Tribune Print Share Text

Always a safe haven

There’s no such thing as stormy weather at Devonshire

Created date

July 31st, 2017
Photo of a climate-controlled bridge connecting two separate buildings.

People who live at Devonshire can stroll in comfort through climate-controlled hallways and bridges that connect the clubhouse to Devonshire’s three residence buildings.

Hurricanes are unpredictable. That’s why Devonshire at PGA National, Erickson Living’s senior living community in Palm Beach Gardens, takes every precaution when hurricane warnings begin, even though the community is in neither an evacuation nor a flood zone.

Hurricane Matthew did not make landfall last October, but Devonshire followed its preparedness manual regardless. Here’s what that meant for community members and staff.

“Life went on exactly as normal,” says Director of Resident Services Marty Bores. 

There was a new normal, however. Department directors and critical staff members stayed on the grounds for three days and nights pitching in wherever needed to ensure that everyone felt calm, well, and happy. 

Facilities Director Eddy Hernandez and his engineering and maintenance team, plus Devonshire’s security team, routinely made rounds to check for leaks and ensure that everything was locked and secure.   

Bores’ efforts ranged from staffing the front desk to serving food to preparing communication updates about activities, meals, and Hurricane Matthew. 

Volunteers slipped the updates under everyone’s door to keep them informed. And a wellness department nurse was on site the entire time.

The culinary staff prepared and served three meals each day. “Meals were buffet style, and we used paper plates, but the atmosphere was party-like. It was wonderful!” says community member Nancy Levine. 

Matthew was Nancy’s first hurricane experience. “I was more scared when I lived on the 43rd floor in Manhattan,” she says. “Once when we had a terrible storm, I could see my blinds shaking. Here, I slept through the night and its high winds.”

Nancy slept well because Devonshire’s impact windows kept out the sound of the wind.

In fact, Devonshire weathered the potential storm so well that the son of a woman who was considering a move from Palm Beach to Devonshire encouraged her afterward to make the move. 

Neither he nor his sister live in Florida, so he wanted the assurance that his mother would be safe should another hurricane threaten. He now has that assurance; his mom moved to Devonshire this spring.

Fun and games

Devonshire’s 65,000-square-foot clubhouse is the hub of community life. Centrally located, it’s connected to Devonshire’s three residence buildings by climate-controlled hallways.

Regardless of weather, community members stroll in comfort from their well-appointed and beautiful apartment homes to Devonshire’s activities, events, and performances or to meals in its five world-class restaurants.

They needn’t venture out in intensely hot summers or cold and rainy winters.

They especially didn’t venture out into the high winds and potential downpours of Hurricane Matthew.

Instead they walked to the clubhouse to dine, laugh, and socialize. 

Led by Community Resources Director Irene Malanga, they even played “Hurricane Games” in Devonshire’s Stratford Performing Arts Center. Malanga’s clever quips and ad-libs would take anyone’s mind off the weather.

At storm’s end, community members made a huge card and covered it with heartfelt notes expressing their gratitude to staff who’d stayed on site. 

One example: “You’re very special. We especially want to thank you for caring for us, protecting us, and laughing with us.”

The card’s dedication expressed the truest sentiment, “To the wonderful staff members of our Devonshire family.” 

 

Comments