Ashby Ponds Community Pulls Together During Coronavirus Pandemic

Ashburn, Virginia--"Across our family of communities, residents and staff are taking extraordinary steps to protect the health and safety of our loved ones, friends, neighbors, and caregivers," says Erickson Living Chief Executive Officer Alan Butler, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This commitment and dedication can be seen daily at Ashby Ponds, an Erickson Living-managed community in Ashburn, Va., as staff are working worked tirelessly to serve and protect each and every community member.

"Our incredible staff must be writing the book on how to cope; plan; and make calm, professional, kind, intelligent decisions," says community member Joanne Harney. "Every member of the staff are doing an absolutely magnificent job in handling dozens of questions and unique problems with smiling, pleasant help."

Staying in touch

Throughout the crisis, Ashby Ponds staff and management have remained in constant communication with all residents. Daily updates are provided at 4:00 p.m. with a live show broadcast on Ashby Ponds' community television station featuring Executive Director Will Nance and other members of the management team. Additionally, a weekly flyer is placed outside every resident's door each Thursday providing important updates and community-specific information.

“The periodic communications and updates are well received and the tone of delivery very reassuring," says community member Don Schuler.

Family members and friends have also been kept informed through postings on the My Erickson app and social media.

"I want to congratulate the whole Ashby Ponds staff from top to bottom for the outstanding job keeping us informed, going beyond what would be expected as we cope with something none of us has ever faced in our lifetime," said Jan Welsh-Roe in a post.

Community members are also playing a role in keeping the lines of communication open between neighbors, for example, a group of residents have volunteered to provide regular "comfort calls."

"The goal is to concentrate on single people and new residents as a way of keeping everyone connected," says community member Lou Smith.

Well fed

Ashby Ponds staff have continually kept residents abreast on communitywide precautionary measures. One of the first programs initiated was the in-home dining program. Rather than enjoying meals at one of Ashby Ponds' seven campus restaurants, staff members personally deliver all meals to residents in their homes.

"My husband Don and I are thankful to all Ashby Ponds employees for keeping us safe," says Sharon Hall. "Care of public spaces is exceptional. Dining services is preparing and delivering delicious meals. General services delivers our news and is taking good care of things. Security is hard at work keeping us safe."

"I recognize the importance of our staying in our apartments and having meals delivered to us," says Kay Walter. "I appreciate all the great services provided and feel completely safe and well cared for here."

In addition to daily meals, Ashby Ponds staff have created weekly care kits, delivered to each resident's front door every Thursday morning. These kits include thoughtful ways to spend time, including brain games, crossword puzzles, Sudoku puzzles, and snacks.

"I am thankful for the bag of goodies left at everyone's door," says Ruth Thoenelt. "It is so nice of Ashby Ponds to keep our spirits up during this time."

At your service

In addition to keeping everyone well fed with healthy, nutritious meals, 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. Appropriately renamed Amazon Ponds, this program helps minimize unnecessary exposure to visitors, further keeping community members safe and healthy.

As an added enhancement to the concierge program, the Ashby Ponds community implemented an essential items delivery service, providing residents with the opportunity to request travel-size/single-serve essential items, including soap, laundry detergent, coffee, and tea from the front desk. These items are provided free of charge, within 48 hours, thanks to the on-campus pharmacy.

"I am so grateful to all the wonderfully caring Ashby Ponds staff for their extraordinary individual contributions to the campus wide effort to reduce our virus exposure risk," says Alicia Sommers. "Many of the residents express their happiness with living at Ashby Ponds during this time of coronavirus and are grateful for all the wonderful ways the staff keep us safe."

Keeping engaged

With health, wellness, dining, and the distribution of necessities under control, Ashby Ponds staff have continued to find creative ways for community members to entertain themselves from the comfort of their homes.

All Ashby Ponds departments work carefully to provide information and, in many cases, entertainment options to community members. With both Passover and Easter celebrations during the crisis, the pastoral ministries department helped residents set up video conferencing to watch services in real time.

In an effort to keep community members connected, the resident life department set up a weekly virtual bingo game. And every day at 11:45 a.m., Ashby Ponds' Community TV broadcasts the song "Sweet Caroline." Residents are encouraged to open their doors, turn up the music, and sing in the hallway.

"The tangible support we receive at Ashby Ponds is easy to see," says Nan Krueger. "It's the intangibles, including upbeat attitudes, genuine smiles, and the willingness to do anything possible to soften this environment are the underpinnings of life at Ashby Ponds. Thank you all, every department, every person."

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 1,660 residents and 550 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of Ashby Ponds. Additional information can be found at AshbyPonds.com.