‘Thank you for all you’re doing’ say Maris Grove residents

Maris Grove residents express gratitude during COVID-19 outbreak

Created date

May 5th, 2020
An exterior shot of the community, featuring an American flag flying over the entrance.

Despite the ways socialization has changed, the sense of community at Maris Grove remains. Maris Grove's resources and organizational structure gives stability, even in the face of uncertainty. 

Maris Grove is a place residents love to call home

If you need a good-news story in these challenging times, Shaniyah Houston’s is guaranteed to make you smile. At the start of her spring semester, the Widener University sophomore began working part-time at Maris Grove, the Erickson Living-managed continuing care retirement community in Glen Mills, Pa. 

When Widener closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Houston learned that she’d have to vacate her dorm. This dedicated young woman requested, and was granted, an exemption so she could remain in her dorm and continue working at Maris Grove. When asked why, she replied, “I love this job.”

This kind of commitment is evident across the campus, and residents expressed their appreciation through Facebook posts, cards, and emails. Resident Carol Berkowitz-Broadrick posted, “Thank you to EVERYONE at Maris Grove! You are going above and beyond expectations to take care of our needs and wants!! We are certainly grateful!!! Thank you for all that you are doing to keep us safe and healthy! We appreciate each and every one of you!!!”

A new normal

While residents followed all CDC protocols for social distancing, the staff found creative ways to help everyone feel safe, yet connected. A concierge service was developed to leave mail, packages, and essential toiletries on the shelves outside each resident's door, so they don’t have to venture out. The dedicated culinary and dining teams delivered three days’ worth of healthy, nutritious meals and snacks every three days. 

In April, as Passover approached, Jewish residents wondered how they would obtain the traditional foods eaten during the eight-day celebration. Dining Services prepared special meals and delivered “Passover To Go” packages containing boxes of matzah and the ingredients needed to assemble Seder plates, the centerpiece of the holiday table. 

Jewish residents were overcome with gratitude. One emailed, “You have outdone yourselves. I can’t believe that you took the time to make this a comfortable/wonderful Passover for those who celebrate. Words simply cannot express how thoughtful you are and how grateful I am for all you have done for everyone this past month. I will never forget it.”

Executive Director Maureen Heckler said, “Our top priority is to keep everyone safe. If we can make life feel a bit more ‘normal,’ even better. Our residents inspire us every day, and their kind words mean everything to us.” 

Technology in action

Maris Grove tapped into technology to keep everyone active, engaged, and connected. “Now more than ever, human interaction is vital,” Heckler said. “We’re putting every resource we have to work in new, imaginative ways.”

The community TV station became a hub of activity, offering programs that address residents’ spiritual and physical needs. Religious services were available via live stream. Heckler, Medical Director Cathy Smith, and Dining Services Director Dan Lessard hosted a call-in show twice a week, so community members could ask questions, share stories, and offer suggestions. The staff showed off their talents in live segments that include music, guided meditation, and fitness activities

For the many clubs at Maris Grove, virtual meetings on Zoom and Skype became the go-to for socializing and conducting business. “Everyone misses meeting in-person, but these platforms are a great substitute until we can be together,” says Heckler.

The value of community

Heckler noted that living in a caring, resource-rich community like Maris Grove is especially beneficial in unprecedented times like these. 

“Many seniors like the idea of ‘aging in place,’ where they remain in their family home,” she said. “Unfortunately, this can be isolating, because you lack the resources as well as the community and activity that provide a sense of purpose.” 

She added, “Even though our residents are staying in their apartments, they are not isolated. Our wonderful staff, high-speed internet, and support services help them remain physically healthy, mentally engaged, and socially connected.”


If you're interested in learning more about Maris Grove, request a free brochure here or learn more about other Erickson Living-managed communities.