Denise Maguire was struggling to get her arm back in her jacket after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine when a staff member who works in the finance department at Linden Ponds, the Erickson Senior Living community in Hingham, Mass., where Denise lives, noticed her efforts. “She put down what she was doing and came over to help me,” says Denise, who moved to Linden Ponds with her husband Hari Haridas in April 2018. “I felt so cared for. It was incredible to see staff from all departments across the community—finance, general services, dining services—coming to work on a Sunday to facilitate the vaccine clinics on campus.”
Excellent customer service
The above-and-beyond approach to customer service is a hallmark of Linden Ponds and the Erickson Senior Living enterprise.
“Linden Ponds prides itself on hiring a diverse workforce that is committed to our Erickson Senior Living values and behaviors,” says Executive Director Jim Centola. “Every employee understands that our purpose is to serve the residents of Linden Ponds. Through this commitment to excellence in customer service, all employees understand it is their responsibility, individually and as a collective whole, to see to it that our residents receive exceptional customer service each and every day.”
For Denise and Hari, it's the flexibility and adaptability of the staff, particularly in light of the past year's events, that stand out. “The staff stepped up in extraordinary ways to ensure we had everything we need,” says Denise, who has a background in social work. “We never did without. The vaccine clinics are one example. The clinics were right on campus. Who knows where we would have received our vaccines if we were still living in our house? The timeliness, communication, and coordinated effort were outstanding.”
The full array of onsite services and amenities was one of the primary factors that drew Denise and Hari to Linden Ponds. The couple moved from Cambridge, Mass., to Boston's Hyde Park neighborhood in 2008. “We thought we'd live in that house forever,” says Denise. “But then tasks we took for granted when we were younger became more difficult. We found we were purchasing services we needed on a regular basis, and the cost was adding up.”
The couple began to explore senior living options with the idea that they'd be ready to move in a few years. “Linden Ponds really stood out,” says Denise. “The fact that it was a continuing care community meant that anything we could anticipate needing in the future, like rehabilitation or skilled nursing, was available onsite. The other factor that stood out was what we heard from residents who all said the same thing, ‘I wish I'd moved sooner.'”
Denise and Hari accelerated their timeline and move to Linden Ponds sooner than anticipated. For others who find themselves in a similar situation, Denise has a word of advice. “If you've experienced the typical anxieties people face as they age, the what-ifs, this is the place to come for peace of mind,” she says. “You don't have those worries at Linden Ponds because everything is taken care of by our wonderful staff.”
Centola echoes the sentiment, noting the direct correlation between highly engaged employees and a high degree of quality service and resident satisfaction.
Early vaccine access
By mid-February, 95% of Linden Ponds residents had received the vaccine, which is just one way that staff members have demonstrated that care.
“We regularly hear of ‘mission moments' from residents about how our employees make their days special,” says Centola. “During one of our vaccination clinics, a resident was visibly upset trying to place a call on her cell phone. One of our human resources managers noticed she was having trouble, so she asked if she could help. The resident explained she needed to place an order for dinner but hadn't been able to. It was past time for dinner orders, but the HR manager called the executive chef who responded, ‘I've got you. I have a menu here, and I'm ready to take the order.' The resident was so pleased to have received her vaccine that day and to have received the caring responsiveness from these HR and dining leaders.”
Centola notes the workplace culture fosters those relationships. “We maintain a high level of quality service to residents by creating a work environment for our employees in which they feel respected, empowered, and valued, and therefore engaged in their work,” he says.
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