When Carol Bortman and her husband Eli moved to Brooksby Village, an Erickson Living managed senior living community in Peabody, Mass, in August 2017, they didn’t hesitate to take advantage of all the on-site amenities offered across the sprawling 90-acre campus.
“Moving to Brooksby was the best decision because all our needs are met, and we’re free to enjoy our life,” says Carol, the former dean of nursing at Brockton Hospital School of Nursing at Fisher College. “The entire staff, from administration to the students who work on campus, are here for us, to make sure we’re cared for and having fun.”
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Brooksby’s administrative team took swift and comprehensive actions to limit the risk of resident exposure. Balancing the dual priorities of keeping residents safe and engaged has led to the successful reopening of campus amenities in a thoughtful, strategic manner. “It’s been great to get out and about, to see some of our clubs and groups getting together in spaces across the community, and to see that vibrancy in our community,” says Executive Director Tracie Bettano.
“The amenities we’re reopening are a little different than they were pre-COVID, now with safety protocols in place. But it’s been wonderful to see residents and staff re-engage with one another.”
Safe, inviting community
For Carol, who volunteers as an on-camera host in Brooksby’s television studio, that means a return to the studio, with social distancing and safe operating procedures in place. “The TV studio is fabulous, and it meets a great need in the community,” says Carol.
“Television expands the reach beyond what you can accommodate in a room, and the number of people watching our [closed-circuit] programming soared [in 2020].”Carol’s also encouraged by other signs of reengagement popping up around the community. “A new drop-in group started meeting in the catering room on Sunday afternoons,” says Carol. “People bring a book or a game and socialize. That’s the thing about Brooksby, the people who live here have so many ideas and they make them happen.”
Relationships lie at the heart of engagement. Carol says spending time with friends in spaces that can accommodate social distancing makes all the difference.
“I get together with friends and we’ll sit outside, on the patio behind the McIntosh Club-house, and talk for an hour in the afternoon,” says Carol. “That’s what saves everything—knowing you’re a part of a community where you’re safe, supported, and connected.”
Brighter days ahead
Suzanne Davis, sales director at Brooksby, says the sales team is connecting with prospects who want to know what the community is doing to keep residents safe, while also allowing them to take advantage of the services and amenities offered at the community.
“Most, if not all, of our customers are ready to move forward,” says Davis. “The 24/7 security and on-site restaurants are a big appeal, as is the on-campus medical center. At Brooksby, residents can take advantage of amenities that only those who live here can access, unlike an outside fitness center or restaurant.” Ralph Bonney moved to Brooksby with his wife Nancy in 2017. He says the community’s coronavirus response has been “outstanding,” and the phased reopening gives him confidence brighter days are ahead.
“It gets better every month,” says Ralph. “The restaurants and fitness center opened back up, they’re starting to show movies again and hold religious services, all with safety measures in place. With each new opening, it gives us something to look forward to.” Ralph feels it’s especially important to welcome new community members who moved to Brooksby in the last year. “I want to tell them, ‘There’s hope for the future. Just wait, you’ll find the joy that comes from living here,’” he says.
The first step to enjoying maintenance-free retirement living at Brooksby Village is to request a brochure.