ERS Linkage Podcast - Episode 1

ERS Linkage Podcast - Episode 1

Podcast ERS Linkage Podcast - Episode 1

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Rising to the Occasion

Update from President & CEO Laura Lamb.

For our very first episode, we touch base with residents, David Lowry at Marjorie P. Lee Retirement Community and Pat Donaldson at Deupree House. Plus we hear some inspiring stories from President and CEO, Laura Lamb.

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Episode 1 Transcript

Bryan Reynolds
Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to our first episode of the Linkage podcast by Episcopal Retirement Services.
Bryan Reynolds
My name is Bryan Reynolds. I'm the Vice President of Marketing with ERS. And I'm here with my fellow coworker, Kristin Davenport, who's our director of communications, and the producer of this show.
Bryan Reynolds
Welcome, Kristin.
Kristin Davenport
Thanks, Bryan. Glad to be here.
Bryan Reynolds
Yeah, we're so excited about bringing this podcast to our audience. It's really dedicated to educating our audience about the issues regarding aging
and informing people about the mission of ERS as we kind of talk about the everyday interactions going on in our communities and on our programs. So with that being said, I think we've got a great first show lined up. Kristin, can you give us a little bit of an idea of what we're going to have on our show today?
Kristin Davenport
Absolutely. I'm excited to tell you that with us today, we'll be David Lowry. David is a resident at Marjorie P. Lee Retirement Community in Hyde Park and Pat Donaldson, who's a resident at Deupree House Community, also in Hyde Park. And we're really excited to have both of them with us, and check-in with them. Today we'll also check in with our president and CEO, Laura Lamb. She's going to just tell us how things have been going this week. And she is going to hopefully share some inspiring stories and some of the ways that we've really been working through this whole COVID 19 crisis.
Bryan Reynolds
Well, that sounds great. I think we have a great, great first show lined up, and I guess without further ado, Kristin, you want to introduce what our first segment's gonna be?
Kristin Davenport
Yes. Bryan thanks. So our first segment is with David Lowry. Let's meet David.
Kristin Davenport
With us now is one of our residents from Marjorie P. Lee. David Lowry.
Kristin Davenport
David is a retired general presbyter of the Presbytery of Cincinnati. David has been involved during his time at Marjorie P. Lee. He's been a leader amongst our residents. He served on our corporate board and shared his many talents. Among them, fund development, organizational development and leadership development. David moved to Marjorie P. Lee In 2005, where he started the recycling program and sings and the resident chorus, he serves as the treasurer of the Employee Christmas Fund and he is now the president of the Resident Council. So welcome, David.
David Lowry
Thank you.
Kristin Davenport
We're so glad to have you with us this morning. We wanted to just. We're not seeing you every day and we just wanted to check-in. So how are you doing?
David Lowry 
I'm doing very well. I'm feeling fine.
And of course, the nurse comes and checks every day to make sure I'm feeling fine, taking temperature and so forth. I think those of us living here are the most protected and cared for people in metropolitan Cincinnati. I worry more about the people out there, than any of us in here. So I'd say I'm in good spirits.
I'm ready to ride this out for however long it takes.
Kristin Davenport
Very good. Very good.
David, tell me what you've been doing to stay active and engaged while your social distancing.
David Lowry 
Well, first, I'm exercising every day. That, we don't need to let go. Either by following the video on the in-house channel or going down to the fitness room, and recently been able to even get out into the courtyard to get some sun. So physically staying active, and I'm doing a lot more reading, catching up on books, both light and heavy books that I've been wanting to read, doing a few more puzzles. I like crosswords, some Sudoku and decryption, doing those phone calls with the family. I have a retreat group of five of us that meet once a month for 24 hours and we can't do that. So now we're having a standard virtual meeting by a conference call every Thursday afternoon. So I'm staying in touch with my spiritual base.
