not gel with the individual they are meant to care for.
Aside from qualifications, Ushler says every caregiver must possess certain “it” factors—namely, kindness and compassion. He speaks not only from his professional experience, but also from personal experience; he and his wife had three older family members who needed in-home care for several years.
“If [caregivers] do not care about the people that they are caring for, then it doesn’t matter how skilled they are,” he says. “We are only as good as our last shift, and we must provide the highest quality of care each time we go see a client. In some cases, we may be the only person, the only human interaction this person has in a day.”
Many older adults and their families struggle to realize when to seek professional assistance in the form of in-home caregiving. Ushler admits that it’s not always easy to identity “the right time.”
“We want to make sure we get them care before something happens,” he says. “My five-year-old had a broken arm and was out of his cast in three weeks. We see clients that have a fall and it takes six months to a year to recover. … Home care is there to keep Mom safe at home. We can’t prevent everything, but the idea is to have care so that we can limit the risky behaviors.” 
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life magazine, March 2024.