In early September, for instance, Anne began by telling the story of a socially-distanced event we held to honor six people we serve who are all 100 or older[JB1] . “I thought it was impressive and inspiring to see this group of people all together,” Anne told the audience that tunes into her weekly “A Conversation with Anne” show.
She says, “I try to bring laughter and fun, or a positive piece of news. Sometimes I bring my own personal news, such as when my daughter moved.”
Since she took the lead at Glenmeadow four years ago, Anne has made it a priority to connect with the older adults we support. She has enjoyed building relationships and listening; one way she had to stay in touch was a monthly town meeting called “A Conversation with Anne,” in which she heard input from residents on new initiatives.
Then, COVID-19 became prevalent in our region, and it was not safe for residents to gather. Anne reinvented “A Conversation with Anne” with an online version to keep the dialogue going. Each Wednesday afternoon, she talks with residents in a show that is livestreamed via our in-house television channel, Channel 918. Residents gather around their TVs in their apartments to watch.
After about 20 minutes, Anne invites dialogue and opens the program—and her phone line. Residents begin to call with questions, comments, and feedback. They ask such things as, “When will we be able to play cards again?” or “When can more people enter the pool at the same time?”
Residents also deliver commentary, such as: “Dinner last night was great.”
Because Anne’s program can also be accessed via YouTube, area residents and family members can watch and stay informed [JB2] about the news and activities at Glenmeadow. “Some folks watch every week,” Anne says.
Team members members David Leslie and Patrick Lostaglia make the programming possible, overseeing the logistics. They have perfected the techniques, and Anne says, “I couldn’t do it without them.”
When residents first had to isolate in their apartments to protect themselves from COVID-19, Anne says there was fear from residents and families as well as confusion. “They clearly wanted to know what was happening at Glenmeadow and how they’d be affected,” she says.
“A Conversation with Anne” helped educate and inform. Weekly, Anne discusses such things as the rising number of cases in the state and across the globe and the ever-changing protocols at Glenmeadow. Programming then moved from crisis management to how Glenmeadow would safely reopen its activities and services.
When the need for a program no longer existed, residents wanted the conversations to continue. “It is a great way of communicating,” Anne says. “A lot of people watch.”
Anne says even her own family members enjoy the program, and they tell her she has helped to educate them about staying safe during this pandemic. A friend who tunes in regularly has also called Anne for advice on socializing with an older relative.
With a show each week, Anne does sometimes worry about coming up with new material. Residents and team members feed her with ideas, and she gets suggestions from Glenmeadow’s senior team during weekly meetings. Basically, Anne says her listeners are hungry for ongoing news of the pandemic as well as Glenmeadow’s activities and life enrichment programs.
Even when Anne went on vacation last summer, residents asked her not to skip a week. “We really want to see you,” she heard, then and still.
Residents tell her: “It’s important for us. People enjoy hearing from you. Please don’t stop doing it.”
She says, “I’m happy to continue to do it.”