Parkville, Maryland—On a recent morning walking by the Quarry Grille at Oak Crest, Dan Plakatoris, sales manager, heard a familiar voice among many.
"It was undoubtedly my Mom," he said with a smile.
Indeed it was Janet Plakatoris, who moved from her condo in Bel Air to Oak Crest in April 2015, enjoying coffee with a close-knit group of residents who convene daily to socialize.
Janet and Dan are part of a growing nationwide trend: employees having family members who live at an Erickson Living community.
A true family affair
The Plakatoris family has its roots in adjacent Harford County. Janet worked as a registered nurse, a career taking her from a coronary care setting to school nursing, most notably at North Harford Middle School. Dan and his wife raised three daughters and still live in Fallston.
"I worked for BGE in customer relations for 11 years, but then became a 'stay-at-home' dad. It was a great decision for our family as it meant someone would always be there for our children and my wife could flourish in her career," described Dan.
The transition back to the workplace found him considering Erickson Living. "As our daughters grew more independent, it was time for me to pursue a career again. I knew a friend who worked at Erickson Living, and he raved about the company. It took nearly 18 months, but eventually I accepted a position within the sales office at Oak Crest in 2014. It was important for me to work in an environment where I had total belief in the mission and goals of what we do."
At nearly the same time, Janet was considering the next chapter of her life following the passing of her husband, Mark. She was aware of Oak Crest, knowing friends who lived at the community and attending luncheons to become familiar with the services and lifestyle.
"The turning point was when Dan began his career at Oak Crest," noted Janet. "He told me 'I bet you'll love the atmosphere and all of the activities.' He certainly proved correct!"
Life at Oak Crest
She selected a Georgetown floor plan, an extra-large one-bedroom apartment with a den that fit her lifestyle. It didn't take long for Janet to make friends and become involved.
More than three years later, Janet serves as Chair of the Protestant Faith Community. She volunteers with the Pen Pal Group that interacts with students at nearby Carney Elementary School and also at the assisted living neighborhood at Oak Crest with music activity programs. She is a member of the Resident Sales Ambassadors and Welcome Committee, swims at the new aquatics center and enjoys playing bridge with friends.
"I'm always on the move," said Janet.
"Her calendar is busier than mine," said Dan, only half-jokingly.
But, on any given week, there is still time for the mother-son duo to chat and occasionally share a cup of coffee. They even celebrated Dan's birthday in October by hosting a family dinner at one of the community's private dining rooms.
"Let's face it. Professional careers can be very busy and put thousands of miles between adult children and their parents," noted Janet. "For our family, life at Oak Crest is a blessing."
Dan was quick to agree.
"It provides me with feelings of satisfaction and comfort when I see my Mom contributing to the greater community and interacting with fellow residents in a secure environment," said Dan. "Her life truly serves as a catalyst when I introduce new customers and their family members to Oak Crest."
Beyond Janet and Dan
The Erickson Living family connection is not just limited to Dan and Janet. James Lefter, Dan's uncle, also resides at Oak Crest. And in the last year, his daughter Lauren has interned and performed temp work at the sales office of Charlestown, a sister community in Catonsville.
"There is a great sense of pride when you see employees who have loved ones living at one of our communities," said Mark Roussey, Executive Director of Oak Crest. "Those family connections are extra special."
About Oak Crest: Oak Crest, one of 19 continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 87-acre campus in Parkville, Maryland. The community is located in Baltimore County and is home to more than 2,100 residents. Additional information about Oak Crest can be found at OakCrestCommunity.com.