After moving to Linden Ponds, an Erickson Senior Living community in Hingham, Mass., in 2008, Pam Meyer spent the first two years going through life as usual, she says, working full-time and caring for her aging mother.
"I was very busy," Pam recalls. "It was not until I finally retired that I really began to look around and appreciate this wonderful place that I now call home."
At that point, Pam decided to jump into life at Linden Ponds as if she were freshly moved-in. Her first step in pursuing this newfound outlook was signing up for a walking tour of the community, offered by a fellow resident. It was a decision that would not only acquaint her with her new surroundings, but set her on a path she’d still be exploring ten years later.
“It was a good tour, and I appreciated the opportunity to walk the campus,” she says. “But when it was over, I realized that I still had questions, and I couldn’t help but start to think about how I would do things differently.”
Taking the reins
Less than a year after participating in the tour, Pam was presented with the opportunity to lead one herself.
“I knew that these unofficial tours were helpful—the chance to see your community through the eyes of a neighbor, so I jumped right in,” she says. “It also meant that I could structure the tours in ways that I thought would be most helpful. I knew that I wanted to create a tour that was less about walking from building to building, which is something people could do on their own, and more about supplying information.”
Structured like a guided college visit, Pam created the Secrets of Linden Ponds tour to include explanations on how things worked and why things were the way they were.
“During the tour, I stop and provide information as we approach different locations,” she says. “For instance, when we stop in front of the café, I ask, ‘Do you know how the meal plan works?’ Often, specific questions like these spark conversation or encourage questions.”
Personalization is key
“I strive to give a personal tour that really addresses each person’s unique needs,” she says. “We talk about all sort of things, and I try to touch on subjects that go beyond the day-to-day.”
Pam notes that one recent tour discussion led to the question, “What happens during an emergency?” Pam had answered wisely, using last August’s hurricane warnings as an example. “This time of year, people like to hear the details of what happens when we experience a snowstorm.”
Meeting people's needs
The personalization of each tour begins with scheduling.
“For a brief time, I tried to offer tours during time frames,” says Pam. “However, I found that I was best able to meet people’s needs by scheduling each person’s tour at a time that worked for them.”
Most Secrets of Linden Ponds tours begin with a knock at the door.
“I like meeting new residents at their apartment home, rather than asking them to meet me somewhere they may not be familiar with yet,” she says. “Then, I tailor the tour to the person or couple. I’ve had situations where a neighbor has already walked the campus many times and would rather just sit and talk—that’s fine too.”
Although the Secrets of Linden Ponds tour is independent from Linden Ponds’ Welcome Home program—designed to help new residents acclimate to their new life at the community—the Resident Life team gladly shares Pam’s contact information.
“The Secret of Linden Ponds tour is a wonderful complement to the resources we provide to our newest residents,” says Mairi Bleakie, Linden Ponds’ director of resident life. “Pam offers a wealth of information in a personalized and fun way. She shares insights that only a resident would know.”
Pam gets personal satisfaction out of providing the tours.
“The tours give back in so many wonderful ways,” she says. “I’ve not only created friendships with the people I’ve met, but I continue to be amazed by the diversity of people moving to Linden Ponds. I have come across people with incredible backgrounds and so many talents. Spending time together on the tour allows me to get to know new residents on a deeper level that I might not otherwise.”
Following each tour, Pam encourages people to reach out with any additional questions.
“It’s my hope that everyone I meet stays in touch, one way or another. One of the best parts of living at Linden Ponds is our community. I’m grateful to be able to give back to my community in this way. And the friends I make along the way—that’s the icing on the cake.”
To learn more about the engaging, vibrant lifestyle at Linden Ponds, request a brochure or a visit now!