Dallas, Texas--Life can be unpredictable. A new development causes us to live and work differently than we did before. That's true at Highland Springs, the Erickson Living-managed community in North Dallas.
"I think back to those big sales events where half of the people in attendance were residents, taking time to sit down and talk about Highland Springs with prospective residents," says Executive Director Matt Neville. "It made a great impact on our sales efforts to have resident ambassadors sharing about the community. When the pandemic entered the picture, we asked ourselves, 'How do we make those connections moving forward?'"
The answer, it turns out, is organically. While on-site appointments and smaller sales events have returned, word of mouth remains an enduring way to share experiences and disseminate information.
"Residents are engaging with friends and family about Highland Springs, sharing firsthand about the measures and precautions we've taken to keep our community safe," says Sales Director Christina Christie. "As a result, we're getting calls in the sales office from prospective residents who are considering Highland Springs thanks to the recommendations of family and friends who already live here."
During the first half of 2020, the sales team had multiple appointments, some in-person, some virtually, with people who learned about Highland Springs from family or friends. In the same time period, nine of the community's newest move-ins were the direct result of a resident referral.
"Often, we'll receive a resident referral, and once we get to know the prospective resident, we realize that multiple residents have been a factor in that individual or couple's decision to consider Highland Springs," says Christie. "They'll know people who live here from their bridge group or their church group. It's really incredible how a good word about Highland Springs can travel through so many channels."
The experience of friends
Harry and Jan Hixson learned about Highland Springs from three couples in their Sunday school class at Custer Road United Methodist Church in Plano, Texas.
"We're good friends with David and Nancy Smith, Norm and Paula Crump, and Jim and Linda Monroe, who've all moved to Highland Springs," says Jan. "I had it in the back of my mind that since they like living here, it must be a good place to live."
When Harry and Jan began to explore their own options for retirement living, Highland Springs was at the top of their list.
"We had good friends at Highland Springs, plus we were still going to be close to our children, our church, and all of our activities," says Jan. "I knew this was a good next step, and having friends here made it that much easier to say yes."
Harry had one additional consideration. "I like the on-site continuing care options," he says. "To know that we can receive additional levels of care right on campus, should we ever need it, gives me peace of mind."
Expanding circle of friends
Harry and Jan chose a two-bedroom, two-bath Thornbury-style apartment in the Lakeview Pointe residence building and moved to Highland Springs in May 2020.
"We love the view overlooking the lake, and the apartment has plenty of space for both of us," says Harry. "Our dog Buddy is enjoying his new home too."
At Highland Springs, the couple relishes their expanding circle of friends, both old and new.
"The first time I met our next-door neighbor in Lakeview Pointe, Grady Venable, I recognized him right away," says Harry. "We both volunteered with the group Plano Helpers."
Jan enjoys the built-in social opportunities of community life. "I've played golf with another neighbor on our floor, Jo Ann Morrow, and it's been fun to visit with the couples from our church," she says.
Now that they've experienced life at Highland Springs, Harry and Jan continue to spread the word, inviting friends they think would enjoy the lifestyle to consider a potential move to Highland Springs.
"We have friends in Plano who are ready to downsize, and they know we're happy here," says Harry. "Seeing the community through the eyes of people who live here is a good way to get a sense of the lifestyle it offers."
Written by Sara Martin
About Highland Springs: Highland Springs, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 89-acre campus in North Dallas, Texas. The not-for-profit community of more than 1,150 residents and 520 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, Inc., who provide independent financial and operational oversight of Highland Springs. Additional information can be found at http://highlandspringscommunity.com.