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Tom Garvin says that residents of Gladwyne’s Waverly Heights community feel as if they are at a resort, and beginning in September that experience will get even more spectacular.

By late 2017, Waverly Heights will have added 10 deluxe apartments, renovated its dining rooms, enlarged its pool, added a technology center, expanded its fitness center and beefed up the offerings at its salon to include massage and manicures/pedicures. In other words, a great situation is getting better.

“We are placing a strong emphasis on health, wellness and dining,” says Garvin, Waverly Heights’ CEO. “We are providing a great lifestyle as people age. They are able to stay mentally active and engaged. We are increasing people’s longevity through engagement.”

A key to the entire expansion was how Waverly Heights’ management, trustees and its residents worked together. With up to seven members of the Board of Trustees community members, plans for the project were assembled in a unique, cooperative effort.

“We’re what I would consider a three-legged stool, with the residents, staff and trustees collaborating to create an exceptional environment,” Garvin says.

Seven of the 10 new apartments are 2,050 square feet, while the other three are 1,795-square foot units. Each will include two bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, an office, den and open floor plan that includes a great room with a kitchen, dining area and sitting area. Covered porches will feature ceiling fans. There are hardwood floors, tiled showers, gas fireplaces and quartz countertops.

From top: The front of the new deluxe apartments; a look at the back of the apartments.

The response was overwhelming. All 10 apartments were sold within two weeks to future residents who are anxious to take advantage of Waverly Heights’ amenities but also have independent lives on campus and off.

“We are in a wonderful residential setting, close to Philadelphia, New York City and Washington D.C.,” says Vice President, Director of Marketing Janet Thompson. “Our campus of 60-plus acres is lush.”

Thompson and Garvin visited a variety of life-plan communities to get ideas for Waverly Heights’ enhanced dining experience. They found residents prefer a “destination dining” feeling, according to Garvin, and the renovations will reflect that desire. There will be an emphasis on farm-to-table ingredients in dishes, and further engagement with residents will include meals prepared tableside.

The main dining room will contract, since more residents are interested in informal options. The casual area will be re-themed and expanded, and as will the bistro, which is self-serve. Waverly Heights is adding a dining terrace and will feature “pop-up” dinner events that include Mediterranean, Caribbean, Italian and Chop House options.

Waverly Heights’ pool is an important center for residents, and it is being renovated to include increased lap lanes, as well as room for water aerobics and other classes. The fitness center will also expand.

“We have a strong use of the center, because residents want to stay fit and strong in their retirement,” Garvin says.

Waverly Heights will add an aerobic and dance studio to its current offerings of Tai Chi and yoga, which had previously been held in a different part of campus. “This gives us the chance to do it all in one spot,” Garvin says.

There will be more to experience in the salon, including massage and pedicures, to go with hair and nail services. And the new technology center is sure to be a big hit in helping community members become more comfortable with the Internet and social media.

“More of our residents want to learn about technology and be engaged with it,” Garvin says. “We will offer classes and iPad training.”

It’s all part of the plan to make Waverly Heights even more convenient and attractive for current and future residents. By offering new living opportunities, the community is moving to another level, one on which independent retirees can live as comfortably as just about anywhere else. By upgrading dining, salon, recreational and technological offerings, Waverly Heights will enhance the overall experience for its 275 independent members and its 90-95 Health Care Center residents.

“Waverly Heights consistently strives to exceed resident expectations while offering world class amenities and services,” Garvin says. “When completed, our project will satisfy the desires and needs of future residents, while adding value to the lives of our current residents.”


Waverly Heights is a non-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community located in the heart of Philadelphia’s Main Line. Beyond the beautiful gardens and lawns, Waverly Heights offers unparalleled service to residents in an atmosphere of classic style and elegance.

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