Ann's Choice TV is Community's Hub During Covid-19
During these times of social distancing, Ann's Choice's campus TV studio has become the hub of information, activity, and entertainment for the nearly 2,000 residents at the Erickson Living developed and managed senior living community in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
The TV studio is focused on producing two types of content: information and entertainment, with information taking the lead. "Two of our channels provide updates that pertain just to the campus so everyone knows exactly what's happening in real time," says Community TV Coordinator David Rector, who runs the studio with his colleague Chelsea Rounds.
"As time has gone on, we've realized the benefit of including some smaller entertainment type shoots as long as we can maintain our social distancing and disinfect the equipment between uses," said Rounds. "We make sure to have a great variety of programs from fitness classes, comedy, trivia, and more. There is something for everyone," said Rounds.
The studio also airs a weekly call-in show with Executive Director Chris Donati. "At a time like this, accurate, timely information is essential" notes Donati. "Our residents' safety and well-being are our priority, and we're using every communication resource to inform them of what we're doing. We have created programming to meet all their needs – physical, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual."
Jane Neiger, a 16-year resident of Ann's Choice, says, "Chris is an excellent communicator. He's absolutely truthful and has kept us so well-informed. My friends here agree: We feel comfortable and safe at Ann's Choice."
A Real Team Effort
According to Rector, "Our TV station has always been an integral part of residents' lives. For years we've offered classes in production and editing, putting residents behind the camera and in the booth. That's on hold for now, but residents are still creating content to share with the community."
Residents Ken and Mary Longman, production class "graduates," filmed a history of Ann's Choice just before the stay-at-home order was issued. Featuring the grounds, amenities, and residents enjoying them, the video is "a beautiful reminder of what life will be like when this ends," notes Rector
Ann's Choice has also done its own concert titled "Ann's Choice HOPE through Music."
"Many musicians across the world are putting out programming to entertain people in their homes, and we did something very similar," said Rounds. "Resident Howard "Bud" Williams plays the organ and reached out to the TV Studio to have us record him playing. Bud took it upon himself to reach out to all faith groups on campus, so songs from all faiths would be represented."
Additionally, several Erickson Living communities have pooled content to keep things fresh. "Corporate leadership established a central library of exercise videos," says Rector, "so we launched a new fitness channel. It's an invaluable resource for helping residents stay fit at home."
For entertainment, the studio is pulling residents' favorite plays, concerts, and lectures from the archives. To keep brains sharp, an interactive trivia show, hosted by Director of Resident Life Christa Segal and Manager of Resident Life Beth Muller, called "Live Trivia with Christa and Beth" airs weekly. Marathons of popular shows let residents tune in at leisure. And, until in-person worship is possible, the staff is broadcasting sermons and guided meditation.
"We've received so much positive feedback on all the programming," says Rector. "It's rewarding to hear that we are making a difference in every area of residents' lives."
Rising to the Challenge
Jeff Watson, Erickson Living's Director of Operations, gives high praise to the broadcast professionals and virtual resident volunteers at Ann's Choice. "They deserve great credit for the creative, high-quality programming they've produced throughout this unprecedented situation. Their innovation and hard work have resulted in a heightened level of communication that has kept those on campus connected, engaged, and healthy."
Donati agrees, "We're especially gratified when residents tell us they made the best decision by moving to Ann's Choice."
To learn more about Ann's Choice, visit www.annschoicecommunity.com.
Ann's Choice, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 103-acre campus in Warminster, Pennsylvania. The not-for-profit community of more than 1,900 residents and 1,000 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Additional information about Ann's Choice can be found at AnnsChoiceCommunity.com.
Photo: Resident Howard "Bud" Williams plays the organ for Ann's Choice TV's virtual concert.
Written by Dorrie Ansel