Residents and Staff Members Help Newcomers Meet New People

Linda Esterson
February 7, 2024
Seabrook residents

When retirees move to Seabrook, an Erickson Senior Living community in Tinton Falls, N.J., residents and staff members work together to ensure that they feel right at home from day one. 

Barbara Tanis-O'Neal, who moved to Seabrook in 2017 with her husband Mack, is one of those welcoming residents.   

"It's a new home and it's a new way of life for people," she explains. "We want to help them feel comfortable and connected to the community right away."

To ensure her new neighbors' transitions are as seamless as possible, Barbara founded Campus Contacts, a program that matches each new resident with a longtime resident who can show them around campus and answer any questions. With 98 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, four on-site restaurants, a fitness center, more than 100 clubs and groups, and a few hundred activities every month, there is a lot to learn about at Seabrook!

"We also have Newcomers' Connections, another resident-run group, and Welcome Home, which is led by Seabrook team members. We want new residents to have the best experience possible," she says. 

Campus Contacts

Whether newcomers are interested in visiting the aquatics center or learning more about clubs and groups they can join, Campus Contacts members are there to help. 

"Thanks to Campus Contacts, new residents also get the opportunity to meet many of their neighbors," notes Barbara. "The group hosts a monthly dinner and orientation for residents who have joined the community over the past few months."

There, they meet the community's executive team and key department leaders and learn more about Erickson Senior Living, the on-site medical center, and services and programs offered at the community.

Barbara is a natural ambassador for the welcoming community, as she got involved in campus activities and made lots of friends soon after her move. In addition to running Campus Contacts, Barbara serves as president of the Protestant Council, treasurer of a chimes group called the Ringers, and a notary for the community. She also supports the Seabrook Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships to high school students who work at the community.

A group for newcomers 

Another source of support for new residents is the Newcomers' Connections group, a club created and led by resident Pat Batten. 

The group organizes monthly events with featured speakers to bring new residents together, providing even more opportunities to connect. 

"These activities are absolutely essential for new residents," Pat notes. "We also encourage them to connect with other newcomers and residents that share their niche--like playing canasta or joining an art class--or find something that interests them." 

Pat is relatively new to the community herself--she moved to Seabrook with her husband Ed in spring 2022. She also participates in several subcommittees of the Resident Advisory Council (RAC), has joined a book club, and takes a watercolor class. 

Welcome Home

Even before they move to the community, incoming residents are paired with a Welcome Home representative--a staff member who shares information about everything Seabrook has to offer. 

On the day they receive the keys to their new apartment home, newcomers meet with their staff contact to review important information and processes. They receive a comprehensive package of information, including essential details like campus maps, a resident directory, and a resident handbook. 

Each Welcome Home representative keeps in touch with their assigned residents, ensuring they have a good understanding of the resources, services, and departments on campus--even after they've settled in. 

"It's reassuring for residents to have that kind of support," explains Administrative Assistant Christina Louie, who oversees the Welcome Home program. "There is so much going on, and residents have the opportunity to customize things to their needs with the right guidance."

She adds, "Many residents equate living at Seabrook to living in a college dorm--in the best way! Thanks to Campus Contacts, Newcomers' Connections, and Welcome Home, new residents can make the most of their next chapter here. Having firsthand experience from longtime residents and support from staff is invaluable."

To learn more about senior living at Seabrook, request your free brochure to get the scoop on amenities, floor plans, and so much more.