Palm Beach Gardens, FL -- "Across our family of communities, residents and staff are taking extraordinary steps to protect the health and safety of our loved ones, friends, neighbors, and caregivers," says Erickson Living CEO R. Alan Butler, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This commitment and dedication can be seen daily at Devonshire, an Erickson Living community at PGA National, and at Chatsworth, Devonshire's continuing care neighborhood,
as staff work tirelessly to serve and protect each and every community member.as staff work tirelessly to serve and protect each and every community member.
"The teamwork of staff and residents provides an atmosphere of care and safety," says community member Artie Lynnworth. "We are well fed with both information and good food. And all these measures keep us feeling safe, protected, and confident that all is being done for our safety."
Staying in touch
Throughout the crisis, Devonshire management have remained in constant communication with all residents. Daily updates and information are provided, with daily letters and communitywide informational voice messages from Executive Director Jim Wingardner. Family members and friends have also been able to access this important information on the My Erickson app and social media.
President of the Devonshire Residents' Association Bob Frasier keeps in touch with Wingardner on a daily basis.
"Devonshire's response has been thorough and timely," says Bob. "We are updated every day on changes in guidelines designed to keep us safe. I hear from quite a few people by phone and email. I haven't heard a single complaint about the changes in community life made necessary by this pandemic. I've received some good suggestions, which I pass along to Jim Wingardner, who is open to suggestions and, where possible, has implemented these ideas."
In addition to communicating important health and wellness guidelines, Devonshire staff have continually kept residents abreast on communitywide precautionary measures. One of the first programs initiated was the in-home dining program. Rather than enjoying meals at one of Devonshire's five restaurants, staff members personally deliver all meals to community members in their homes.
"Instead of dining in the restaurants, management has made it possible for us to select from a wide range of choices for soups, salads, main courses, accompaniments, and desserts each day," says Artie. "The food is delivered to our door the next afternoon, including the dinner selections and snacks for a morning breakfast. We are well taken care of."
As an added highlight, Devonshire's activities department works diligently to include a puzzle packet with each evening's dinner delivery. The four-page packet includes a variety of puzzles and quizzes.
At your service
In addition to keeping everyone well fed with healthy, nutritious meals, Devonshire, like all Erickson Living communities, launched a concierge program to facilitate the doorstep delivery of newspapers, packages, and other important items by staff members. This program helps minimize outside visitors, further keeping community members safe and healthy.
"There is not a single way in which the staff are not ensuring our safety," says Bob. They prepare our meals and bring them to us. They plan nutritious menus that changes daily. They deliver our packages, medications, newspapers, and our mail. They dispose of our trash. They screen everyone entering the community to minimize the health risk."
As an added enhancement to the concierge program, the Devonshire community implemented an essential items delivery service, providing residents the opportunity to request travel-size/single-serve essential items, including soap, laundry detergent, coffee, and tea from the front desk. These items are provided free of charge, within 48 hours.
"The needs of the residents will change as time goes by, and the concierge program is changing according to the needs of the people," says Bob.
With health, wellness, dining, and the distribution of necessities under control, Devonshire staff continue to look for creative ways for community members to entertain themselves from the comfort of their homes.
"[Resident services manager] Marty Bores and the activities team are creative in finding ways to keep us well entertained," says Bob.
Early on, community members began "meeting" over the phone for conference call bingo.
"It's like a party line," says Bores. "Everyone is having a great time. It's created quite a buzz."
Recognizing that staying connected with one another is important, a group of residents started a neighbor club. Volunteers regularly call neighbors as a way of letting them know they are not alone.
"We call it our virtual coffee hour," says Bores.
Devonshire also provides additional programming on cable Channel 63, including exercise classes, virtual walking tours, concerts, and even a viewing meditation by Deepak Chopra.
"My wife Margy and I make every effort to stay connected," says Artie. "With friends and family, we use FaceTime, Skype, and WhatsApp in addition to emails and phone calls. We do not feel isolated at all. We sometimes see neighbors while we're out walking. We are keeping fit and staying happy and healthy."
In this together
"I am confident that we will look back on this unprecedented health event and be proud of how well we cared for each other," says Butler.
The Devonshire community agrees.
"Staff members ensure our safety through initiatives that keep us ahead of the curve," says Artie. "The Devonshire administration institutes practices that reduce exposure from outside and inside."
"I've been here more than six years and have felt safe and well cared for every single day," says Bob.
About Devonshire at PGA National: Devonshire at PGA National, is one of 20 continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living® and is situated on a scenic 28-acre campus on the grounds of prestigious PGA National. The community is located in Palm Beach County and is home to more than 350 community members. Additional information about Devonshire can be found at DevonshirePGA.com.
Written by Kelly A. Shue