And then, you know, you see things on the Internet or people send you things. Mostly for laughs. And, you know, keeping it alive to what's going on in the world, as well as keep your spirits up. Those are some of the things I've been doing, I'd say. It doesn't feel like a vegetating and I'm not going to let that happen.
Kristin Davenport
Well, that is good. And it sounds like your, you know, really tackling all six dimensions of wellness. You're not really leaving anything out. And I'm glad to hear you're not only keeping some of your traditional things going, maybe you're even trying some new things, which sounds great. I know you're an avid walker, I bet you miss your walks to Hyde Park Square and back.
David Lowry
That's one thing that I miss. I am not able to go out and walk because we're not leaving the campus, and somehow walking down to the gardens and back doesn't quite do it for me. I was used to walking for an hour, an hour and a half daily. And that's something that I'll just have to pick up again when I can. When this is over. Meanwhile, you know, if that's the worst is happening to me. That's OK.
Kristin Davenport
That's right. I think they call that a first-world problem.
David Lowry
Probably so. Probably so.
Think of I think a lot about the folks, especially those who are having to get on a bus and go to work or grocery workers or staff workers or some other job that has to keep going. And they don't have the privilege of just sitting around at home. Those are the people I'm most concerned about.
Kristin Davenport
That I completely agree with. It is difficult for I know many of our staff members to keep things going while they're, you know, got their children may be at home because they're not attending school. They're doing their best to keep all of you healthy and keep themselves healthy as caregivers, not only for our residents, but also for their families. So it is a challenging time.
David Lowry
I was so glad when ERS established the Emergency Response Fund for exactly those things, for our staff, and it was a privilege to contribute to that. And hope that it may help.
Kristin Davenport
The response has been very heartening and very welcome. We appreciate everybody taking care of the most vulnerable residents. The staff that might need assistance in this emergency and some of our Meals on Wheels clients who also need some extra care right now can't get out to get things like pet food and other things that they might need. So appreciate that you've been able to support that. So tell us a little bit maybe what are you pulling from or drawing from your own experiences or maybe crises that you've lived through in the past that maybe have helped you maybe shape how you're handling this current crisis?
David Lowry
But, you know, I think I think it helps to be 90 years old, as young people say, you know, this is not my first rodeo.
Kristin Davenport
I love it.
David Lowry
When you're born in the 30s during the Great Depression and you are a teenager during the Second World War. Watching. And I did watch the news very carefully during the war.
David Lowry
Just the way we're now watching the whole world during this war. And then I was in the frontlines of the Civil Rights Movement in the 60s. So, you know, you gradually develop a perspective. Over time, I think, which is harder for young people. I mean, for those for whom this is maybe their first major crisis. I can see how this would be very, very disorienting and upsetting. I think we have been through it all or many things like it are at an advantage with equilibrium and perspective. You know, you learn over time. Life is not all about me. I'm all about life. And life is always unpredictable, often unfair. But it doesn't last forever. That's the kind of perspective that one gathers over a longer life. And if we learn anything during this one, it's that we are dependent upon one another. We need to learn things about community and solidarity with other people. And after all, I'm just one little spark in God's universe. I think that helps.
Kristin Davenport
Well, that's some inspirational thoughts there. I appreciate you sharing those. That's that is good. Good food for all of us to think about and reflect on as we are all trying to make our way through these experiences. That's a lot of good wisdom for us, I think.
David Lowry
Thank you. And thanks for the chance to talk to you. Appreciate it.
Kristin Davenport
Well, thank you for joining us today. And we're going to wrap up this segment, and we're going to hear from our CEO, Laura Lamb.
Bryan Reynolds
Wow. So what a great interview with David, Kristin
Kristin Davenport
Yeah, it's great to hear from him.
Bryan Reynolds
Yeah, it sounds like he's staying very positive and in an active and so, so, so great to hear his voice.
Kristin Davenport
He's not slowed down one bit.
Bryan Reynolds
Not at all.
