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Travel gets easier with age

Riderwood trips department plans every detail

Created date

January 22nd, 2013

Imagine going on trips to museums, to the symphony, to concerts, even to cruises and overseas. Now imagine being able to step out and travel as much as you want, without having to worry about any of the logistics yourself. This is the case for the residents at . target="_blank">Riderwood, an Erickson Living community in Silver Spring, Md. The special trips service offers residents an opportunity to experience outings and travel in a way like no other carefree. Janet Birchfield and Deborah Gantert have coordinated the special trips department for the last six years. They poll residents with surveys and evaluation forms after every trip to gather feedback and cater future trips to meet residents educational, social, intellectual, spiritual, and entertainment needs. We continually hear from residents about how much they appreciate the service and how it makes their lives at Riderwood that much better, Birchfield says. And that makes their jobs that much more rewarding.

Experiencing the world

Special trips offers between 20 and 35 unique trips a month. Birchfield and Gantert like to offer variety, so they plan outings to restaurants and movies, concerts and the ballet, museums and aquariums. They even plan day trips and overnight excursions to places like Atlantic City, N.J.; Ocean City, Md.; and Gettysburg, Lancaster, and Philadelphia, Pa. Being in the area that we are, between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., we have so many things to choose from, so we mostly keep the trips in those areas, Gantert says. And residents never have to worry about driving to the venue, parking the car, getting the tickets; the dynamic duo of Birchfield and Gantert takes care of that for them. The team plans at least one international trip and one cruise every year. In 2012, they offered three extended trips one to tour the national parks, one cruise, and an adventure where 15 residents went to Switzerland, Austria, and Bavaria. For these trips, Birchfield and Gantert work with travel agencies they ve developed relationships with over the years to get the best deals. They also offer an insurance program so residents can cancel up to the day before travel for any reason, and they will be refunded their money, except for the insurance fee. Perks like these make travel through Riderwood not only an adventure, but a carefree investment as well. For 2013, the special trips department has planned a cruise to Canada and an international trip to Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Austria.

The adventure of travel

The most popular trips sell out fast and have a waiting list. The calendar goes out the third Friday of every month to our subscription list, and registration begins the following Monday, Birchfield says. So she and Gantert suggest residents sign up for trips as soon as possible. As long as they have proper staff and buses available, they take as many residents as they can on each trip. Our drivers are such an integral part of making the experience a positive one for residents, Gantert says.