Recent natural disasters have illustrated the senior living industry’s preparedness and their commitment to those they serve. Many of our A Place for Mom partners went above and beyond during and after the recent storms and fires to help their residents, team members and their surrounding communities.
Team members worked around the clock, providing care, meals and comfort. They coordinated furniture and clothing for families who lost everything. And – not only caring for their own residents – they opened their doors to the wider community. They invited spouses and children of team members to take shelter. They were quick to provide funds and supplies to team members through their own employee assistance funds. They provided furnished apartments for displaced seniors and – when necessary – evacuated their residents away from the storms and fires.
“We were well fed, comfortable and secure! You did an outstanding job, one and all, and are to be congratulated. Kudos and a grateful thanks to all for an excellent preparation before, during and after the hurricane!” – Residents at Stratford Court
We’ve collected a few inspirational stories of our partners, showing their commitment, compassion and strength:
CareOne Relief after Hurricane Maria
CareOne provided support and crucial relief to the people of Puerto Rico who were slammed by Hurricane Maria. They flew over 20,000 lbs of donations including generators, 1,000 vials of insulin, food and water to Puerto Rico. To extend their impact, they established a foundation to support those in need and recently hosted a fundraiser event featuring star performers, Pitbull and JoJo.
“The people of Puerto Rico have been devastated by Hurricane Maria and many are still without power and have limited access to clean water, food, and medicine,” says Daniel E. Straus, CEO of CareOne. “We are one of many concerned private companies that are stepping in to help those who are facing a long and difficulty recovery.”
Chelsea Senior Living goes to Puerto Rico
Dawn Shourt, RN and one of Chelsea’s Regional Directors of Health Services travelled with a group of volunteers to Puerto Rico. They assisted with rebuilding efforts and also interviewed for care positions at their communities in New Jersey. Selected candidates will be hired, flown to NJ at Chelsea’s expense, have a place to live at one of the communities, and will receive a cash stipend.
“Puerto Rico faces a long rebuilding process and many jobs have been lost,” said Herb Heflich, Chief Executive Officer of Chelsea Senior Living. “And we are always looking for good people for our hands-on positions as nurses’ aides, medication aides and resident attendants. This seemed like a solution that addresses both problems.”
Atria Senior Living at Disney World
Atria Senior Living took proactive measures ahead of Hurricane Irma, evacuating all Florida coastal communities to Disney World in Orlando. They acquired 1000 rooms for residents, team members and their loved ones (including pets). Earlier, with Hurricane Harvey, they hosted a Texas-Sized Cookout nationwide to raise additional funds for their employee assistance program, Atria Cares. Over 350 of their team members were impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Enlivant’s Truckload of Supplies
Enlivant demonstrated their principal of servant leadership when CEO Jack Callison, COO Dan Guill and SVP Doug Veazey filled a rental truck with mattresses and other supplies. They drove from Chicago to Houston to provide boots-on-the-ground support to their residents and teams.
(Pictured L to R: Dan Guill, COO; Doug Veazey, SVP. Bottom: Jack Callison, CEO)
Brookdale’s Family Commitment
Throughout the storms and fires, Brookdale’s team members rallied together for their residents, families and associates. In fact, as Hurricane Irma was churning winds of 40+ mph, a resident of Freedom Plaza in Sun City Center needed to be hospitalized as he was in respiratory distress, a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. Due to high winds, ambulances and fire trucks weren’t allowed on the roads so Giselle Liverpool, Director of Clinical Services and RN Kerwyn Madray took action using Madray’s SUV to drive the resident to the ER. He was hospitalized for 10 days and has now, thankfully, recovered.
When mandatory evacuations during Hurricane Irma prohibited an associate from returning home from the hospital following childbirth, Tammy Farrell, Health and Wellness Director of Brookdale Spring Hill, responded immediately by converting her own office into a nursery for the associate and her family! This included her day-and-a-half-old newborn baby, as well as her spouse and their other two children! Residents were delighted to meet the newest member of the Brookdale family, to reminisce about their own children and to share advice.
Holiday Assisting Displaced Seniors
There were two particularly powerful stories of Holiday Retirement pulling together to help two couples in need. In one case, a couple’s home had been destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, and they had been moved several times to different evacuation centers. The gentleman was on hospice, and his spouse hadn’t slept in a bed for 5 days. They didn’t have any clothing or toiletries with them – only a suitcase of important papers. The community team gathered furnishings and clothing and helped them to move into a respite apartment.
In another scenario, a couple had been evacuating ahead of Hurricane Irma when they ran out of gas and were found walking the street. The community team met with them in the hospital and arranged a respite apartment quickly for them until their children were able to fly in from out-of-state to coordinate a more permanent solution.
Integrated Real Estate Group
Integrated Real Estate Group had a couple communities affected by Hurricane Harvey. They expressed with transparency and humility the effects of the storm:
“There are no words to express to someone the devastation and horror for our residents and families that survived Hurricane Harvey. This is by no means a short term or soon to be forgotten incident. Lives were changed forever. There is no way to describe how it felt when residents came in with all their worldly possessions in a small bag. Beautiful homes and a lifetime of memories were all washed away. We are so thankful to work for a company that said ‘what can we do?’ ‘How can we help?’, and gave us the opportunity to offer furnished apartments to prospective residents who had lost everything. We are still recovering, but are so blessed by our community of residents that are so full of love and compassion.” – The team at Watercrest of Katy
Also – in the midst of such grief – Integrated took the opportunity to deliver sweet messages from first graders out of state. Kristen Lembcke is the VP of Sales for Integrated, and her Mom, a teacher at Lower Lake Elementary School in California, invited her students to draw pictures for seniors displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Many of the students had been affected by wildfires over the past couple years and were empathetic to those affected by the hurricanes. Kristen delivered the pictures herself. Since the storm waters have subsided, some of the students and seniors have become pen pals – a delightful connection.
Thank you to all of our partners who have gone to extraordinary measures to ensure the safety and comfort of your residents, who have provided funds and supplies to help, who have supported their team members and their loved ones. You inspire us. We are honored to partner with you and to be a part of this compassionate industry.
Kevin Carlin, Principal and Chief Sales Officer for Meridian Senior Living captures it beautifully,
“I am almost at a loss for words as I express extreme gratitude. We celebrate so many good times but it is sometimes the challenges in life that really define us. I pontificated as I drove from League City to Austin about all of the preparation and the unplanned actions that went into this and I realized how incredible our teams really are. I was honored to serve with our teams as we prepared for and endured the one of the worst hurricanes in history. All made our residents safety the highest priority, worked tirelessly during Harvey, and drove hundreds of miles before it reached landfall to ensure everyone had the necessary supplies to be as prepared as possible.”