Bryan Reynolds
Well, it's. Let's move on to the next segment. As I mentioned, I had the great opportunity to talk with Laura Lamb. So let's get to our discussion on what's going on around ERS with Laura.
Bryan Reynolds
Laura is here to keep us updated and on all things ERS, and she's been our fearless leader through this challenging time. So welcome, Laura.
Laura Lamb
Hi, Bryan. Thanks for having me,
Bryan Reynolds
Want to update on our audience out there on what the ERS has been up to. But most importantly, how you've been doing during this crisis?
Laura Lamb
Oh, thanks for asking. You know, it's. What do they say? It's interesting times, right? I'm working at home and trying to find my new normal, but my family is doing well. You know, have had a lot of energy for the work we're doing. So thanks for asking.
Bryan Reynolds
Sure. And what kind of things do you do to stay positive and kind of fulfilled during this time where we're all locked up in our houses?
Laura Lamb
Well, I've been trying to really focus on self-care to keep myself going, so I know this about myself that I do my best when I have a good night's sleep. So I've been really practicing all the good sleep techniques to make sure that I get a good night's sleep. And my husband and I have been walking our dog a couple of times a day just to kind of get to get moving. I have a stand-up desk in my home office to just kind of change, change it up. But honestly, what keeps me motivated and pumped up is I have several staff and residents that I have created penpal relationships with. So I really enjoy writing cards to them and then receiving cards. So anybody out there that wants to become my pen pal, I'd love that.
Bryan Reynolds
That's great. That's great. What a great way to spend your time. So in terms of your ERS' response, you know, what are the things that the organization is has done to respond to the pandemic?
Laura Lamb
Well, I think he arrest is approaching this pandemic. Like we approach most things. And that is in a thoughtful, kind of planful a way I say to people. You know, it's just in our DNA to have a plan. So obviously, we didn't have a COVID 19 pandemic plan, but we did have an emergency plan for an outbreak of an infectious nature. So, you know, we had that in place and we've been using that along with the CDC guidelines to make sure that we're doing everything that we can in a proactive fashion to make sure that our residents and our staff are as safe as we can make our working and living environments.
Specifically some of the things that we've done that we've put into place early on. First thing is this that we really started restricting visitors because we understand through the work of the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health that the way this is transmitted is through exposures. So by reducing the number of people in our communities, we can greatly reduce the exposures for our staff and residents. So well before that was required, we had very strict guidelines in place out of love and concern for our residents. Another thing that we did very early on was understand that we could really find out if staff were maybe on the cusp of getting ill by checking their temperature. So, you know, I think it was the second week in March we started checking all of our temperatures, of all staff at all locations. And then that quickly led into if we're checking our staff temperatures, we need just to ask our independent living residents to check, self-check their temperatures and then in our assisted and skilled areas to check the residents' temperatures multiple times a day. So I feel like that's been really helpful. And just as we anticipated on the staff checks, we turn staff away from work because they did have a borderline fever. And, you know, it hasn't turned out that they had COVID 19. But, you know, for infection control purposes, we don't want them working if they're sick. You know, those are the two, I think, the biggest things that we've done. We have also taken made a difficult decision to restrict our staff working outside of our communities. You know, there are a number of staff in health care that work in multiple locations. And, you know, normally that is not frowned upon. But when you're talking about a disease that's a virus that's transmitted the way it is, going to multiple businesses or health care organizations is a real risk factor. So we, about three-and-a-half weeks ago, asked our staff to decide, you know, to commit to us, that they would only work at our locations if they would continue with us. And, you know, we were nervous about that. But I have to say, the staff have really responded to that because it shows that we truly care about their safety and our residents' safety.
Bryan Reynolds
Well, that's really important. I think, you know, as we've talked about in the past, it's really about mitigating the risk and considering all those different factors. So, on the other end, you know, during crises, particularly with this organization, I have been so impressed with, there's been a lot of great stories that have kind of come out of dealing with these challenges. Would you be willing to share a few of those that you've observed over the past two or three weeks?
