A Q&A with Debra Doyle, Chief Operating Officer
Over the past year, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted us all in ways that we never anticipated. While life may look a little different now, residents at Erickson Living-managed communities have embraced meaningful connections with neighbors and staff, while safely partaking in many of their favorite activities and amenities, right on campus. For most, the past year has reinforced their choice to live in community.
To better understand how Erickson Living provides this vibrant retirement lifestyle, we sat down with Debra Doyle, Chief Operating Officer. In this enlightening interview, she shares lessons Erickson and its communities have learned over the last year, and what’s next for the one of the nation’s top developers and managers of continuing care retirement communities.
Q1: The last year has changed the way we all live. How has Erickson Living adapted and what you have learned?
A: At Erickson Living and our managed communities, we adapted right away, demonstrating the ability to act in a thorough, timely manner to support residents. Even before the first cases began to appear in the United States, we brought our experts together and quickly developed a strategy of prevention, containment and mitigation to effectively manage our response to the pandemic. This strategy has served us well, and continues to allow our residents to go confidently through their day, enjoying all the amenities that our communities have to offer, safely.
We’ve learned a lot over the past year, but for me, the most important was how truly heroic our employees are. At a time when many seniors are isolated with limited or no support structure, our staff has gone above and beyond, taking on new roles and responsibilities to make our residents feel safer on campus and well cared for.
Q2: What are the advantages of the relationship between Erickson Living and the communities it manages?
A: The unique relationship between Erickson Living and our managed communities has always been a differentiator for us in the senior living marketplace. The value of that relationship has become even more clearly defined throughout our response to the pandemic.
Led by Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Matt Narrett, Erickson Living offers the largest and most integrated health and wellness system for older adults. Every community has on-site medical practitioners who can deliver services to residents right in their apartment homes, or via telehealth.
In addition, the size and scale of our organization has enabled us to procure the necessary supplies, from food to personal protective equipment to testing kits, to ensure that our residents have what they need on a daily basis, right on campus.
Our network of 20 communities provides us with infinite opportunities to learn. I’m particularly proud of the way we’ve been able to apply the lessons we’ve learned this year and fast-track best practices across the enterprise, and across all dimensions of community life.
Q3: How are residents enjoying the Erickson Living lifestyle and amenities?
A: Residents continue to enjoy the benefits of a fully integrated approach to their personal well-being. We have made adjustments to our service model to work within federal and state guidelines to balance safety with choice and independence. The on-site fitness and aquatics centers are open for residents to exercise independently or participate in personal training or group fitness classes. Delicious, fresh meals are prepared daily by our culinary professionals; residents even have the convenience of checking menus and nutritional values right on their phones through the MyErickson app.
Just as important as supporting physical health are the opportunities to stay connected to friends and family. Many residents are involved in clubs, volunteering and other aspects of community life. Too many older adults are isolated in their houses, with minimal social interactions or activities. In contrast, our residents safely engage with a full support system that, on a daily basis, can include their neighbors, family and community employees.
Q4: What are residents looking forward to this spring?
A: Each spring represents a season of new possibilities, and this feeling is especially true in 2021. In the upcoming warmer months, we look forward to a host of activities as residents take advantage of walking trails, fitness classes and gardening at our beautiful campuses. Our programming teams are supporting resident groups and clubs as they plan a full spectrum of fun, safe and creative activities.
The on-going administration of the COVID-19 vaccines also gives us much hope. With our longtime partner, CVS, we have been pleased to offer residents the opportunity to take this proactive step in preventing the continued spread of coronavirus, right in the convenience of their home community.
Q5: Why is now a great time to move to an Erickson Living community?
A: With spring home selling season around the corner, now is a terrific time to move to one of our communities. Interest rates are at record lows, home values are high and it’s definitely a seller’s market. Erickson Living’s realty and moving services program offers resources to help prospective customers enjoy seamless moves into our communities. A team of trusted, local professionals provides assistance with downsizing, staging and realty issues and makes moving day a smooth experience for new residents.
Over the past year, we have welcomed more than two thousand new neighbors to our communities. Many have told us their decision to move provided them with convenience and reassurance: the location and value of quality services just steps from their apartment home and a close-knit network of support and friendship. They are empowered to live their fullest life at an Erickson Living community.