When times are uncertain, residents at The Gatesworth retirement community can rest assured that their practical and personal needs will be cared for at every turn. And there is always plenty of fun afoot to help them stay active and engaged, according to Donna Meyer, assistant director of resident programs.
One of the staff’s main goals is to keep seniors personally connected while staying socially distant, Meyer explains. “Planning safe activities during the pandemic has been challenging, but we have approached it with creativity and adaptability,” she says. “We encourage residents to take advantage of the community’s incredible outdoor spaces and walking paths, and there are plenty of carefully planned social gatherings to enjoy.”
The fitness center helps residents stay physically active, and there are endless opportunities for socially distanced classes, discussion groups, book clubs, sing-alongs and Bible study sessions. Meyer says her team also focuses on helping seniors take advantage of technology to preserve their connections with family and friends. Even something as simple as ice cream treats shared with a neighbor can keep spirits buoyed, she notes. New movie channels have been added for residents, and there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy chef Brian Hardy’s renowned cuisine.
Live entertainment is always on the agenda at The Gatesworth, with a variety of performers gracing its courtyards and pavilion each Wednesday and Saturday evening when weather permits. This past summer, residents enjoyed performances from acts like the Kevin Mitchell 4 band, keyboardist Daniel Smith, violinist Ross Christopher, the Red and Black Brass Band, and Elsie Parker & the Poor People of Paris.
Meyer adds that each apartment features a patio or balcony so residents can enjoy the outdoor music and camaraderie as much as they like. Resident Jerry Calcaterra says he has felt especially fortunate to live on the ground floor near the community’s landscaped walkways and lovely fountain courtyard. “We get to see people strolling by and can go to our patio door to catch up while distancing, of course,” he notes.
Resident Ken Alexander says The Gatesworth staff members have been standouts during a difficult situation. “I admire how creative they have been at keeping our activities going and our spirits up,” he says. “We have a current events program via Zoom that is wonderful. Employee parades have been great fun, and life-sized cutouts of famous people add enjoyment. Someone secretly moves them around to different places, and there is an unexpected element of humor each time you turn a corner and find one. Governor Andrew Cuomo has been a frequent visitor.”
According to Meyer, The Gatesworth has struck a fine balance between observing safety precautions and maintaining a positive atmosphere during challenging times. “We are all about community here,” she notes. “Our team has been working hard to protect residents and come up with safe, creative ways for them to have fun.”