June McSweeney (right) laughs while playing bridge with Elaine Brenner at the Harbour’s Edge retirement community in Delray Beach. Photos by Libby Volgyes/The Coastal Star
By Libby Volgyes
The pool is glittering in the morning light, and Boo Sutton, 82, is just a few minutes early. And as the sunlight bounces off the multimillion-dollar homes just across the Intracoastal Waterway, she hurries to join the water fitness class. It’s a picture-perfect morning in paradise, and it’s suddenly very easy to see why so many residents choose Harbour’s Edge for their retirement.
“It’s a resort. It’s really hotel living,” said Marion Diamond, who declined to give her age. She originally lived in New York state and moved into Harbour’s Edge after living in Boca Raton, along State Road A1A.
“We felt it was home,” she said before descending into the water. “We are lucky that we have everything (here) that will make us happy. The swimming, the food is fabulous. We love the happy hour.”
She and her boyfriend picked out a place together, moved in, and fell in love with each other as they fell in love with their new home.
Located on the west side of the Linton Boulevard Bridge, Harbour’s Edge just celebrated its 25th anniversary. With 267 independent-living apartment homes and 54 beds in the stand-alone health center, the community rests on 20 acres along the Intracoastal.
It offers residents a variety of activities, from an annual gala to current-event discussions; digitally streamed operas and poker nights; trips to the Norton Museum of Art, Miami Marlins games and Café L’Europe; Wii bowling, line dancing, yoga and tai chi.
Bea Shaw works out with light dumbbells during Water Fitness class.
In the Harbour Light Theatre, there’s a furious game of contract bridge going on — Chicago bridge with a $1 buy-in. The rules are simple: Ask questions during the shuffle, not the play.
“What’d ya play, sweetheart?” Elaine Brenner, 89, asks her partner before carefully considering and tossing her card out. “This is the best place in the entire world,” she said before returning her concentration to the game.
Sitting next to her is Marilyn Goldman, 88, who moved in six years ago because she could bring her rescue dog — “a half Maltese and a half question mark.” During the day, when she sits in the rotunda, she fields many questions about Punkin’s health. She keeps a busy day with the myriad of activities.
“I love yoga. There’s also music appreciation, but I don’t sing because I have a horrible voice,” she said.
She does Reiki, loves the rack of lamb offered in the Edgewater dining room and enjoys it when Lynn University Conservatory students come in and give concerts. She participates in current-events discussions and attends the opera broadcasts.
“There’s six dimensions of wellness — physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and vocational,” said Activities Director Judy Stauffer, who started at Harbour’s Edge in October 1987, just two months after it opened. “So we try to make sure we have something of each dimension going on each day.”
That includes tai chi, Giselle in 3D, theme parties, an 18-hole putting green, shuffleboard, a Dakim machine (for brain fitness) and a 10-week course on Beethoven. They bring in speakers, take cruises or trips to the zoo and the aquarium, and have regular poker nights. They also have subscriptions to most of the area theaters throughout Palm Beach and Broward counties.
“It’s very important for them to stay busy; it takes their mind off medical issues or worrying about their kids. And I think the reason they’re here is so their kids don’t have to worry about them,” Stauffer said.
Harbour’s Edge has earned the “Gold Seal” for three years from the state of Florida Panel on Excellence in Long-Term Care — one of only 17 skilled nursing centers recognized statewide. A multimillion-dollar renovation and expansion will take place in the coming years, including renovation of the dining room (adding an outdoor dining area) and more access to the Intracoastal.
“It’s only going to get better,” said Tom Smith, executive director.
The first night that Shirley Bonier moved into Harbour’s Edge, about six months ago, she and her husband sat down in the dining room alone for dinner. They weren’t that way for long, though, because shortly afterward, Elaine Brenner popped over and invited them to join her for dinner.
“Sometimes when you go to a new place, it’s very cliquey, but it’s not like this here,” Bonier said. “Everyone seems very nice and ready to get to know you. My son calls it a senior country club.”
Harbour’s Edge Retirement
401 E. Linton Blvd., Delray Beach
271-7979 or (800) 232-1358
Opened: August 1987
Price range: Monthly service fees range from $3,800 to $6,200 for ‘life care contracts.’ Residents pay a one-time entrance fee ranging from $210,000 to more than $1 million based on unit size and amenities.
Staff size: About 250 employees.
Special features: Harbour’s Edge has transportation, security, a professionally staffed health center, health club, spa, sauna, steam room, library, beauty salon, a waterfront pool, two dining rooms, theater and 18-hole putting green.