Karen Cook found a silver lining during the COVID-19 crisis while sheltering in place in her apartment home.
"I've been very, very grateful that we moved here. My husband died in October, and I'm so glad to be here. We sold both houses—one in Breckenridge, Colo., and one in Florida—and I'm so glad I don't have to worry about those houses," she says.
Being single during social distancing could be a lonely experience, but Karen and her Wind Crest neighbors have found ways to stay social while physically distancing.
"My floor, which we call Motel 6, had a virtual happy hour on Zoom," she says, adding that her residence building, Mt. Rosa, held a "balcony choir" where community members sang from their balconies, a gathering of joyful voices.
Neighbors haven't been the only ones cheering each other up. Wind Crest has developed ways for everyone to connect and stay informed.
On the community's in-house TV channel, staff host virtual town hall meetings; air daily video updates from Executive Director Craig Erickson; and host COVID Connect, a live interactive program with Wind Crest leadership that included COVID-19 updates, Q&As with community members by phone or email, and a fun, real-time survey.
"They keep us very informed," Karen says of Wind Crest's leadership, also noting a hotline available for those who feel they need extra support.
Virtual wedding guest
One very special effort during this time deserves praise. Julia Pollock had been preparing for her niece's wedding for months. She had chosen the perfect dress and shoes and was looking forward to the big event.
"With COVID-19 risk precautions in full swing, she and her family agreed traveling for the wedding would not be in her best interest," says Regional Communications Manager Courtney Benhoff.
Wind Crest's IT and TV programming teams helped organize a FaceTime date so that Julia could still be part of the wedding. She was able to watch and interact from the safety of her Wind Crest apartment home.
"All around the enterprise, in every department, from general services to dining, resident life to finance, sales to health care, marketing and communications to human resources, IT and beyond, our teams are committed to each other and our residents. The appreciation, inspiration, and caring we all feel is astonishing," says Executive Director Craig Erickson.
Everything we need
Of course, community members need to get the essentials, too. After requesting residents to remain in their apartment homes around March 20, in alignment with the state of Colorado's stay-at-home guidance, the Wind Crest team quickly developed a plan of action and care.
Karen says she and her neighbors receive deliveries via Wind Crest's in-home dining program every three days, including snacks; breakfast items; and fresh fruit like oranges, apples, and bananas. "The food has been very good," Karen says.
Additionally, a concierge service delivers toiletries and other items like milk and eggs from the on-campus market to everyone's package shelf at their front door.
While Wind Crest has restricted people coming on campus to make deliveries, community members can still receive their deliveries at the front gate, where vigilantly screened Wind Crest staff then deliver them to the apartment homes.
"I think it's wonderful," says Karen. "I have no complaints at all. It's a lot of work that they are doing to keep us safe."
"I am so proud of our dedicated team members," Erickson says. "During this unprecedented time, our employees are taking exceptional steps protecting the health and well-being of our residents. Thank you to our everyday heroes."
About Wind Crest: Wind Crest, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 84-acre campus in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The not-for-profit community of more than 1,400 residents and 800 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 can be found at WindCrestRetirement.com.
Photo courtesy of Wind Crest
Photo Caption: Julia Pollock virtually attends her niece's wedding during the COVID-19 pandemic. The "date" was made possible by Wind Crest's IT and TV programming teams.
Written by Julia Collins