Keeping lines of communication open keeps community connected during COVID-19
Palm Beach Gardens, Fl. –Recognizing the importance of providing accurate, comprehensive, and timely information, Jim Wingardner, executive director of Devonshire, an Erickson Living community at PGA National, is utilizing a variety of communication tools, most notably, in-house television channel 63, to educate and engage community members throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
"During this unprecedented time, Channel 63, serves as a primary communication resource in our efforts to keep our community members and staff fully informed," says Wingardner. "Channel 63 also provides us the unique ability to provide entertainment and exercise programming which goes a long way in keeping our community members engaged and connected."
Spreading the word
Even before Governor Ron DeSantis issued the State of Emergency for the entire State of Florida as a result of COVID-10 on March 9, 2020, staff at Devonshire were already communicating important community-wide safety precautions to residents. Daily letters and community-wide informational voice messages ensure that updates and information are received in a timely matter. To maximize reach, all information is scrolled on Channel 63 and uploaded on the MyErickson app.
As a trusted leader in the Devonshire community, Wingardner began videotaping a weekly, interactive question-and-answer program, wherein, in addition to providing timely information, residents are encouraged to send in their important questions and concerns.
"We are so blessed to be living at Devonshire at this time," says community member Sandy Ruback. "We are kept well informed thanks to Jim's weekly updates on Channel 63 and know that are safety and well-being are the staff's top priority."
Each episode of Wingardner's address is also uploaded to YouTube enabling family members and friends to keep up-to-date. Each week viewership continues to grow as he addresses everything from meal preparation, mask-wearing requirements, and physical distancing measures. In his most recent program, Wingarder provided updates on the carefully planned re-openings, by appointment only, of the swimming pool and croquet court.
In addition to the important community-wide updates, Devonshire also provides additional Channel 63 programming, including exercise classes, virtual walking tours, concerts, and even a viewing meditation by Deepak Chopra.
Devonshire's resident life staff utilize Channel 63 as they adapt the community's vast activities calendar to an online platform. For example, exercise classes that were typically held in Devonshire's fitness center at 10:00 a.m. are now carefully selected exercise programs aired on Channel 63 at 10:00 a.m.
"We are doing everything we can to keep people engaged in the same healthy lifestyle they enjoyed prior to COVID-19," says Devonshire's manager of resident services, Marty Bores. "One of the ways we do that is by helping residents keep to their existing routine. Broadcasting on Channel 63 helps us achieve that goal."
While the morning program lineup typically consists of exercise classes and yoga, afternoon programming focuses on areas of special interest. A recently aired special on the talented Benny Goodman received rave reviews.
"We are constantly looking for ways to be creative and inventive with our programming," says Bores. "We will begin airing interviews of Devonshire's various department heads as well as our resident council meetings. Channel 63 is a wonderful means of communication and keeping us all connected."
For their part, Devonshire community members are appreciative of the open lines of communication designed to keep them healthy, safe, and happy.
"My wife Jackie and I continue to the very happy with our five years at Devonshire," says community member John Hannon. "We never contemplated the pandemic but it is impossible to explain how wonderful the entire staff at Devonshire has been during this time. There is no question this is the best place to be right now."
About Devonshire at PGA National: Devonshire at PGA National, is one of 20 continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living® and is situated on a scenic 28-acre campus on the grounds of prestigious PGA National. The community is located in Palm Beach County and is home to more than 350 community members. Additional information about Devonshire can be found at DevonshirePGA.com.