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Lantern Hill lifestyle lives up to expectations

Activities are blossoming at new community

Created date

November 3rd, 2016
Lantern Hill digital technology interns Ashley Darling (left) and Jamie Joseph (middle). Fitness Coordinator Chris Hynson (right) oversees the daily activities at Lantern Hill’s fitness center and indoor swimming pool.

Lantern Hill digital technology interns Ashley Darling (left) and Jamie Joseph (middle). Fitness Coordinator Chris Hynson (right) oversees the daily activities at Lantern Hill’s fitness center and indoor swimming pool.

As the weather cools down, things are heating up at Lantern Hill, the Erickson Living community that opened this summer in New Providence, N.J. 

Since June, residents have been settling into their new homes, meeting neighbors, and sampling activities like the fitness center and digital technology classes.

Proactive health

Over summer, Lantern Hill hired Christopher Hynson as fitness coordinator. With New Year’s resolutions right around the corner and more residents moving in each day, Hynson says the fitness center, which is free for residents, is well used and a key amenity for proactive health. 

“Resident use has definitely increased as community members have become settled in their new homes,” he says.

The fitness center features treadmills, NuStep machines, free weights, elliptical trainers, one SciFit cross-trainer, and group fitness classes including yoga, tai chi, and stretch & tone. Hyson offers personal training sessions and package options for an additional charge. 

Hynson oversees the daily activities at Lantern Hill’s fitness center and indoor swimming pool. He works closely with the Resident Services Director Pamela Marusic to establish fitness programs, orientations, and assessments. He also performs administrative and operations duties associated with the fitness center and pool.

“My goal is to create a fun, safe fitness environment for residents to better their health and well-being as well as their individual fitness goals,” Hynson says.

He brings nine years of experience in the fitness industry, including time spent as a fitness and operations manager at a health club outside of Baltimore, Md. He has worked with an array of clients, including seniors.  

Originally from Baltimore, Hynson now calls Florham Park his home. Certified in CPR and AED, he received his associate’s degree in fitness studies from the Community College of Baltimore County and his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Towson University in Towson, Md. 

“Chris fits in perfectly with our resident-focused team at Lantern Hill,” says Executive Director  Patricia Swan. “His wealth of experience in the fitness industry will be of great benefit to our  community of active and engaged seniors.”

Getting connected

While the fitness center is one aspect of the vibrant Lantern Hill lifestyle, the community has a variety of other activities and interest groups, with more and more forming each week.

Gerri Madsen, concierge in charge of assisting community members with establishing interest groups, clubs, and other activities, says, “We are engaging residents in focus groups to assess what they want to see happen at Lantern Hill.”

Once everyone has settled into Neighborhood One, Madsen will begin scheduling day and overnight trips. She is also responsible for pastoral activities, volunteerism, and philanthropy. 

Residents can easily learn about and connect to campus services and programs via MyErickson, an intuitive, free app accessible via tablet or computer with Internet access.

The app enhances residents’ lifestyles by providing them with diverse information sources, such as community information, dining menus, activity calendars, and staff information.  

“We are thrilled to provide our residents with a simple digital tool to support their active lifestyle,” says Swan.

“MyErickson provides access to community-centric information residents can use when, how, and where they want it,” says Kerri Shirey, project manager at Erickson Living.  “It was custom-designed from resident feedback and is a real perk to living in an Erickson Living community.”  

Most people living at Lantern Hill are already technology savvy, but a few are learning about apps and social media for the first time.    

Positive experience

Over the summer, college interns Jamie Joseph and Ashley Darling offered a training program for residents on how to use MyErickson. 

Joseph and Darling met with new community members a few days after they moved to campus to show them how to use the MyErickson app. They were also available to answer questions about social media and show residents how to set up Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The college students are also gaining valuable work experience and learning about day-to-day operations at the active continuing care retirement community by assisting staff in the sales, human resources, sales, and resident life departments.

“We are treated as employees rather than interns,” says Darling, a resident of New Providence and a finance major and member of the lacrosse team at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn. Her favorite part of the internship is getting to know the residents and seeing how much fun they can have with the technology.  “We recently helped a resident send a ‘selfie’ photo to his children,” says Darling. 

“I enjoy the responsibility of instructing residents on how to use the MyErickson app,” says Joseph, a resident of Berkeley Heights and an applied math and finance major at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. 

Her favorite part of the internship was being surrounded by all the “positive and happy people” on campus.

Lots to do at Lantern Hill

By September, just three months after opening, Lantern Hill already had a healthy list of clubs and activities, which continues to grow each week.

The Library Committee

Bridge Club

Ping-Pong Group

Current Events Discussion Group

Presidential Politics Discussion Group

Ladies Who Lunch Social Group

Gentleman’s Breakfast Social Group

Monthly Catholic Mass

Weekly movies

Monthly town hall meetings

Fitness: Stretch & Tone class, walking club, yoga class