Warm and welcoming. Stimulating and engaging. Meet the residents and discover the Deerfield difference in their own words.

I Am Deerfield.


When Paul Joslin’s father was severely injured on their family farm, Paul found himself managing the day-to-day operations. But Paul wanted something different. While he loved the farm, he had a passion for science and reading which eventually led him to Cornell College.

“I became a high school science teacher but wanted to continue learning and growing.” Now married and with five children, Paul returned to the university and received his Ph.D. Eventually, he accepted a position at Drake University as a Biology Science Educator.

“For me, life really began at 40. That’s when I had my most productive professional life.” Paul joined the National Association for Research and Science Teaching. He helped to plan international science conferences in Australia, Taiwan, Mexico, Israel and Russia and wrote science textbooks and lab manuals.

Paul retired at the age of 70 wanting to maintain control of his future, which led him to Deerfield.

I heard about Deerfield, took a tour and decided this was the best place for me."

“We wanted to maintain control of our future and not be a burden on our children.” Getting rid of all of the house upkeep also played a major role in their decision to move. “Deerfield handles all of the things we don’t want to do anymore: housekeeping, cooking and home maintenance.”

Paul says it was a good decision to come to Deerfield, where he can continue to live independently and have peace of mind knowing help is nearby.

"There comes a time in life when we have to make decisions about the well-being and security of our future. I came to a fork in the road and I took it.

My name is Paul Joslin and I am Deerfield.

“Life Care is a very comforting feature. I’m protecting myself for whatever the future may bring.”

“There are nearly limitless ways to socialize and serve at Deerfield, but if you’re a private person who needs alone time, nobody bugs you about it. 

Dianne shared her appreciation of the people who live at Deerfield. “They come from all walks of life and religions and political views. Another benefit of Deerfield that Paul and I enjoy is the beautiful grounds. The community is surrounded by 43 landscaped acres. It’s very calming and peaceful.”

Paul wanted to share an important message to those contemplating a move to a community. “Don’t wait too long to make your decision. We definitely made the right choice at the right time." “PauI felt we weren’t ready,” Dianne said. "Our health was good but we knew that could change in the future. All of our children were supportive of our decision. You really have to come visit Deerfield before you say you’re not ready. Believe me, once you’ve visited you’ll know you’re ready.”

Dianne and Paul Werger met at a Valentine’s Day dance. True love followed. It was a marriage made in heaven – a nurse and a pastor. Paul’s service as a pastor and bishop led the couple to travel abroad. Their most memorable experience was the opportunity to live in Jerusalem for nine months. After retiring, the Wergers wanted to live closer to their children so they chose Iowa as their home base. 

When asked why they chose Deerfield, Dianne and Paul were quick to respond. “We looked at a number of places, but as soon as we walked into Deerfield we felt the friendly, welcoming atmosphere.

The opportunities to serve and be served are tremendous at Deerfield."

We're Dianne and Paul Werger and we are Deerfield.

You’re the one who continues to maintain control of your own life. You’re the one who continues making your own decisions.”

“Deerfield is impressive. The people are fantastic and there’s so many things to do! Musical performances, health and exercise classes, computer education and great restaurant choices. Sometimes I’m tempted to cut back on work in order to take advantage of all the fun!”

Since she still works, Fitzgerald lauded the many other benefits of living at Deerfield.

It’s also reassuring to know that even though I’m away from my house most of the day, someone’s always there to keep an eye on it."

“I’m happy the kids suggested an active adult community. Being with people is important. It’s been shown that social interactions can extend one’s life. When you realize that Deerfield offers a lifestyle that lets you continue doing the things you enjoy, makes it easy to stay active and offers healthcare services you may need later in life, moving here makes good sense.

“I’ve always enjoyed working. Probably because I was raised on a farm in Iowa where everyone in the family shared chores. I’m not a nurse anymore but I still work. There’s no reason I can think of not to! I love my job of accrediting outpatient surgery facilities.”

Alsie had a job she loved and a beautiful home, but after her husband passed away her children didn’t want her living alone in a big house. “They said it would be healthier to live somewhere where I’d have people around me. The kids suggested I start thinking about moving to an active adult community. I started looking at places with excellent programming and care for life. Deerfield offered exactly what I was looking for."

Deerfield gave me and my kids a level of comfort I’ll always be grateful for.”

“I no longer have to think about cleaning the house, home repairs and maintenance or cooking. The Deerfield staff takes care of all that for me.

My name is Alsie Fitzgerald and I am Deerfield.

If you’re from Iowa, you’ve probably heard the name Julia Gentleman, former Iowa House of Representative and Iowa State Senator. While she was born and raised in Iowa, Julia spent much of her life in the Chicago area, where she attended college, married and raised 5 children.

While raising 5 children is a full-time job itself, Julia always found time to volunteer. Her degree in Political Science and her volunteer work with The League of Women Voters led to her interest in politics.

After her husband died, she wanted to return to her Iowan roots. “I began to consider transitioning to a community. I wanted and needed to be around people. A financial planner suggested I look at Life Care communities because along with their many other benefits, such as predictable future healthcare costs, Life Care communities offer potential tax advantages. Deerfield is the only Type A Life Care community in the Des Moines area so I looked into it.”

“After touring the community and meeting the residents I decided Deerfield was the place for me. Deerfield is comprised of such a diverse group of interesting, well-traveled, fun-loving people. Many are Iowans, but there are also many people here from other areas of the country.”

Julia shared that she appreciates being a part of a community of people who really care about one another. She enjoys the many activities offered on campus and participates in the Dining Committee and Resident Council.

“Deerfield is a comfortable place that gives me security and peace of mind.

"It all comes down to the people. They play an important role in everyone’s life.

The Deerfield people are a big part of what makes living here so rewarding.”

I don’t have to worry about moving should my healthcare needs ever change in the future."

My name is Julia Gentleman and I am Deerfield.

“Compared to other communities we visited, Deerfield residents are a more diverse group from many walks of life. They’re stimulating, kind, welcoming and truly interested in one another.”

One of the many reasons Marcia chose Deerfield is to stay active. Deerfield’s extensive calendar makes that easy. There’s continuing education lectures, art classes, symphony and museum trips and Des Moines Senior University. The list goes on and on and is ever-changing. Deerfield’s residents make participating even more rewarding.

For Marcia and her husband, one of the greatest benefits of Deerfield was that it prepared them for the future should their healthcare needs change. They found a community that provided a vibrant lifestyle with access to a continuum of care.

“I looked at the options for Life Care communities and decided that Deerfield was ideal for us. The atmosphere was amazing so I convinced my husband that moving to Deerfield now, rather than later, was the best move we could make. We discussed our plans with the kids and they were delighted with our decision.”

One of Marcia’s greatest joys in life has always been volunteering. “For years I gave tours of the State Capitol and I still do! At Deerfield, there’s so many ways to volunteer – from sharing my skills with residents to tutoring youngsters from nearby elementary schools.”

“I get to maintain the independent life I want at Deerfield, plus the possibility of help down the road if it’s necessary. It’s nice to have that comfort.”

My name is Marcia Fisher and I am Deerfield.

Marcia Fisher is an Iowan through and through. From attending Drake and the University of Iowa to marrying and raising her three sons in the Hawkeye State.

Meet Deerfield Resident Julia Gentleman

Rethink Retirement at Deerfield

Meet Deerfield Resident Alsie Fitzgerald

13731 HICKMAN RD. | URBANDALE, IA 50323 | 515.331.9676