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Family Bonds are Strong at Ann's Choice

November 20, 2018

Employee Marty Kusters enjoys having her parents live on campus.

Beth and Fred Garofalo, who live at Ann's Choice, and their daughter Marty Kusters who is employed there, are all enamored of the Erickson Living retirement community in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

After living in Vero Beach, Florida, for a few years, Beth and Fred decided to move back to Pennsylvania, to be closer to their family.  So, Marty and her sister began researching retirement communities. They were impressed by the environment at Ann's Choice.  "Everyone we encountered smiled and greeted us," Marty says. "There was no doubt we wanted our parents to live there."

When Beth and Fred visited, they experienced the same warmth.  "The friendliness makes us love it here," Beth says. "And there isn't a thing we want that isn't taken care of."  Their bank and pharmacy are on campus, and their doctors are Ann's Choice physicians who practice in the on-site medical center.  Plus, they can enjoy a chef-cooked meal every night for dinner at one of the community's restaurants.

Ann's Choice grew on Marty, too. The welcoming atmosphere was a revelation, she says. "I thought, 'I'm not used to this, and I like it.' "  With her restaurant background, Marty was also acutely aware of the environment in Ann's Choice's restaurants. When she joined her parents there for dinner, Marty observed the calm, collected, and warm interactions between the student servers and community members.

A few years later Marty began a job hunt, and Beth offered some motherly advice: "You're always talking about how much you love being at Ann's Choice," she said. "Why aren't you applying here?"  Marty did apply and was hired as administrative assistant for the dining and resident services departments. Because that position exposed her to many other departments, Marty observed Ann's Choice's  nurturing culture across its management structure. A year later she was promoted to the general manager position at Garden Room Restaurant.

"So many residents and employees have helped me," she says. That supportive campus environment enabled Marty to grow in self-confidence and take on additional responsibilities.

She's part of a campus team that administers values-based behavior training. That comes down to two things, Marty says, "Treat others the way you want to be treated, and always ask yourself, 'how am I acting in this moment.'" For example, because dinner at Ann's Choice is an eagerly anticipated event, "We need to make each evening a warm, inviting environment," Marty says. "We come in every day with the sole purpose of letting residents enjoy the best day they can have."

Feeding hundreds of people every night isn't easy, but Marty knows she can rely on her team. "Everyone's heart is in the right place," she says. "Everyone puts the residents first."

Marty's parents eat in her restaurant every evening, and she's thrilled that she can see them every day. "Not many people can say that," she says.

"It's wonderful to have her so near," Beth responds.

"More and more employees have family members living at our community," says Ann's Choice Executive Directive Chris Donati. "It's heartwarming to see families getting together at work."

When Fred experienced some unexpected health issues, he and Beth were doubly grateful they live at Ann's Choice. To summon help, they pulled their apartment's emergency cord. Immediately, a security team member trained in emergency response came racing to their door.

"When those things happened, we were so happy to be near the kids," Beth says. "Had we been in Florida I'm not sure how we'd have managed."

"I appreciate the doctor and health care on campus," Fred adds. "The doctors are very, very good at what they do."

The couple's peace of mind extends to their children, two of whom live in Colorado.  "When we go to bed at night we know they're safe," says Marty.

To explore available career opportunities at Ann's Choice or other Erickson Living communities, browse the company's Website, jobs.ericksonliving.com.

About Ann's Choice: Ann's Choice, one of 19 continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 103-acre campus in Warminster, Pennsylvania. The community is located in Bucks County and is home to nearly 2,000 residents. Additional information about Ann's Choice can be found at AnnsChoice.com.

Photo: Because their daughter Marty Kusters manages one of Ann's Choice's campus restaurants, Fred and Beth Garofalo enjoy the priceless gift of seeing her every day.

Written by Jacqueline Kimball

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