While residents at Maris Grove, an Erickson Living developed and managed community in Glen Mills, Pa., have been following all CDC protocols for social distancing, the staff have found creative ways to help everyone feel safe, yet connected. A concierge service was developed to leave mail, packages, and essential toiletries on the shelves outside each resident's door, so they don't have to venture out. The dedicated culinary and dining teams deliver three days' worth of healthy, nutritious meals and snacks every three days.
In April, as Passover and Easter approached, Maris Grove's Dining Services team prepared special meals. For example, Jewish residents received "Passover To Go" packages containing boxes of matzah and the ingredients needed to assemble Seder plates, the centerpiece of the holiday table. Residents also enjoyed deliveries of beautiful daffodil bouquets.
Maris residents were overcome with gratitude. One emailed, "You have outdone yourselves. I can't believe that you took the time to make this a comfortable/wonderful holiday for those who celebrate. Words simply cannot express how thoughtful you are and how grateful I am for all you have done for everyone this past month. I will never forget it."
Executive Director Maureen Heckler said, "Our top priority is to keep everyone safe. If we can make life feel a bit more 'normal,' even better. Our residents inspire us every day, and their kind words mean everything to us."
Technology in action
Maris Grove tapped into technology to keep everyone active, engaged, and connected. "Now more than ever, human interaction is vital," Heckler said. "We're putting every resource we have to work in new, imaginative ways."
The community TV station became a hub of activity, offering programs that address residents' spiritual and physical needs. Religious services were available via live stream. Heckler, Medical Director Cathy Smith, and Dining Services Director Dan Lessard hosted a call-in show twice a week, so community members could ask questions, share stories, and offer suggestions. The staff showed off their talents in live segments that include music, guided meditation, and fitness activities.
For the many clubs at Maris Grove, virtual meetings on Zoom and Skype became the go-to for socializing and conducting business. "Everyone misses meeting in-person, but these platforms are a great substitute until we can be together," says Heckler.
The value of community
Heckler noted that living in a caring, resource-rich community like Maris Grove is especially beneficial in unprecedented times like these.
"Many seniors like the idea of 'aging in place,' where they remain in their family home," she said. "Unfortunately, this can be isolating, because you lack the resources as well as the community and activity that provide a sense of purpose."
She added, "Even though our residents are staying in their apartments, they are not isolated. Our wonderful staff, high-speed internet, and support services help them remain physically healthy, mentally engaged, and socially connected."
To learn more about Maris Grove's commitment to senior health and wellness, please visit our website at MarisGroveCommunity.com.
About Maris Grove: Maris Grove, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 87-acre campus in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. The not-for-profit community of more than 1,900 residents and 1,000 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 about Maris Grove can be found at MarisGroveCommunity.com.
Written by Dorrie Anshel