Communication is key

Wind Crest TV keeps community up to date throughout COVID-19

Created date

August 12th, 2020
Wind Crest Resident Services Manager Jill Homann is seen here wearing a black hat with a pink band and a blue button down shirt. She is smiling and has shoulder length brown hair.

Wind Crest Resident Services Manager Jill Homann hosts a television program designed to help community members start their day with a sense of calm.

At Wind Crest, a continuing care retirement community in Highlands Ranch, Colo., developed and managed by Erickson Living, community members practice safe social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although neighbors may be spending more time apart physically, many say they’re feeling more deeply connected to their community than ever before.

Already a close-knit community, Wind Crest neighbors and staff pulled together during the pandemic to find creative ways to stay connected.

“With the in-house TV station, our goal is to provide content that is unique to Wind Crest and supports our residents’ multidimensional health and wellness to help them achieve an exceptional lifestyle,” says Community Resources Manager Craig Ellsworth.

During the community’s response to coronavirus, the team has taken this commitment to the next level, providing more creative programming to keep everyone informed, entertained, and engaged in Wind Crest’s vibrant community life, even while things on campus have looked a bit different than usual.

Interactive and informative

At the core of this programming is the twice-weekly virtual town hall meeting. Aired live from Wind Crest’s arts and enrichment center, the meetings have been hosted by Ellsworth, who is joined by Executive Director Craig Erickson on Mondays and Associate Executive Director Kathy Dilger on Thursdays. In addition to important community updates, the talk show format offers residents the opportunity to hear personal stories and insight from familiar faces, including staff members from dining, general services, the medical center, and more.

Using Mentimeter, a unique, interactive presentation software, community members were able to actively participate in these town hall meetings via their smartphones.

“We can ask questions, and community members respond in real time,” explains Ellsworth. “Their  answers can be displayed on the screen, so everyone can see each other’s responses. It really keeps people engaged.”

“The virtual town halls have been valuable tools for disseminating information and gathering feedback,” says Joe Knox, who has been involved with the TV station as a volunteer since moving to Wind Crest a year ago. 

Mind, body, and spirit

Beyond providing community members with the most accurate and up-to-date community news and information, Wind Crest TV continues to support the community in achieving optimal wellness, even during a pandemic, with live, taped, and virtual programs. 

For example, Fitness Manager Terri Billings and her team offer six exercise programs, including balance, yoga, and high-intensity interval training classes, scheduled at certain times throughout the week so that residents can maintain their physical fitness while enjoying their favorite activities and instructors from the comfort of their own apartment homes

To support both mental and spiritual wellness, Wind Crest’s resident life and pastoral ministries teams have developed unique programming such as Of the Spirit, a show hosted by Pastoral Ministries Coordinator Robert Smith that features in-studio, socially distant interviews with residents, many who are spiritual leaders in the community, and offers insights designed to uplift and inform.

At 6:30 a.m. each day, another new program called Mindful Morning offers a ten-minute meditation led by Jill Homann and other members of the Wind Crest team to help residents start their day with a sense of calm. These mindfulness practices encourage community members to take time to nourish their minds, bodies, and spirits while focusing on gratitude, the beauty of nature, and more.

More than must-see TV

Throughout the community’s response to coronavirus, the TV station team continued to produce two talk shows, Java and NiteSide, with residents occasionally “reporting live” from their apartment homes using their smartphone or computer video. Resident volunteers have continued gathering stories from around the community by phone, putting information together at home, and coordinating with the staff to edit the programs.

In addition to continuing these programming staples, the Wind Crest TV team has also produced a number of special features to provide community members with a wealth of interactive options to ensure they are able to maintain valued relationships and preferred activities.

For example, during April, National Poetry Month, Peter Boyce and ten friends from the Wind Crest readers’ theater group performed a virtual poetry reading via Zoom from their apartment homes, which was later aired on Wind Crest TV for all to enjoy.

Recently, a candlelight tribute aired on the channel, acknowledging all those affected by the worldwide pandemic. And working in conjunction with the dining services team, the TV team was also able to host a virtual happy hour. From the comfort of their apartment homes, nearly 1,000 neighbors enjoyed a delivery of wine, cheese, and grapes while watching a piano player perform on stage in the arts and enrichment center via TV.  

“We’ve always had a great community culture and spirit,” says Erickson. “I can only imagine how powerful it’s going to be when we all have a renewed value for the connections, relationships, and interactions that we get to have every day.”

For community members like Joe, the TV station has provided an additional sense of community and calm during the pandemic. “We’ve felt well-protected and taken care of here,” he says. 

Now, he’s glad to be back in the TV studio in a limited capacity, wearing his mask and practicing social distancing while he helps out with the cameras and switching.

“I love it,” he says of his volunteer work, “It keeps me learning and involved.”

To learn more about being a part of a connected and engaged senior living community like Wind Crest, request your free brochure today.