When news of a novel coronavirus spread across the globe in March 2020, not many could have predicted the way life would change.
“It was an evolving situation,” says Barbara Ward, who lives at Linden Ponds, a senior living community managed by Erickson Living in Hingham, MA, with her husband Bob. “We really began to recognize the pandemic's impact when the stay-at-home orders were issued.”
At Linden Ponds, much has taken place over the past year to help residents thrive and connect in the midst of extraordinary circumstances. 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.
“The one thing my husband and I kept saying to each other was, ‘We're so glad we live here,'” says Barbara. “What would we have done if we were still in our house?”
The culinary professionals at Linden Ponds 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.
“Linden Ponds 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 James Centola. “I'm proud of the innovation and dedication displayed by every employee involved in this effort.”
Gloria Alvino moved to Linden Ponds in 2008 from Brookline, Mass., and says it's one of the best decisions she's ever made.
“The entire staff has been extraordinary, everyone from the medical center under Dr. Tam [medical director], James Centola and the executive team, and Omar Gonzalez [director of dining services] and his team,” says Gloria. “They spent many hours adapting to new ways of doing things, but they were always cheerful and encouraging and willing to go the extra mile. They did an outstanding job and continue to do so.”
Gloria says she, too, learned new ways to engage and connect. Pre-pandemic, she taught a face-to-face class for residents, Heart to Heart on Health and Happiness, Mind, Body, Spirit.
“Very quickly, I learned to use Zoom and record the class in my dining room so it could air on LPTV [the community's closed circuit television channel],” says Gloria, a trained pharmacist and healthcare professional. “In the class I teach people to explore, expand, and experience their own potential, so I have to keep doing that myself.”
Virtual communications rose to new importance, as Centola used LPTV to televise a weekly director's update.
Telemedicine appointments across the Erickson Living enterprise rose to 50,000 in 2020, maintaining continuity of care and same day access to on-site full-time physicians.
“From the very start we worked together across all the Erickson communities with the simple guiding principle of preventing as many cases as possible by designing and implementing the very best infection prevention protocols,” says Matt Narrett, M.D., chief medical officer for Erickson Living.
When vaccines became available, Linden Ponds worked with its partners at CVS/Omnicare to offer onsite vaccine clinics. Over 95 percent of residents have now received both doses.
“The process of getting my vaccine at Linden Ponds was simple,” says Gloria. “The staff did everything you can imagine to keep us safe, well-cared-for, secure, and healthy.”
A total of 94 new residents have moved to Linden Ponds since March 2020, and demand for the lifestyle continues to grow.
“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 Christine Hansen. “Whether it was a traditional in-person appointment or a virtual tour, their comfort was our priority.”
For Gloria, emerging from the pandemic comes with a renewed sense of purpose.
“The pandemic has reminded us we're all interconnected and in this together,” she says. “I can't imagine living anywhere else.”
Comfort, quality care, and community are just a few of the hallmarks of Linden Ponds. Request a brochure or schedule an appointment with the sales team at 617-315-0794 to learn more.