Novi, Mich. – May 7, 2020 – When stay-at-home orders were enacted around the country in response to the coronavirus pandemic, simple things like buying toilet paper, getting exercise, and staying in touch with loved ones became difficult. But thanks to quick action taken by Erickson Living's management team and the staff at Fox Run, staying safe at home is much easier and more comfortable for the more than 1,300 retirees who live at the community.
Even before the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the U.S., Erickson Living enacted its emergency preparedness plan and assembled a task force, which works tirelessly to implement appropriate protocols to protect the health and well-being of residents, staff and their families based on the latest information from the CDC, as well as local health departments and governments. Safety measures, such as restricting nonessential visitors and screening staff and essential visitors for COVID-19 symptoms, were quickly put in place at all Erickson Living-managed communities, including Fox Run.
"All 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," Erickson Living CEO Alan Butler wrote in a letter to all employees and residents. "Your support and willingness to help are an inspiration to us all—and a reminder that if we band together, we can overcome any challenge."
Plans in place
At Fox Run, the staff work hard to enable residents to remain comfortable in their apartment homes. Mail and newspapers are delivered directly to residents' doors, and the staff even provide pet walking services. As part of the community's robust in-home dining program, Fox Run residents are fortunate to have meals delivered right to their doors by the dining services staff.
"The Fox Run staff has been extraordinary during this period," says resident Chuck Dause. "We have been asked to stay in our apartments and staff are delivering meals, mail, newspapers and even individual orders from the campus market and pharmacy."
Fox Run set up this concierge service to provide residents with necessities like toiletries and creature comforts such as coffee, tea and other items while sheltering in place. All levels of staff are pitching in to provide residents with the things they need.
"The employees here have made it their personal mission to save lives,'" says Allison Murphy, Fox Run's director of sales. "Anything we can do to help people stay home and stay safe, we are doing. It's a very challenging time for everyone. Employees are working long hours to support the residents, but we feel so good about the work we are doing."
Social distancing has made it challenging to stay as connected with friends and family. But Fox Run residents are finding new ways to stay engaged with their favorite activities and in touch with loved ones.
For example, Fox Run staff print and distribute a weekly entertainment guide called Fox Run Connection, which includes puzzles, trivia, journal prompts, and important information. The in-house TV station is a hub for communication and entertainment during the crisis.
"We have live shows daily to keep residents updated, new fitness classes, a daily show from pastoral ministries, weekly bible study and religious services, daily movies, opera and Broadway shows, and we just started bingo live," says Katherine Rivera, community resources manager. "We've added Fox Run Talks Back, where we call residents, group leaders, and Resident Advisory Council members to chat with them live."
Chuck is using his time at home to focus on fitness. He says he added two of the televised exercise classes to his morning routine.
"I'm actually in better physical shape than I've been in for ten years," he says.
Fox Run family
Both residents and staff at Fox Run often describe the community as a big family, and they had a chance to prove how true that was during the pandemic. Geri Angel, who is the chair of the Resident Advisory Council, which acts as a liaison between residents and staff, recruited 75 volunteers to make calls to check in with their neighbors.
The purpose of the calls was to identify any support community members might need while staying at home and to simply provide a friendly voice on the other end of the line. Interestingly, the calls gave some residents who had never met before the chance to get to know one another, and many have made plans to meet for dinner when the on-site restaurants reopen.
"It's been a really unique bonding experience," Geri says. "Even though we are separated, we are keeping our community together, and I think it will be stronger because of these comfort calls."
Messages of appreciation
Community members deeply appreciate the efforts Fox Run's staff made to keep them safe and comfortable. To show their appreciation, Geri is spearheading a campaign to encourage residents to hang thank-you signs on their apartment home doors. Management and staff were touched by the tributes, and Geri says Executive Director Mike McCormick mentioned how gratifying it was to see the signs each time he appeared on the in-house TV station.
"Oh, you should see the community," says Murphy. "There are hundreds of thank-you notes on people's doors—calls, cards, letters just thanking us for our tireless work to keep them safe."
To learn more about Fox Run's commitment to senior health and wellness, please visit our website at FoxRunNovi.com.
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: Throughout the community's response to coronavirus, Fox Run residents took to crafting handwritten thank you notes to show their appreciation for staff's hard work delivering meals, mail, packages and more to keep resident safe and comfortable at home.
Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy Allison Murphy
Written by Meghan Streit