Parkville, Maryland—During the pandemic, traditional television viewership has increased by more than eight million Americans according to a report by eMarketer. This is the first annual rise since 2011, but not unexpected as people seek to learn more about COVID-19.
For residents of Oak Crest, a senior living community developed and managed by Erickson Living, campus news is just a click away via the in-house television station, Channel 973. Affectionately known as Oak Crest TV, the programming has featured a blend of information and entertainment to keep residents informed and engaged.
"Since March, residents, family members and employees have expressed appreciation for the transparent communications being provided on a daily basis," stated William Tian, Associate Executive Director. "During this unprecedented time, Oak Crest TV is serving as a valuable resource for community leadership to keep everyone up-to-speed on preparedness measures and re-opening protocol. While residents physically distance, they can stay socially connected in part because of Channel 973. We are in this together!"
The "one team" approach is evident in developing and scheduling content. It begins with Oak Crest TV staff members Stephanie Taydus, AV/TV Manager, and Allison Gerardy and Tyler Trudeau, AV/TV Coordinators. Their technical expertise allows for 24 hours of programming to be aired each day.
"So much of what we do is guided by resident feedback," described Ms. Taydus. "It is humbling to know that Oak Crest TV has made such an impact during the pandemic."
On a daily basis, a member of the Oak Crest leadership team appears as a guest at 10:00am, providing information on topics representing Administration, Resident Life, General Services, Dining Services, the Medical Center and the Continuing Care Neighborhoods. "This is very important because guidelines can change, not only on campus but in Baltimore County and the State of Maryland. We strive to be a reliable clearing house of information to help residents feel secure and knowledgeable," noted Ms. Taydus.
Oak Crest residents also turn to Channel 973 for entertainment, education and fitness. There are rebroadcasts from YouTube, but this engagement programming has unleased everyone's creative sides.
"Many fun activities have been aired. We hosted a live Zoom concert with Steve Benden, an Elvis impersonator who as appeared on campus at the Acorn Pub," said Ms. Taydus. "We've had movie nights with titles that range from West Side Story to The King's Speech. Our Philanthropy Department has run live bingo, too."
Fitness activities and spiritual wellness are hallmarks of life at Oak Crest, and with the help of Channel 973, that hasn't changed because of the pandemic. Julie Sega, the community's Fitness Manager, and her team have created exercise classes for residents; related wellness content has even been shared between Erickson Living communities. Additionally, Pastoral Ministries has supported the broadcasting of church services from the Protestant and Catholic Faith Communities.
"The team at Oak Crest TV is here to serve residents. The communication will continue even as our phased-in re-opening allows residents to take advantage of services and amenities in a safe manner," said Ms. Taydus.
It is a philosophy shared by Erickson Living communities across the nation.
"The broadcast professionals and virtual volunteers at Oak Crest deserve great credit for the creative and high-quality programming they have established throughout the pandemic," said Jeff Watson, Erickson Living's Director of Operations. "Their innovation and hard work has resulted in heightened communications that have kept those on campus connected, engaged and healthy."
About Oak Crest: Oak Crest, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 87-acre campus in Parkville, Maryland. The not-for-profit community of more than 2,100 residents and 1,250 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of Oak Crest. Additional information can be found at OakCrestCommunity.com.