Posted: September 25, 2020
By: Susan Eakin, Sales Counselor
One of the benefits of living in a community like Clermont Park, especially during a pandemic, is that residents have opportunities to shape and give back to their communities through volunteering, leadership, and participation in clubs and committees. It’s also one of the best ways to get to know other seniors, similar to life in any neighborhood.
Clermont Park boasts over 35 different clubs, committees and community groups, led exclusively by residents. One such group is the Garden Club; a small but growing group of residents, who dream up new landscaping ideas, plant seasonal flowers, prune rose bushes, plant and tend the vegetable and herb gardens, and enjoy sharing the harvest. We asked Alice L., one of the Garden Club members, why she spends so much time in the dirt. “I love being outside, watching things grow, and giving back to my community.” Claire M., another Garden Club member, loves “celebrating the harvest with a garden-to-table gathering with the folks that have been working in the garden all summer.”
Conversation Connections is a new group that was formed during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way for residents to enjoy face-to-face conversations about various topics. Shirley B. and Barbara M. collaborated to launch this program. Shirley commented, “Residents have a chance to get out of their apartments and join in a face-to-face discussion that goes beyond the surface. It’s been a challenge to get residents to voice their opinions, but we are getting better at it! We really need to connect with each other so we don’t become depressed during this pandemic.” Recent conversation topics have included Practicing Stress Management, Gender Equality, Grief, and Ballot Blues – each led by different residents. All residents are invited to submit topic ideas and volunteer to lead a conversation.
Resident volunteers in the community have especially enjoyed the purposeful activities inside the community while other activities have been severely limited due to COVID-19. Residents volunteer at the concierge desk to allow our staff much-needed break time, in the gift shop helping residents and staff enjoy a long-missed shopping experience, as ambassadors to welcome new residents, and on dining and finance committees to provide meaningful feedback to Clermont Park leaders, to name a few. Mary H., a volunteer at our concierge desk, enjoys seeing neighbors and feels good about supporting the staff at Clermont Park. “Volunteering at the desk saved my life during the COVID pandemic! All of my usual activities had to be canceled. Volunteering got me out of my apartment so I could see people and gave me something to do every day. The concierge team knows they can count on me and that feels great.”
Phyllis D, elected President of the Resident Assembly in July of 2019, believes it is very important to serve in the community. When asked why she took on this leadership role, Phyllis explained, “I’ve been here at Clermont Park for 13 years and I see the good it does when residents volunteer. It contributes to a culture where residents are open and engaging and care about their community.”
These types of meaningful opportunities have been a central part of life here at Clermont Park since its founding. We partner with Masterpiece Living to help residents get the most out of each day. This has proven to be even more crucial during recent months with state and county restrictions on normal routines. Community living might seem restricted to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 among older adults, however, there are advantages to living in community, including the opportunity to remain many safe and fulfilling activities to connect with peers and find purpose right here in “the neighborhood”!
Susan Eakin is a Sales Counselor at Clermont Park. She has a passion for assisting older adults and their families with making important decisions about senior living and care options. When not at Clermont Park, Susan enjoys spending time with her family, taking long walks, cooking, reading, knitting and traveling.