Laura Lamb
You know Bryan, I'm so glad you're asking me that because I feel like in this crisis, the true character of our staff is just shining. I mean, talk about, two words that always come to mind is creativity and innovation. I mean, don't tell an ERS team member that they can't provide activities for their residents, because they're going to find -- whatever we throw out -- social distancing. No visitors, no outside people. They're just taking it and taking lemons and making lemonade. And I just love that about our staff.
Laura Lamb
So some of the things that I'm really excited about is one is our partnership with Sysco, Cincinnati and Louisville. They had a problem, i.e. they had perishable food that they needed to get rid of. And we have a problem, i.e. we don't want our staff members going to grocery stores and being exposed to germs everywhere. So we partner, and we've created, we're up to five. We've had five pop up pantries to date, where we have given more than eight thousand dollars worth of food to our residents, and Affordable Living, and our staff through these pop-up pantries. So that is just beautiful and that's just a shout out to Sysco for their partnership. So our staff have been I mentioned that creativity. So a couple of examples there would be, you know, it's hard to stay in your apartment all day long. And, you know, no one's locked in their room. They walk around. They observe social distancing. We have beautiful campuses. So they get outside and get some fresh air. But boredom sets in.
Laura Lamb
So some of us, our staff have been so helpful in getting residents connected to their loved ones. Face time and Zoom. And another thing that we've done is our campuses have created like activity kits, whether that's quote unquote, boredom bag or crossword puzzles or other little things that they can do. You set up residents to go on virtual tours of museums across the country and across the world. So it's been fun to see that creativity. When you tell a team that cares about their elders that they can't do something. They figure out how they can do something differently.
Bryan Reynolds
Well, that's some great items, some great things that are happening across the organization, and we look forward to hearing more of those in the coming weeks. But, you know, with all these challenges, and I can hear that pride in your voice about our staff and the residents. Is there anything you'd like to kind of say directly to them.
Laura Lamb
Yeah, I would like to take the opportunity to just say to our residents and staff that I could not be more pleased with everyone's response to this crisis. Clearly, this is not where any of us want to be, right? If we had a magic card to turn back time and change the future, I'm sure all of us would have imagined a different 2020. But we're here together. We are we're banding together. And candidly, I know we're gonna get through this together. We are going to remain strong because we're doing what we need to do. And in essence, that is that we're looking out for one another first and putting our needs second. And that is is what we need to do. And we're going to stick together and soon we'll be reunited in a different way. But I would just encourage everyone to continue doing what we've been doing. It has gotten us this far, and it will see it through the rest of this journey.
Bryan Reynolds
Wow, that's great. Thank you so much, Laura, I appreciate you joining us this afternoon for providing an update on all these great things going around the organization and we'll look forward to catching up next week.
Laura Lamb
Thanks, Bryan.
Kristin Davenport
Bryan, as always, Laura had some great stories for us. It was really inspiring to hear her talk about what's happening around ERS.
Bryan Reynolds
She's always got great stories and it was really good to catch up with her and hear how she's doing, and everything around the ERS universe. So with that being said, I also had a great opportunity to sit down with a resident at Deupree House Pat Donaldson and catch up to see how she's doing during this time and how she's staying active and positive.
Kristin Davenport
Oh, yeah. I can't wait to catch up with Pat.
Bryan Reynolds
So here's the interview with Pat.
Bryan Reynolds
Pat's been a resident at Deupree House for the past 11 years.
She moved in around 2009. Pat's originally from Outville, Ohio. She was a teacher for over twenty-four years and has three children and six beautiful grandchildren. She's been very active in her time while she's been here at the Deupree House. She's one of our resident artists whose created wonderful works of art that's been sold during our Fall Bazaar, which is a fundraiser for Deupree House. And because of a keen eye, she great sense of esthetics, she's also helped in some of our interior design projects as we've updated many of our common areas at Deupree House. Marjorie P. Lee. And she's also been a great contributor to our fund development group in our galas in her time with us. So we're so grateful to have you here. Pat, you've been so helpful to so many of us on the ERS staff. And we want to welcome you here to our first podcast.
