When news of a global pandemic broke in early 2020, many didn't realize how drastically the world would change.
"It didn't really sink in until May or June," says Allison Dolan, who lives at Brooksby Village, a senior living community managed by Erickson Living in Peabody, MA. "My initial thought was, 'Okay, we'll stay home for a few weeks and then everything will pass.' My perception kept changing as circumstances evolved."
Brooksby Village, where Allison has lived since 2017, enacted preventative measures before the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the United States. The executive team acted decisively and with innovation, creating new standards of operational excellence to protect the health and well-being of residents and staff.
“Brooksby Village and our corporate partners at Erickson Living worked together from the outset of the pandemic to activate a comprehensive plan to protect the health and wellbeing of those who live and work at our community,” says Executive Director Tracie Bettano. “I'm proud of the innovation and dedication displayed by every employee involved in this effort. The support and partnership from residents, employees, and families was remarkable – it was a true community effort.”
The culinary professionals at Brooksby Village adapted their carry-out and delivery meal programs to meet public health guidelines. The community rolled out a concierge program, which included doorstep delivery of newspapers, packages, mail, and everyday conveniences.
“I was very impressed with the meal delivery,” says Allison. “We had a wide variety of menu options.”
Staff members across the community assumed roles outside of their typical scope of work to meet the evolving needs within the community.
“I admired how the staff kept tweaking processes to improve them,” says Allison. “It didn't matter what somebody's official job was, they worked where they were needed.”
Bettano and Associate Executive Director Justin Paradis gave televised updates throughout the pandemic response which aired in resident apartments on the community's closed circuit television channel.
“I was very pleased with the management updates,” says Allison. “I started to write email summaries of the weekly updates from our executive team, and I emailed the summaries to my neighbors as a way for us to stay informed and connected. It started organically, and now the email list has grown and reaches a number of people in the community.”
As amenities and activities began to safely and thoughtfully reopen, Brooksby's executive team followed a “crawl, walk, run” approach.
“Several of my activities are picking back up,” says Allison, who belongs to multiple craft groups, including the Heart Ladies, the Afghan group, and the artists of the Towne Centre clubhouse. She also facilitates two support groups on campus, the Parkinson's support group and the weight loss support group.
Now, as the community looks ahead to the future, brighter days are ahead in 2021. In partnership with CVS/Omnicare, Brooksby Village offered onsite COVID-19 vaccine clinics and 96 percent of residents have received both doses.
“The vaccine clinics were fantastic,” says Allison. “When I saw the news reports about all the challenges people faced getting the vaccine, it made me feel truly blessed to live here.”
Demand is high for the Brooksby Village lifestyle, and the community continues to improve in order to bring the highest level of excellence and service to residents. The Towne Centre clubhouse will undergo renovations this spring.
“We have quite a few exciting projects ahead of us as they relate to community improvements and our long-range plans,” says Bettano.
For those interested in the Brooksby lifestyle, the sales team offers a variety of ways to learn more.
“Just like the rest of the community, our sales team adapted to meet future residents and priority list members where they were with the pandemic,” says Sales Director Suzanne Davis. “Whether it was a traditional in-person appointment or a virtual tour, their comfort was our priority. As a result, 114 new residents moved to Brooksby in 2020.”
For Allison, the promise of a brighter future includes renewed hopes for travel and enjoying an active lifestyle. She already has two trips planned for later this year.
“I'm looking forward to traveling safely,” says Allison. “Hopefully my trips can go off as scheduled.”
Consider Brooksby Village if you're interested in living in an active senior independent living community. Beautiful walking paths, gardens, resort-style amenities, an on-site medical center staffed by full-time medical professionals, and new friends await. Request a brochure