Melissa Lee is checking in with Chuck Nicholls, Engagement Director of Arbor Terrace Exton, as he shares a sneak peek into the new community and memorable moments in its first few months of operation.
Hear how the Exton team is tailoring activities to the residents’ personalities and interests, and using the latest and greatest technologies to keep them connected and engaged.
- Hello, everyone, and welcome into Senior Living Live. My name is Melissa. I hope you are having a fantastic day today. Well, we are traveling to one of Arbor's newest communities who opened their doors early April, Arbor Terrace Exton, in Exton, Pennsylvania. It is an absolutely gorgeous community. And joining me today is the engagement director, who has been there for a couple of months now, since resident one showed up at the door, Chuck Nicholls. Chuck, it is good to see you. How are you?
- Good, Melissa. How are you? Nice to see you.
- Yeah, I'm doing fantastic. Thank you. Now, you obviously are not new to the Arbor Company. You were just down the road at our Arbor Terrace Willistown. So you have been at this new community, Arbor Terrace Exton, for a couple of months now. What is your favorite thing about this new community?
- Right now I have to say it's the people that are coming in here that we're getting in to have this community come together. It's just been really a pleasure to watch happen. And just the fact that they're coming in and they're getting settled in, I'm getting a really good chance to meet their families up close, because it is just one at a time that they're coming in now. So I can... I can really start to relate and get to know the sons, and the daughters, and the spouses of the residents as they're coming in. And I think that would have to be it. Yeah.
- Yeah, and what I like about you, Chuck, is that you aren't just... As an engagement director, you aren't just taking these sort of generic ideas and implementing them. You actually wanna really get to know your residents so that you can sort of tailor your activities to what they like, yes?
- Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. We had a... We had an experience just the other day. We were just kinda sitting outside on our patio and enjoying the sun a little bit, and the conversations were just going from here to there and everywhere. And at one point, for whatever reason, it kinda zeroed in on the story of a bridge of spies, the Gary Powers U-2 spy plane incident, and mentioning that there was a movie, and somebody said, "Well, is there a book about that?" And I said, "It's gotta be a book. Let me check." And technology's great. I can go right onto Amazon. I said, "Who would like to read that book?" And it's like, "Well, I will." All right. So boom. I ordered five bucks right there. I said, "They'll be here Tuesday, and we're gonna have a book club." So... Yeah, those kinda things are really fun when it happens.
- Oh gosh, I love that story. That is awesome. It's just... It happens naturally. It's not forced.
- It's very organic. Yeah. Yeah.
- Yeah, very organic. I love that. Well, since you mentioned technology, I do wanna touch on that just a little bit, because a lot of our seniors really had to become tech savvy during the pandemic, right, in order to communicate with family members, to communicate with some staff. So Arbor Terrace Exton really has the latest and greatest when it comes to technology. What are some of the more popular features on that end that the residents are raving about?
- Actually, right now I'm gonna say that what's getting our most use is our iN2L system that we have. Each of our communities has a system that includes a 70-foot screen. So you can almost create a live experience with whatever it is you're putting up there. So aside from the games that we can do, and the puzzles we can do, and the music that we can bring through, we can also livestream church services on Sundays for them. One of my favorite things to do, and it helps me get my morning workout in, is I put up a virtual bike ride in front of our residents, and we have the pedal machines on the floor, and we've pedaled through Italy, we've pedaled through Ireland. We peddled through Hawaii this morning. We were down in Palm Beach, Australia. So for about a half an hour we get to sit in front and it's very realistic. You get to see the people walking around, and the animals that they have and such. It's a lot of fun.
- Oh, that is so cool. Again, just thinking outside of the box as some uses for some of that technology. That sounds wonderful. I love it. So great idea there with your residents. And I know that as people continue to get vaccinated, I'm talking staff and just people outside of the community, that there tends to be this sort of feeling of excitement and that we're getting back to normal. What are you and these residents most looking forward to when it comes to these vaccinations, and putting the pandemic in the rear view mirror?
- My belief is to get out of the building, go out on lunch outings, go to movies, go to parks, go to museums. We can only bring so much of that experience into the building. And I think just getting on the bus, and packing a lunch, and going to a picnic out in the park would be a tremendous boost for everybody to just kinda know that we... Hey, we got here. We're at the end of it and life is coming back for us. So that's what I'm looking for. I know our residents are, too.
- Yeah, and as we mentioned, this is a new community. The first resident moved in in April. You've been there just a couple of months. But what are... What are some of the more memorable moments you've had, or maybe the most memorable moment you've had already at this new community?
- Well, when people were first coming in, we were doing a lot of one-on-one engagement, either in their rooms, or bringing them around the buildings, walking outside a little bit. We were in situations where some people were yet to be fully vaccinated, so they were quarantined for 14 days coming in. I think the nicest, most memorable part so far has been when we had about six or seven residents in the building, and we had a happy hour, and everybody came in together, and we were sitting around at our tables, distanced around, but there was a lot of conversation going on, and I wanted to get the trivia book, 'cause my idea is always to have something going while you're here. But I just kinda put it down and just started letting people meet each other, and start building that community that we wanna have here. So they're our founders group right now, so we have a really good opportunity for them.
- Yeah. The founders are the first people to move in and really kinda christen the new building, and give it that vibe or that feel that makes all of these Arbor communities so special and so unique. Now, if somebody's watching this, Chuck, and they have an interest in this community, what do you feel they should know?
- Whoa... I'll tell ya, I've been in a number of places, communities, beyond Arbor, and there there's nothing like this. The minute you come into the door, your jaw is gonna drop just by what you see. And what's really special is that's the wow factor of coming in and seeing the iN2L screens on each floor, the wonderful little living room that we have, our beautiful dining room, coming upstairs to see our sports lounge. That's the wow factor. But when we asked them "What did you feel? What did you feel when you walked through the building?" And they said, "It feels really nice here." You just have a good feeling that people are good here. People are nice here. It's kind of a... We got a family sort of feel. So I think that's what our expectation is. and what we're hearing from people, that's what's going on.
- Yeah. It sounds like this community has the entire package. It definitely has the looks. I have seen it for myself, and it is absolutely stunning, and I didn't even get to see it finished. It was still in the construction phase. But boy, it was absolutely gorgeous, again, with the latest and greatest, but I'm so happy to hear that with the residents coming in, that the vibe is also matching sort of what you're seeing, too, the visual. It's all coming together so nicely. You're in part a big part of that, too, Chuck. So we thank you for bringing your expertise and your knowledge to this new community. The residents will certainly be spoiled. And we thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with us today.
- Well, thank you very much. It's very nice to see you again.
- Yeah. Good to see you, too, Chuck. Thank you for that sneak peek at Arbor Terrace Exton in Exton, Pennsylvania. Now, if you enjoyed this interview with Chuck, you can head on over to www.seniorlivinglive.com for more of our video content, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As always, we appreciate you watching Senior Living Live. Have a great day, everybody