Ashburn, Virginia--While not a typical year, 2020 will be one for the record book. What will community members at Ashby Ponds, an Erickson Living-managed community in Ashburn remember most? Perhaps as a challenging year made easier by a dedicated team who met their needs while keeping them safe and secure amidst a pandemic.
1. Safety first: From the onset of the pandemic, Ashby Ponds acted swiftly, staying ahead of guidelines issued by the CDC as well as state and local health departments. Throughout 2020, Ashby Ponds placed its highest priority on providing an effective response to COVID-19, taking every precautionary measure necessary to protect the safety and well-being of residents and staff. Based on this effective response, the community has been able to safely reopen, in phases, and in alignment with CDC, state, and local infection prevention protocols.
2. Extra support: With all pressing needs met right on campus, Ashby Ponds community members were able to safely remain in their homes throughout Virginia's stay-at-home order. Ashby Ponds, like all Erickson Living-managed communities, launched a concierge program to facilitate the doorstep delivery of newspapers, packages, and other important items by staff members. As an added enhancement to the concierge program, Ashby Ponds implemented an essential items delivery service, (nicknamed Amazon Ponds), providing residents the opportunity to request essential items, including soap, laundry detergent, coffee, and tea from the front desk. These items were provided free of charge, within 48-hours. In addition, residents continued to enjoy access to campus-based telemedicine services as well as on-site medical facilities to accommodate in-person consultations.
3. Staying connected: In 2020, Ashby Ponds staff took measures to ensure that residents stayed engaged with family and friends while minimizing exposure to the virus through the use of FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom. Ashby Ponds community members also received daily communications from members of the management team. A live television update aired each day at 4 p.m., hosted by executive director Will Nance. In addition, all of Ashby Ponds' TV team worked creatively to provide additional programming, including the popular Tuesday Happy Hour, interfaith Sunday services, live bingo and trivia games, lectures, and Zoom interviews with local politicians.
4. Well-fed: One of the first programs initiated, in response to COVID-19, was the in-home dining program. Rather than offering meals at one of Ashby Ponds' five campus restaurants, staff members personally delivered all meals to residents in their homes in the spring. Ashby Ponds director of dining services, John Porter, provided frequent updates regarding the food selection process and delivery, routinely appearing on Ashby Ponds-TV explaining the program and participating in question and answer sessions with residents.
5. Record number of new residents and priority list members: One of the many unexpected results of the recent COVID-19 crisis was a renewed look at priorities and a desire to make plans for the future. In 2020, people, many of whom planned a move to Ashby Ponds at a future date, recognized the importance of the vast safety net available to community members. This translated in an increased demand for the Ashby Ponds lifestyle. In addition, the sales team remained in constant contact with priority list members throughout the year, even delivering care kits to their homes.
6. Hot real estate market: Throughout the year, the Northern Virginia real estate market remained hot. Considered essential employees, real estate agents throughout Virginia were allowed to continue working and serving their clients throughout the pandemic. With the help of Erickson Realty and Moving Services partners, Ashby Ponds helped a number of people move to the community in 2020, often using online technology to aid in their ability to help their clients stage their home for sale, downsize, and create a packing/moving plan.
7. Providing for students: This fall, 24 high school employees at Ashby Ponds, from high schools in Loudoun and Fairfax counties, began the pursuit of their higher education, thanks to the generosity of the community members they serve. And despite the physical limitations imposed by COVID-19, community members raised more money than at any other time in the community's history, allowing for an increase in scholarship funds from $7,000 to $8,000 per student.
8. Construction progressed: Throughout 2020, construction continued as planned on Blue Ridge Clubhouse, the community's third and final clubhouse, featuring brand-new amenities, including a wine bar, rooftop terrace, day spa, and bistro. In addition, construction continued on Hamilton Way, the newest residential building. Reservations for these new 146 homes opened exclusively to priority list members this fall. Both additions are scheduled to open, on time, next year.
9. Exceeding goals: The Ashby Ponds Benevolent Care Fund, one of the community's largest philanthropy efforts, which provides support to residents who, despite careful planning, outlive their financial resources, exceeded all fundraising goals in 2020. The money donated to the fund allows for residents experiencing financial adversity to continue living at Ashby Ponds, in their home, among their friends, while receiving the care that they need.
10. Above industry average occupancy: Due to a strong COVID-19 responses, unmatched financial strength, unbeatable amenities and services, and access to on-site medical care, Ashby Ponds continued to enjoy an industry-leading 98% occupancy rate in 2020.
Photo: Construction is progressing well on the Blue Ridge Clubhouse, the community's third and final clubhouse.
Written by Kelly Shue
About Ashby Ponds: Ashby Ponds, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 132-acre campus in Ashburn, Virginia. The not-for-profit community of more than 1,650 residents and 550 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, Inc., who provide independent financial and operational oversight of Ashby Ponds. Additional information can be found at AshbyPonds.com.