After moving to Windsor Run, an Erickson Senior Living community in Matthews, N.C., in late 2020, Dick and Sonja Heimlich eagerly embraced their new lifestyle filled with fun, friends, and bountiful activities.
"That's one of the best parts of moving to a community that is young and growing," says Becky Dinello, Windsor Sun’s resident services coordinator. "Every resident enjoys the unique opportunity to contribute to the growing list of activities which reflect their favorite hobbies and interests."
Fulfilling the Erickson Senior Living mission to “share our gifts to create a community that celebrates life,” Dick began working with staff to launch new activities that highlight his commitment to sustaining physical and intellectual health.
First, Dick approached staff members about starting a chair volleyball group - something he always enjoyed playing before his move to Windsor Run.
“Chair volleyball adds physical activity to your day,” he says. “But the best part is that the players laugh a lot. The rules of the game require that you stay seated as you hit a 20-inch beach volleyball across the net. Anything can happen when you hit the ball! Most points end with laughter from both sides of the net.”
Dick then worked with Fitness Director Timothy Dean to locate a space to accommodate the sport - specifically, somewhere with high ceilings and enough room to spread out up to 20 chairs. Once the space was identified, Dick went to work obtaining equipment and recruiting players.
“At our first session, everyone enjoyed themselves,” Dick says. “We continue to attract new players - as well as neighbors who enjoy watching us play. With all the laughter, we get a lot of attention.”
After the initiative to help his neighbors get a workout in, Dick approached Dinello with an idea to offer new learning opportunities in the form of video lectures.
“I previously worked with One Day University (ODU) to bring lectures to the residents at my former community,” he says. “I really wanted to bring something educational to Windsor Run. ODU consists of 500 video lectures on the arts, science, politics, history, psychology, and lifestyle subjects, all given by experts in their fields.”
Last September, as a result of Dick’s suggestion, Windsor Run began a trial membership with ODU.
In-person and on TV
“I selected four lectures that I felt would be interesting to members of the community,” says Dick. “We aired the lectures to an in-person crowd in the Willows neighborhood. I also selected a lecture to air nightly on our in-house TV station to introduce as many people as possible to the classes.”
Following the series of classes, Dick surveyed the attendees of the in-person sessions.
“It was immediately clear that there was a lot of interest,” he says.
As a result, Windsor Run signed up for a communitywide subscription to ODU. Dick continued to carefully review and select the lectures for viewing, welcoming input from his fellow residents. “I have a good idea of what will be most popular,” he says, “But I also want to ensure that interested residents have the chance to express their preferences.”
To achieve this goal, Dick’s neighbor, Don Snyder, regularly surveys participants to ask their preferences on future classes. In addition, every resident enjoys access to the complete library of ODU programming on any of their own personal devices.
As he embarks on his second year at Windsor Run, Dick continues to look for new ways to contribute to the fabric of the community.
“Sonja and I enjoy our new life at Windsor Run,” he says. “We like the campus, the surrounding open areas, and easy access to shopping centers nearby. We are also impressed with the leadership and responsiveness of the management team.”
And while Dick says that he will continue to manage the ODU programs and chair volleyball games, “there will always be opportunities to try something new,” he says.
To learn more about affordable, independent senior living at Windsor Run, request your free brochure to get the scoop on amenities, floor plans, and so much more.