In August 1997, Lou Chaiken saw an ad on TV for Seabrook, an Erickson Senior Living community then under construction in Tinton Falls, N.J.
Today, as Seabrook celebrates its 25th anniversary, Lou says his move from Brooklyn, N.Y., to the community was "...one of the best decisions I ever made in my life."
Growth over the years
As a "pioneer" resident, one of the first retirees to move to Seabrook when it opened, Lou recalls the amazement he felt watching the construction of each additional building. The community's active, worry-free lifestyle has continued to attract retirees from all over the country.
He witnessed the formation of the first clubs and groups and the opening of the pool, where he was excited to start each day with a swim. He's been an integral part of the growth of the Seabrook Jewish community and became the group's first president.
"I've made a lot of friends at Seabrook," he notes. "It's wonderful to experience the culture and see everyone engaged and enjoying themselves."
Craig Mecum, a senior HVAC mechanic in Seabrook's engineering department, is a pioneer staff member. "The best part of being here since the beginning was being able to see every building go up and all of the residents move in," he says. "I feel lucky to have seen the community grow."
When Adam Van Slooten joined the kitchen staff in one of Seabrook's brand-new, on-site restaurants, he was a high school student. Today, after holding nearly every dining position in the community's restaurants and catering service, he's assistant manager at the Princeton restaurant.
"I've developed strong bonds with a lot of residents and coworkers," he says. "I like generating excitement through creative menus and themes at the restaurants. It's a good feeling when you put effort into something and the residents appreciate it."
To recognize the 25-year milestone, residents and staff alike have enjoyed events all year, including a volunteer appreciation breakfast, a resident art and fashion show, and a telethon to support the Resident Care Fund, which supports those who, through no fault of their own, have outlived their resources.
A ceremony on anniversary day (Monday, November 6, 2023) will honor the community's pioneers and kick off a weeklong celebration.
On Tuesday, the pastoral ministries team will lead a Blessing of the Buildings, followed by an elegant meal in the restaurants. On Wednesday, interfaith celebration services will be held. That Thursday, the community time capsule, buried five years ago, will be unearthed and a new capsule will replace it. An official toast will follow in the clubhouses for residents and staff.
On Friday, a bench will be dedicated in honor of Seabrook's 25th anniversary near the miniature golf course, followed by a resident and staff tournament. That evening, Seabrook will host the 25th Anniversary Celebration of Music. The celebrations culminate in a gala on Saturday evening.
While Seabrook honors its past, it continues to look forward to the future as well. The community recently completed renovations to the Tides Café and the fitness center in Town Square.
This past spring marked the beginning of a 24-month renovation of Village Center, commencing with upgrades to the clubhouse and the Fireside restaurant as well as the construction of Seabrook's newest dining venue, The Cove.
Also in the works are upgrades to the aquatics center's locker rooms, the addition of gaming tables and a large lounge area, and a redesigned lobby. A well-being suite, featuring acupuncture and massages, will open in late 2024.
Renovations were planned with the input of the Resident Advisory Council.
"We are always evolving to meet the needs of our residents. As a result, we remain at the forefront of senior living," says Jen McNamara, Seabrook's executive director. "Our residents provide very thoughtful feedback, and we appreciate that. We're all very invested in keeping Seabrook the warm, welcoming place they love to call home."
Sense of pride
As the community continues to evolve, residents and staff only gain a greater sense of pride for where they live and work.
"We've been a trusted name for 25 years, and people are proud of it--especially the residents," McNamara states.
Throughout the growth and progress, Seabrook has retained its openhearted and friendly spirit, Mecum says. "Residents and staff always say hello and smile when passing in the hallway. You feel like you are part of a family."
To learn more about senior living at Seabrook, request your free brochure to get the scoop on amenities, floor plans, and so much more.