Retirement Resort Living

The Senior Resource Group’s Maravilla Scottsdale Senior Living Community is a beautiful example of what many of today’s new retirees look for when deciding to move to a luxury multi-service residence. From the moment you turn into the sweeping European-style driveway, you notice that the archi- tecture and interior design do what is intended – make you feel as if you’ve just walked into a 5-star resort and also make you feel at home. It combines a blend of comfort and style in the many public “living rooms,” along with social opportunities and safety and wellness/health programs.

Executive Director Tim Cowen is proud to say that Maravilla is unlike other senior com- munities where the future resident’s children are often the ones considering a spot for their parent. “Here the residents are coming in saying that they are at the point where they want to see what they can do to enjoy their retirement more and have the hotel quality experiences while they’re still active; and then if they need extra help later on – it will be here for them.” Cowen explains that the extra help most often means services will come to residents in their homes rather than requiring that they move into a different place. “Yet, we do have a memory-care unit and an assisted-care area if required. And Scottsdale Healthcare Center is just up the street,” he adds.

Maravilla Scottsdale is located at 7325 E. Princess Blvd., Scottsdale. It sits on 25 acres next door to the AAA 5-diamond Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort and the Tournament Players Club Scottsdale golf course – both readily available for Maravilla residents. Independent casita and courtyard residences range from 900 to 2,100 square feet. With several entrance fees to choose from, as well as a basic monthly fee, there are plenty of options to make everyone happy. The amenity fee includes one meal a day in a beautiful dining room – which several residents have called “one of the best parts of living here” – utilities (except for phone), weekly housekeeping and linen laundry service, as well as a 24-hour reception and Emer- gency Call System, local transportation, a gym, pools, OSHER classes taught by Arizona State University staff and many other amenities. There is also a grab-and- go restaurant in the independent living area and a dining room located in the memory-care unit. An indoor pool/whirlpool and a full-service spa are located next to the gym. Miravilla opened May 1, 2012, and is now 35% occupied. According to Cowen this is quite an achievement for a new complex. More than 217 residences span the independent, assist- ed-care and memory-care areas.

Program Director Elizabeth Bradford, who has been with SRG at several resorts, says the residents here are far more active than in other place where she has created programs. She says that makes it fun to put together. Bradford oversees the activities for all three areas of the campus as well as transportation for the residents. “We have about seven to eight set activities a day. Our parties are phenomenal! The residents get so excited about all of them and the turnout is fantastic. We held an Oscar-themed night and everyone dressed in gowns and tuxedos! For our Mardi Gras event, the costumes and masks were amazing. “We haven’t been opened long, but our Jewish residents held a Passover seder and right now, we’re getting together with some of them to organize some activities and holiday observances for them for the coming year. We’re hoping to really have some interesting events.”

Bradford says they schedule transportation to many of the cul- tural events in the area: symphonies, plays, the races and casinos. “One of the outings I love is the ‘Shop Til You Drop’ day! It’s all the ladies. Men are invited, but it’s usually all the women. We recently went to the new outlet mall in Chandler; we go to Goodwill if they want and out to lunch. We have a blast and do this about once a month.”
Suggestions and changes in the community are welcomed with monthly meetings between staff and residents. The regular activities, besides many exercise classes, include arts and crafts, painting and a movie theater that offers a new feature daily. Another favorite is the wine tasting event. “We’ve even gone to a Bruce Springsteen concert. It’s great to have a group that when we get together, we all have such a neat time,” Bradford says.

Several of the residents took time to share their experiences and reasoning behind moving to Maravilla. They all agree on their love of the state-of-the-art gym and classes ranging from water aerobics and yoga to bocce ball. Bradford says that the latter has become so popular that the one court is not near enough, and she has suggested to corporate that they should add several more. As to why they chose Maravilla, Stan Spiegel says that he and his wife, Arlene, looked at three other campuses but found them to be too institutional. They even put down a deposit on one, but cancelled the sale when they saw the architecture and design of Maravilla. “That and the food. Arlene loves that we can enjoy such wonderful meals and that she no longer has to cook!” That sentiment is shared by fellow residents, Ed Levy, Bill Linz, and Morry and Sue Himmel. Linz, who had open-heart surgery about five years ago, decided that it was a good time for him and his wife, Bette, to find a place where they could still enjoy their lifestyle but, if something happened, that they’d be well taken care of and feel safe. “We are so happy we came here. The other residents, the staff – we’re all a family. There’s nothing to compare this with – it was a great choice.”

Linz agrees. He and his wife, Jeanne, have lived in Scottsdale for 34 years, but were ready to give up their home and stop having to take care of its maintenance. “It was our decision and we’ve found the camaraderie here to be the best.” Everyone also loves the games. Sue loves bridge and a game called Rummikub, which she and the others had never heard of until they moved in. Rummikub was invented more than 50 years ago by Ephraim Hertzano, a Romanian-born Jew living in Israel, who combined elements of rummy, chess, dominoes and mah jongg to develop the game.

As for the dining room, Spiegel, who is on the food com- mittee, says, “The food is really excellent. We have a chef and he gives us lots of wonderful selections.” Levy agrees: “This is not a hospital. If you have a special diet, there’s no problem. He (the chef ) accommodates your needs. It’s up to you. You feel as if you’re in a top-notch establishment. The staff is warm and friendly and remembers a lot about your needs.” Linz adds, “I’ve had heart surgery, so I ask for my food to be prepared without salt. And there’s always fresh salmon or roasted chicken on the menu.” Have any of them suggested friends and family move to Miravilla? The Himmels, Linz, Levy and Spiegel reply with a resounding group, “Yes!” Sue Himmel describes her feelings this way: “For me moving here with the wonderful staff and the great neighbors was the second best decision I ever made. The first was marrying Morry!”

Carine Nadel is a freelance writer who recently relocated to the Valley.

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