Retirement community finds success with unique approach to programming during a pandemic
Novi, Mich. – At Fox Run, a continuing care retirement community developed and managed by Erickson Living, residents prepare for another busy day. First, an educational workshop, followed by a fitness class led by a favorite staff instructor, then a town hall meeting to discuss important community matters with leadership before sitting down to a chef-prepared dinner and settling in for a classic movie.
Though life looks a bit different for all of us these days in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Fox Run residents continue to enjoy busy, full schedules like these, even while practicing safe social distancing measures. Thanks to the community's in-house television station, all of these activities and more were available for residents to enjoy and participate in, right from the comfort of their own apartment homes.
With more than 12 hours of programming each day, residents have not only been entertained, but also found exciting ways to stay informed and engaged in community life, and connected to their neighbors and friends.
Lights, camera, action
Early on this spring, Fox Run's Resident Life team began ramping up their already robust community TV programming. During these unprecedented times, the TV station continues to serve as a primary communication resource for community leadership to keep residents, staff and others fully informed on COVID-19 preparedness measures.
"It's very reassuring to hear all the preventive measures that the community has taken," says Jon Blum, who moved to Fox Run with his wife last fall. "Throughout the week, community leadership appear on live shows to provide updates on what's happening, what staff are doing to help keep the community healthy, and what we as residents can do. We appreciate the timely information and transparency which creates a strong sense of community and connection."
To further support resident's ability to maintain valued relationships, Fox Run Resident Life Coordinator Katherine Rivera launched "Fox Run Talks Back", a new program airing weekly on Fridays. It features three ten-minute phone conversations with different residents, offering a chance for resident viewers to hear from their neighbors and callers to connect and share stories.
Fox Run has also been leveraging Mentimeter, a unique, interactive presentation software, enabling residents to actively participate in these live shows via their smartphones.
"We can ask questions, and residents respond in real time," explained Rivera. "The residents' answers can be displayed on the screen, so everyone can see each other's responses. It really keeps people engaged."
Optimizing health and wellness
Beyond providing residents with the most accurate and up-to-date community news and information, Fox Run TV continues to support the community in achieving optimal wellness, even during the pandemic with live, taped and virtual programs.
For example, each day, Fox Run's Fitness Team offers multiple exercise programs, including yoga, cardio, and tai chi classes so that residents can maintain their physical fitness while enjoying their favorite activities and instructors from the comfort of their own apartment homes.
To support both mental and spiritual wellness, Fox Run's Pastoral Ministries Coordinator Dominic Francese leads residents in a daily sing-a-long and positive affirmations program. Each week, a non-denominational worship service is also live streamed.
In addition, Master Class programming provides Fox Run residents with opportunities for continuing education on a wide variety of topics; one recent show featured film director Ron Howard breaking down his art and creative process. Others feature virtual tours of museums around the world, ballet performances, and opera—all from the comfort of residents' apartment homes. Each evening, a special movie airs, carefully selected by the Fox Run Movie Committee, featuring everything from classic films to just-released blockbusters.
Thinking outside the studio
"I never imagined that I would experience such huge benefits from watching TV," said Blum, who is a member of the resident TV Club. He helps Fox Run staff run the studio, doing everything from co-hosting the news to operating the soundboards and cameras.
"Not only is the information provided incredibly valuable, but the programs are great fun. I moved here to have lots of fun things to do, and Fox Run has certainly delivered," Blum continued.
Blum, like many Fox Run residents, especially enjoys the interactive programming, such as live bingo and trivia, and special events like virtual happy hours. By leveraging their partners in Dining Services, the Fox Run TV team has been able to provide live entertainment for residents to enjoy alongside a special delivery of wine and appetizers, right to their apartment door.
Another recent highlight was "Dinner and a Movie", a special program featuring one of Fox Run's professional chefs showing viewers how to prepare a summer salad with homemade dressing, plus a film review from Rob Miller, Director of Dining Services. "Walks in the Park" was another, featuring footage captured by staff with a GoPro camera in local parks and around the community's scenic 108-acre campus and enabling residents to experience springtime in bloom, even while they were staying safely at home.
For residents like Jon Blum, the TV station has provided an additional sense of community and calm during these challenging times.
"We are so grateful to be here and not on our own in our former home," said Blum. "At Fox Run, everything is provided for me. I can stay in my apartment, which is the safest thing. You can't do that if you're living in a house. I feel like I'm so much better off at Fox Run than my friends who live alone and still have to go places and get things, and manage their house. Here, the staff takes such great care of us; everyone takes care of each other, really. We are very happy that we're here.
About Fox Run: Fox Run, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 108-acre campus in Novi, Michigan. The not-for-profit community of more than 1,300 residents and 750 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 can be found at FoxRunNovi.com.
Photo Caption: On "Dinner and a Movie", one of Fox Run's professional chefs show residents how to prepare a fresh, healthy summer salad, complete with homemade dressing. The combination film review and cooking show is just one of the creative programs launched by the community's in-house TV station during the COVID-19 pandemic to support residents' multi-dimensional health and wellness.
Photo Courtesy Fox Run