2019 ANN’S CHOICE History
2019 was a year that provided enough head-spinning national and world events to satisfy the most addicted news junkie, starting in January with a new Democrat-controlled Congress in Washington and the longest government shutdown in United States history and ending with a presidential impeachment inquiry.
At Ann’s Choice, there was a lot less drama and a lot more fun!
In January we settled in with a surfeit of activities on the calendar including a Heritage Food Festival, “Comfort Foods Around the World.” Who could resist nibbling on ethnic-inspired goodies from India, Ireland, Poland and more while benefitting our own Benevolent Care Fund with your ticket purchase?
The long anticipated opening of Chestnut Pointe was on the calendar for early 2019. Plans were underway to renovate Banners Café. And a new text messaging alert system, Swift 911, was being put in place as another communication tool. The Fitness Center offered several new classes to get us up and moving, and a new Digital Photo Club met for the first time.
As a surprisingly mild winter turned to spring, a heated and constantly churning political situation yielded the Mueller Report, the responses to the Mueller Report, and endless discussions about the Mueller Report (and related issues). Meanwhile, numerous Democrats emerged as potential 2020 Presidential candidates including seven sitting Senators, a half dozen former and current House members, several mayors, and a former Vice President.
Elections here on campus of perhaps less global impact resulted in new Resident Advisory Council members Lois Pisacane, Bernie Roseman, and Bud Williams, joining Mimi Travis, Gertrude Solkov, Edie Krieger, Cheryl Plunkett, Charlie Reckner and Mary Rosen-Swanson on the RAC.
Jane Neiger was chosen by the National Senior Campuses Board to serve as the Director Living in Community.
Paula Altszuler joined the Resident Life Department as a resident services coordinator for Liberty Commons. Lisa Jones was selected as the Employee of the Year. Social worker Suzanne Tepper retired after 13+ innovative years with Ann’s Choice. Joining Suzanne in retirement was another longtime staff member, Robin Kaufold. Robin started in the Sales Department at Ann’s Choice when the community opened in 2003 and later served as General Services Director, Philanthropy Manager, and Resident Services Manager.
By year’s end, Sharon Silvestri had taken over philanthropy duties. Mary Borgmann became the new transportation manager following the retirement of Gene Karahuta, the original manager — is there anyone on campus who didn’t know Gene? Christa Segal, formerly Senior Manager of Resident Services, was promoted to Director of Resident Life. In Continuing Care, Barbara Wolfgang was promoted to Assistant Director of Nursing; Michelle McCarty was welcomed as a new Wellness Nurse Manager at Chestnut Pointe; and Kelly Wright assumed the post of Nursing Home Administrator.
Science confirmed that napping, mushrooms, and high fiber foods were all good for us. So was the new Erickson “7 Dimensions of Wellness” initiative aimed at improving physical and mental well-being. And speaking of good health, Ann’s Choice was recognized as a ‘2019 Healthiest Employer’ by the Philadelphia Business Journal.
Sweden’s teenaged climate-change activist Greta Thunberg wasn’t the only person concerned about saving the planet. At Ann’s Choice we also did our part for environmental wellness with the installation of LED lighting in common areas and water savings, thanks to new HVAC systems. New recyclable paper products for take-out decreased waste as part of Dining Services’ sustainable paper program. A redesign of the “Cubby Chronicle,” the monthly “Calendar,” and the “Annagram” saved an estimated 500+ trees, the result of our new printing practices. The Finance Office announced the option of online billing, another paper-saving action.
Other changes — and this was a big one and not without some dissenting voices among us — included the departure of Horsham Square Pharmacy, a part of our community since 2003, replaced by drug store chain CVS. With the exit of Horsham Square, ‘Dollar Dog Day’ was threatened, but Dining Services stepped in to continue the popular Saturday event. MyErickson, the staff-managed website, saw increases in registered users and expanded information options, while the resident-run website, acresidents.org, continued to serve the community admirably.
We could brag about…
… Rose Gardens receiving the highest honor given to Skilled Nursing from CMS 5 Star Ratings for Quality Measures.
… Ann’s Choice being ranked #7 by Fortune Magazine in the “Best Workplaces of Aging Services” category.
… Thirty-six of our student servers being awarded post-secondary school scholarships thanks to our generous support of the Scholars Fund. The 11th annual golf outing in May raised over $11,000 for the Fund.
… Collecting 2,824 pounds of food donated during the annual drive benefitting the Bucks County Housing Group.
… $371,493 (with 80% of residents participating) donated during the Staff Appreciation Fund Drive.
What else was new and exciting in 2019?
Those of us who perhaps couldn’t find Ukraine on a map were inspired to correct that shortcoming thanks to the impossible-to-ignore news through the last quarter of the year regarding a call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky, eventually leading to the U.S. House of Representatives holding Presidential impeachment hearings. We had perhaps less world-shaking but very satisfying news of our own: by October we’d had two periods when there was zero availability of independent living apartments, almost unheard of in the senior living industry. We welcomed 281 new residents to independent living. Ann’s Choice continued to be a place where a lot of people wanted to live!
Finally, according to the website YouGov, 14% of Americans had a zombie apocalypse plan ready just in case. Little did we know what was coming our way in 2020 — a few dozen zombies might look pretty good by comparison!
The Week, Vol. 19, issue 956-957 Ann’s Choice Calendar
Annagram Erickson Tribune
“From the Desk of….” by Chris Donati Bucks County Herald
Ann’s Choice 2019 Annual Report