Lantern Hill makes entertaining easy

Group gatherings an important aspect of retirement living

Created date

November 29th, 2019
Lantern Hill's scenic campus is full of nature.

Lantern Hill's scenic campus is full of nature.

Research has shown that retirees place a high value on having the opportunity to enjoy entertainment, whether they’re the host or a guest, in the audience or on stage. 

Carole Pasquale, who lives at the New Providence, N.J., Erickson Living community Lantern Hill, enjoys entertaining her family and her neighbors. 

Holiday traditions

Carole leads three chimes choirs on campus that will perform their holiday program on December 18 in the community’s Rutgers Room. She also continues to host her family—all 21 of them— for Christmas on December 23, which she’s done for years. 

“It’s a tradition in our family. We are big on Christmas,” she says. 

They enjoy a spread of ham or turkey breast, salad, and vegetables in an open-house format followed by a family gift exchange in Lantern Hill’s Metropolitan private dining room. Carole, a planner, enjoys preparing the menu in advance and even saves past party plans on her computer, which she can reference any time. 

Being able to continue that tradition after moving from her house to an apartment home at Lantern Hill was an important priority for Carole. 

“I moved here because I wanted to be in a community. Living here now and having the ability to maintain the lifestyle that I’ve always had is important,” she says. “I think it’s important to a lot of the people who live here.”

It’s certainly important to Chris Stoddard, who hosts her family and out-of-town guests at Tall Oaks Restaurant the morning after Thanksgiving for a send-off breakfast. 

“We’ve been at someone’s home for Thanksgiving dinner, then we gather here for breakfast and send them on their way,” Chris says. “[Lantern Hill’s dining staff] has been very accommodating for us. We have anywhere from 11 to 15 of us. They seat us in the back where it’s a little more private. It’s a very special time and way to share our home surroundings with out-of-towners.” 

Catered celebrations

While Carole enjoys preparing her own food for her Christmas celebration, and Chris’s family orders off the menu, others in the community utilize Lantern Hill’s catering department. 

Judy Unger has hosted both private parties and community celebrations with the help of Lantern Hill’s catering department. 

“It’s a very good feeling to know that the support is there, and they will do everything they can to accommodate us,” Judy says. 

For her private gathering to celebrate her and her husband’s return from a month-long trip, catering services provided a menu of bagels and lox, Danish, an egg dish, beverages, and coffee. 

“They are very easy to work with and very flexible,” she says. “My daughter brought in some centerpieces, and catering provided linens, tablecloths, and napkins. The room looked lovely. They know what they’re doing.”

Spirit of community

Judy’s also coordinates large Jewish community gatherings with neighbor Doris Wise. “As the Jewish holidays have come around, she and I have tried to get the Jewish people in the community to have some holidays together,” Judy says. “Those who are alone don’t have to be alone, and those who want to bring family have something special to do.” 

“These events absolutely bring the community together,” adds Doris. “It takes a lot of time to plan something and execute it. The venues and catering department are very easy to work with, and they do their best to make it easy for us to do this.”

They’ve conducted a Passover seder with about 60 people in the Rutgers Room (a large private dining room), which was beautifully set with large round tables as well as a Rosh Hashanah celebration.

“The seder dinner was very well received,” Judy says. “Our cook made matzo ball soup for the first time in his life, and he was thrilled to pieces. And we received very positive responses from people afterward.”

The ability to entertain on a large scale without having to do it all themselves has enabled Doris and Judy to plan and execute these special events that bring people together and create a vibrant, kind, and caring community. 

“No one has to be alone for the holidays,” says Judy. “I’m happy that it has to be someone’s choice to be alone. They have the option to join with other people to celebrate a holiday if they want to.”