What’s it like to live in senior living? If you lived at Simpson House, it could be as fun-filled and fulfilling as you want it to be. Just ask Marjorie Redford.
“My friends tell me I’m involved in everything,” says Marjorie, who takes full advantage of all the opportunities available at this Philadelphia retirement community.
You’ll make new friends
Marjorie learned about Simpson House from one of her twin daughters, who volunteered here and liked what she saw. When Marjorie moved here in 2019, she didn’t waste any time getting connected with others in the community.
“I am an outgoing person—I make myself known,” she says. “When I first got to Simpson House, I met other residents in the dining room. I would go to every meal and go around to each table to introduce myself and ask them who they were. So, from then on, everyone knew who I was.”
Even for those who aren’t quite as outgoing, the dining room is a great place to meet people. It’s a place to gather for meals, fellowship, and special events like National Popcorn Day in January and Valentine’s Day in February. Sodexo—which provides dining services at the Simpson communities—hosts chef demonstrations, talks on health and nutrition, and other presentations where residents can enjoy each others’ company while learning something new. They’re also implementing Farmshelf hydroponic growing systems, which will provide fresh herbs and greens—and opportunities for residents to do some indoor gardening.
You’ll find lots of things to do
If you like to keep busy, you’ll be right at home at Simpson House. Its location at the edge of Fairmount Park makes it easy to take advantage of all that Philadelphia has to offer—but you don’t need to leave the senior living community’s campus to find your fun.
“Our Life Enrichment team always has the calendar full with opportunities,” Marjorie says. She participates in senior fitness classes, which are offered every day.
“Society Hall is our big game room at Simpson House,” she adds. It’s on the ground floor and fully accessible. Residents can also find yoga classes, games, and other activities there. They hold bingo a few days a week. Marjorie used to call the numbers. On game nights, residents gather to play Wii, pool, or shuffleboard. Other nights, they get together to watch a movie.
Then there are celebrations for all kinds of occasions—including a happy hour every Friday and a birthday party for everyone who is having a birthday in a given month. In February, Life Enrichment organized a Heritage Art Show in which residents and their families displayed their personal art collections for the entire campus.
Although group activities were put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, the event calendar is back in full swing, and residents in all parts of Simpson House are able to participate together. They are even scheduling community outings to the grocery store.
And should you forget anything on your outing, Simpson House’s “corner store” gift shop offers “whatever you forgot to get when you were shopping,” says Marjorie, who has volunteered there in the past, opening up the shop every Thursday morning. It’s just one of many volunteer opportunities in and around the retirement community—and your offer to help is warmly accepted, as Marjorie discovered when she raised her hand at a community meeting.
“Whatever you need me to do, I’ll do. Whatever needs to be done, I’ll be glad to participate,” she said at the time. She’s been busy ever since.
You’ll enjoy quiet time, too
If you imagined spending your retirement reading all those books you never had time for, you’re in luck. The community has a library, which Marjorie and other volunteers refurbished. They shelved and categorized books and helped create a checkout record for the senior living community. Other opportunities for book lovers include a book club and a writers’ circle.
If visual arts are more your “thing,” you’ll love spending time with kindred spirits in the community’s art studio, a space that was spearheaded and organized by residents. It’s a great place to work on drawing and painting—and sometimes more. For example, when Marjorie returned from a trip to Dubai to see her five great-grandchildren, she brought with her a treasured photo. She took the image to the art room, where another resident mounted it for her. Marjorie hasn’t worked there herself but, she says, “the art studio is on my list of things to do.”
Religious services are offered weekly at Simpson House, and residents hold bible studies and prayer groups. A rosary club meets every Tuesday.
You’ll love the people
During the hour-long interview for this post, Marjorie’s daughter and one of Marjorie’s friends stopped by. It’s one of the many advantages of living in the senior community and finding shared interests.
“Everyone is very friendly,” Marjorie says. “Everyone will speak with you, say ‘hello, hi’ and introduce themselves.”
By “everyone,” she means residents and staff alike, from Life Enrichment to dining services, from the medical team to maintenance. Of the staff, she says, “they have a lot to do with how great the community is.”
Now, Marjorie’s cousin is looking at retirement communities, and Marjorie is recommending Simpson House. “I am telling her all of the activities that we have available to take part in at the community. A community is ideal if you need more attention in your care,” says Marjorie, who used a stairlift in her home prior to moving here. “It’s great to have these activities available to you, whereas if you are not in a community, you would need someone to take you out. But here, you have everything that you need right within the campus.”