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February 4, 2021
You could sense the hope return at the end of December 2020 when we started delivering COVID vaccinations. Shirley, a long-time resident at the MonteCedro, our vibrant community for senior living in Pasadena, exclaimed, “you’re making us feel like we’re 21 again!”
When the pandemic hit in the second week of March 2020, our team and staff quickly reacted to ensure our senior independent living communities remained safe and healthy.
“We were all in unchartered waters,” says Sharon Pewtress, Vice President of Strategic Growth and Business Development with ECS. Not only was safety a priority, so was communicating quickly and effectively with residents. ECS’s senior team, including our CEO, CFO, COO as well as Sharon, started meeting weekly with the Resident Leadership Group made up of three members from each community. “We would hear directly from them about how the residents were feeling, and we’d get feedback on our plans before implementing them,” ensuring the programs were effective and well integrated.
Because ECS values the expertise of its residents, the team invited a member of the Resident Leadership Group, an Epidemiologist, to share his extensive experience with neighbors and residents. They heard directly from a practitioner about aspects of the virus as well as the COVID vaccine for seniors, and were able to ask questions.
Lizett Leandro, Clinical Director of Health Services oversaw the logistics and scheduling of the program. “It was a complex process to work with the various state and county authorities to ensure our residents were some of the first to be vaccinated.”
Initially, she says there was some hesitancy in participating, but once staff and residents saw how well the process was being managed, and saw others getting vaccinated, they opted into the program.
A note from residents and Epidemiologists, Drs. Margan and Thad Zajdowicz captured the sentiment of the communities. “Thad and I want to thank all the staff at ECS and MonteCedro for coordinating a very smooth and professional vaccine exercise here at MC. Thad and I got our vaccine with utter ease this morning and the good news is, we are already feeling it! … Please let all the staff know that we really appreciate their fine performance and all the effort this took. It is likely that this effort has saved and will save lives.”
The pandemic has reinforced the importance of strong community to the staff and residents. “There is now so much hope,” says Lizett. Residents are looking forward to getting back to enjoying their resort-style communities, and spending time with neighbors again, pursuing the classes and activities that make living here so enriching and engaging.