Pat Donaldson
Well, thank you. It's an honor. And I'm very pleased with what you're beginning to do here with the podcast.
Bryan Reynolds
Thank you. So, you know, we're here in this time of COVID-19, and it certainly turned all our lives upside down. First and foremost, how are you doing?
Pat Donaldson
Well, I'm doing very well, Bryan, really. Everybody has their moments, of course. But I swim every day and usually go for a walk. And sometimes I take Gigi our service dog, you know. I'll take her around the campus and just enough to be active, and just not sit all the time.
Bryan Reynolds
Yeah, sure, sure. Is there any other things that you've been doing that kind of stay engaged? Stay in touch with family or friends?
Pat Donaldson
Yes, I notice that there's a lot more texting between family, between my family and me right now. And my great-grandsons, who are in Columbus, have a game that we play every day. I send them a riddle and they try to find the answer. Just a keep in touch kind of thing.
Bryan Reynolds
That's great. That's great. And what about with your fellow residents? Have you stayed in touch with them at all? Text or phone calls or.
Pat Donaldson
Well, we phone, we phone call, and then we have. And them we send things on the Internet to each other, too little joke, things to not to lose a sense of
humor. And we see each other some in passing in the halls and such.
Bryan Reynolds
So, you know, in in, you know, drawing from kind of the past situations, you know, during a crisis or some life experiences, you know, what have you drawn on to kind of cope during this current crisis?
Pat Donaldson
Well, Bryan, let me make a play on words here. I draw.
Bryan Reynolds
That's right.
Pat Donaldson
Period. And that does help. It's an outlet, but I think humor and activity, just physical activity. Is it, are two good outlets. Two ways that you can make a bad situation or uncomfortable situation is something more tolerable. And I think physical activity changes your point of view. I don't whether it's that fresh air that cleans out your mind a little bit, but it is welcome.
Bryan Reynolds
That's great. And what are you looking forward to when this is all over? What do you look forward to most?
Pat Donaldson
Oh, taking a nice big long walk down Redbird Hollow and seeing my family again, being able to sit around and talk. My birthday is in July and so I hope that this is all ended by that time so that we can all get together and enjoy it.
Bryan Reynolds
Well, we hope so too, Pat. And we hope we can celebrate in person with you and see you soon. We miss seeing your smiling face. And we want to thank you so much for joining us today.
Pat Donaldson
You're very welcome, Bryan.
Kristin Davenport
Well, as I expected, Pat is staying creative, as always, even in these times. And it sounds like she's even going above and beyond her normal level of artistry and she's thinking of new ways to just try to share her love of art and her passion for everything that's around her. She just is always creating something. So it was good to hear from her and hear how she's coping, too.
Bryan Reynolds
Yeah, it certainly was. I enjoyed catching up with her as well. So thank you, Pat. And we'd also like to thank David Lowry and, of course, Laura for joining our first podcast here. Kristin, this has been a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to doing many more of these.
Kristin Davenport
That's right. I can't wait.
Bryan Reynolds
We'd like to thank everyone for joining our first episode of the Linkage Podcast. And we'll be back next week interviewing a couple more residents throughout our communities and also checking in with Laura. I particularly want to make sure that we're touching base with people during this challenging time.
The Linkage podcast has been produced by Kristin Davenport. And also in collaboration with myself, Bryan Reynolds. If you want to check out more information, you can go to our Web site, We've got blogs. We've got great resources up there. We'll be posting our podcast there as well. And then if you want to follow us on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn, we're on all of those social media networks. And you can see some of the great pictures and great activities going on and some of the great resources that we post there as well. So we're looking forward to reaching out to you all next week. And thank you so much again for joining us.
Kristin Davenport
Thanks, listeners, see you next time.

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