Staying connected and engaged at Cedar Crest

Residents are tuning into Cedar Crest’s TV channel for campus news, fitness classes, and more!

Created date

August 24th, 2020
Cedar Crest Fitness Specialist Colleen Fox teaches virtual fitness class on Cedar Crest TV.

Cedar Crest Fitness Specialist Colleen Fox teaches virtual fitness class on Cedar Crest TV.

Cedar Crest TV has always been popular with residents at the Erickson Living-managed community in Pequannock, N.J., for its variety of informative and entertaining programs. During this time of physical distancing, the in-house TV studio has become an even more vital resource for community members and staff to stay connected, engaged, and informed.

“We are fortunate that Cedar Crest has three in-house channels to provide an assortment of programs for our residents to enjoy at home,” says Community TV Lead Coordinator Mike Dygos, who runs the studio with Community TV Coordinator Matt Colvin. “We strive to educate and entertain viewers through interactive game shows, religious services, wellness and fitness programs, movies, art classes, and informational talks from the administration.”

Staff members from all departments have been contributing content. Fitness staff members teach exercise classes virtually. The dining department hosts programs, including a live cooking show with Executive Chef Harris Gondelman. Members of Resident Life are teaching simple drawing and origami classes on the channels. Sales Manager Brian Cassidy has stepped in to host news shows. Senior Manager of Resident Services Erica Zayat and Social Worker Jennifer Malec launched a new show devoted to wellness with virtual interviews with residents. 

One channel is dedicated to programs by Pastoral Ministries, which airs virtual services from the on-campus chapel.  And the movie channel broadcasts a variety of films—opera, documentary, foreign movies, contemporary and classics.

Interactive and entertaining quiz shows include Name That Tune with residents singing karaoke virtually, virtual Bingo hosted by Community Resources Manager Amy Wagener, and the Door-to-Door Quiz Show, hosted by Zayat donning a bunny suit and other whimsical costumes.

Working together

Residents are getting into the act by leading Zoom discussion groups, putting together comedy programs, and continuing to host their regular shows virtually. Marilyn Kaplan led a virtual sing-along on her guitar for neighbors and staff from her balcony.

Since Memorial Day has always been a significant holiday on campus, staff and community members decided to recognize the day in a similar fashion, except virtually. The program that aired on Cedar Crest TV included resident and staff speakers and video clips from past ceremonies of the color guard and the Cedar Crest Chorale.

“It’s been a true team effort from residents and staff to keep our station filled with dynamic programs,” says Zayat.

Keeping the community informed

In addition to providing ways for community members to stay active and engaged within their apartment homes, Cedar Crest has been keeping the community up to date with informative shows. The Cedar Crest Today show airs two times a week. Also, Executive Director Todd DeLaney and Associate Executive Director Kristen Compton host a live update show three times a week during which residents can ask questions via email or by phone and receive answers on-air.

Community member Margaret Mack says, “Kristen and Todd always offer not only information but also reassurance that we are all in this together.”

“During this COVID-19 situation, accurate, timely information is essential,” says DeLaney. “The safety of our residents is our top priority, and we’re using every communication resource to inform them of what we’re doing.”

Jeff Watson, Erickson Living’s director of operations, gives high praise to the broadcast professionals and resident volunteers at Cedar Crest. “They deserve great credit for the creative, high-quality programming they’ve produced throughout this unprecedented situation. Their innovation and hard work have resulted in a heightened level of communication that has kept those on campus connected, engaged, and healthy.”

Margaret agrees. “Mike Dygos and Matt Colvin of the Cedar Crest TV team have certainly gone above and beyond and have enhanced all the programming we have been enjoying. Seeing the entire staff of Cedar Crest step up and try to relate to us and what we are experiencing during these overwhelming times has been an experience I will never forget.”

Explore vibrant senior living at Cedar Crest

Consider Cedar Crest if you’re interested in living in a connected and engaged senior independent living community. Beautiful walking paths, gardens, resort-style amenities, an on-site medical center staffed by full-time medical professionals, and new friends await. Request a free brochure today.