While residents at Cedar Crest, an Erickson Living developed and managed community in Pequannock, NJ, have been following New Jersey's stay-at-home order, the staff has found creative ways to help everyone feel safe, yet connected.
Cedar Crest has arranged for all meals, mail, and packages to be delivered to every apartment home. A concierge service is delivering items such as toiletries and other odds and ends from the on-site market, like soup, milk, and eggs. And the community's in-house TV station has produced exercise programs, religious services, virtual sing-a-longs, instructional art classes as well as informational talks from the administration to keep everyone informed.
"This is the safest place to be," says Joan Sheehan. "I can't be more thankful. Everybody here is doing a marvelous job."
The Cedar Crest administration took measures early to keep its 1,800 residents safe during the COVID-19 crisis, including a stay-at-home directive in late March. Residents are urged to not leave their apartment homes, and the community is restricting visitors and vigilantly screening staff.
No grocery store? No problem
"The concierge desk is fantastic. I can still get things from the market delivered to us," says Kathleen Bowen.
Her daughter delivers additional groceries to the front gate. From there, a screened Cedar Crest employee delivers them to Kathleen and her husband Alan. Other residents order groceries from Peapod, Giant Food Store's grocery delivery service, which is delivered in the same fashion.
But grocery orders aren't necessary. Cedar Crest prepares meals and snacks in its restaurant kitchens for delivery to each apartment home. "The food is very good," Joan says.
The community even has arranged for delivery from a few local restaurants. "They've done an absolutely marvelous job in a heartbeat," Kathleen says.
Staying social while social distancing
Just because they don't interact in person, community members have still been quite social, checking in on each other and family with phone calls, the Internet, and video calls.
"I call a lot of my neighbors just to see how they're doing. It makes me happy just to hear their voices," says Kathleen.
Cedar Crest's TV channel has provided a source of connection and engagement for many residents, from live happy hours to origami lessons and fitness classes.
Resident Marilyn Kaplan led a sing-along for neighbors and staff from her balcony, which was aired live on community TV. "It was very entertaining," Kathleen says.
During Holy Week, residents could participate in different religious services by watching them on the community TV channel. "They're really taking care of our entire population here," says Joan.
Donna, who typically enjoys visiting the on-site fitness center and walking on campus, appreciates the fitness classes she can do in her apartment. "There are many different kinds of exercises. In fact, some of the exercises are hard!" she says.
In addition to taking precautions and providing ways for community members to stay active and engaged within their apartment homes, Executive Director Todd DeLaney, Associate Executive Director Kristen Compton, and the administrative team have made transparency a top priority. Todd hosts a live call-in show on community TV during which residents have an opportunity to ask questions and receive real-time answers from him, Director of Medical Center Peter Orlic, and other team members.
"They are very transparent. Todd and Kristin are doing a wonderful job, and all the people employed here. I feel I'm very well informed," says Joan.
When the stay-at-home directive lifts, Joan looks forward to getting outside and starting bocce with her neighbors. "It's such a beautiful campus," she says. "It's wonderful to be outside here."
To learn more about Cedar Crest's commitment to senior health and wellness, please visit our website at CedarCrestCommunity.com.
About Cedar Crest: Cedar Crest, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 130-acre campus in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. The not-for-profit community of more than 1,800 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 Cedar Crest can be found at CedarCrestCommunity.com.
Written by Julia Collins