When Ina Resnikoff relocated to Siena Lakes, the Erickson Senior Living community in Naples, Fla., she was a little nervous, as she didn't know anyone. But that soon changed, thanks to the community's Welcome Home program.
With Welcome Home, residents are introduced to a staff member when they get the keys to their new apartment homes. "We are the connection point," says Resident Service Coordinator Emily Shelpuk, helping to smooth the transition and make it as comfortable as possible. "They come into the community and have so many questions. We are there to provide any information they need."
Ina is grateful for the help she got from Shelpuk when she moved into her one-bedroom, two-bath with den apartment home with her dogs Rocky and Luci. "She demystified the campus. She introduced me to everybody, but she also stayed in touch with me. That's what mattered. Even now, I can call her, and she responds," says Ina.
Shelpuk meets with residents, goes over paperwork, and tells them about the community. If they drive, she'll take them to their designated parking space. Then she'll guide them to their storage area, their apartment home, and anything else they want to see.
When residents move in, a Welcome Home team member will visit them that day to see how they're doing, ensure that their Wi-Fi is working, and see if they have any questions.
"I'll do a follow-up call a couple of days later just to make sure that everything is going well," says Shelpuk. "Sometimes, they'll invite me to come see their apartment home. With some residents, you would think they have been living here for years!"
Welcome Home team members give new residents their contact information and make sure to connect with them frequently within the first weeks of living in Siena Lakes. "Residents enjoy meeting us so early because we become friendly, familiar faces to them," says Shelpuk.
Roy and Patty Fairweather were also grateful for the help they got from Shelpuk and the program. "Emily was extremely helpful with getting our cell phones set up with the My Erickson App," says Patty. After they moved in, Shelpuk "came to our apartment home several times, and if we had problems or questions with anything, she would help us."
Patty says that the best part, for her, was when Shelpuk took them on a tour of the campus. "It was great to have a chance to ask questions when we were on the tour. It was very, very helpful. She has a warm personality and is a lot of fun. She made us feel at ease right away!" Patty says.
"If we had any questions, she was our go-to person," says Roy. "We felt comfortable picking up the phone and calling her. You didn't feel as though you were bothering her. Emily was helpful in every way. She told us about everything we needed to know. The Welcome Home staff makes you feel more than welcome!"
New resident orientation
The new resident orientation also makes folks feel at home. While Shelpuk oversees it, resident Kelley Kissiah plays a huge role in running the program, due to her knowledge and experience living at Siena Lakes.
"Kelley provides an insider's perspective on the community," Shelpuk says. "She understands what it's like to live there 24/7 and can connect with residents that way."
Kelley agrees. "I tell them everything from my point of view - a resident," she says. As a career teacher, she's a natural to help explain the ins and outs of life at Siena Lakes.
"After the orientation, I show people around. We can chat, and then I become an informal contact for some of them," Kelley explains. "Talking to me - it's a way of moving into the social aspect of the community."
Residents get more involved
The Resident Ambassadors program, a volunteer effort led by eight residents, has just recently launched at Siena Lakes.
In this program, one of the ambassadors calls each incoming resident before their move-in date to answer any questions. After they've moved in, another ambassador takes the new residents to dinner, picking them up at their apartment home and escorting them to the restaurant. It's a great way to ensure they enjoy a night out, start exploring the campus, and meet new people.
The purpose of all these efforts is to make their transitions as stress-free as possible. "We're really just making the residents feel welcome," Shelpuk says.
To learn more about affordable, independent senior living at Siena Lakes, request your free brochure to get the scoop on amenities, floor plans, and so much more.