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ERS Linkage Podcast - Episode 21

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Glorious Days and the Gala Night

Date: October 14th 2020

Hosts: Bryan Reynolds & Kristin Davenport

Guests: Elizabeth Lilly and Laura Lamb


For our twenty-first episode we hear from board member and resident, Elizabeth Lilly and President and CEO, Laura Lamb.

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Episode 21 Transcript

Bryan Reynolds [00:00:04] Hello, hello, hello, welcome to Episode 21 of the Linkage podcast by Episcopal Retirement Services. This episode is for the week of October 12th, 2020. Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Bryan Reynolds, vice president of Marketing of Episcopal Retirement Services, and I'm here with Kristin Davenport, our director of communications for eRS and our executive producer. How are you, Kristen?


Kristin Davenport [00:00:29] Well, today is a fantastic day, Bryan. Thank you. I'm glad to be here.


Bryan Reynolds [00:00:33] Great. Well, the Linkage podcast is dedicated to educating our audience about issues regarding aging, informing people about the mission of ERS and how that comes to life and our everyday interactions with residents, clients, families and staff members. Kristen, it's kind of post Gala. We had a very successful Gala this past week, past Friday, and I think we're all on a high from that.


Kristin Davenport [00:00:57] I even touched on a little bit with my guest, Elizabeth Lilly, who lives at Marjorie P. Lee. We wondered whether or not we should still be talking about the Gala, but we both decided there were some things we wanted to share and so we had some great conversation. Also with us this week, of course, President CEO Laura Lamb, and she'll give us an update on all that's happening around the ERS communities.


Bryan Reynolds [00:01:24] That's right. And we talked about the Gaile as well, fresh on our minds. Well, great. What do you want to start us off with our first interview?


Bryan Reynolds [00:01:32] Yes, absolutely. So I had the pleasure of talking with Elizabeth Lilly today. Elizabeth is one of our board members. She's also a resident Marjorie P. Lee. And we got together and talked a little bit about adaptability. What we all need to get through these signs right now. So let's listen to our conversation.


Kristin Davenport [00:02:03] Welcome, Elizabeth. Thanks for being a guest on our podcast today.


Elizabeth Lilly [00:02:07] Well, I'm very glad to be here. I have rarely listened to podcasts before, and I did some listening to some of the ERS podcast is sort of prep work for doing this. And I'm delighted to be doing this.


Kristin Davenport [00:02:22] Thank you. How are you doing today?


Elizabeth Lilly [00:02:26] I have had a great day, as you are probably aware, the lockdown of residents of Marjorie. Oh, I believe three of the Marjorie P. Lee and Deupree, and I believe also the church home been somewhat lifted, so we're allowed to go off the campus if we're in a car. And my daughter picked me up with a picnic lunch. It's a beautiful day. We went down, had a picnic lunch by the in Smale Park downtown. There was nobody there because it's noon time on a workday and people just definitely don't go down to the park for lunch time on a workday. So we had lunch there by the river and then drove back through a back around up through Columbia Tusker and went back in around. And I just saw a lot of things I haven't seen since last March because of the virus. So and it was a gorgeous day to do it. And I got to spend a lot of time with my daughter, so I feel great.


Kristin Davenport [00:03:27] That's awesome. It was a gorgeous day today. We're having some beautiful weather right now and it makes all this a little little bit better. You know, when we're when we're inside a lot and we're with the same people a lot. It's it's nice to have that beautiful weather go outside. Well, I know that you and I were both in attendance of our annual Gala, which went virtual this year this past Friday. And it was it was a super experience, even though it was a virtual itself, very connected and very uplifting to me. Tell me your thoughts a little bit about what you found inspiring about the Gala this year?


Elizabeth Lilly [00:04:08] Well, I think one of the things that is really difficult about this kind of event. Well, I've I've worked in development for some time. And the best is you really want people to remember what what this is for. You know, you were hoping to make money for what do you want to give them a good evening, that they will have a pleasant time. But there's a reason why you're doing all this. And one of the things I thought just worked beautifully was, for example, Curtis Fuller, the MS.


Kristin Davenport [00:04:38] Right. Yes. 


Elizabeth Lilly [00:04:39] It turned out he had worked out at the station with Tom Craig, who was a Marjorie P. Lee resident who died here a few years ago, and he spoke to how well Tom had been taken care of here, how happy he was living here. So that's sort of tied it back to the whole thing. And then, of course, the auction had, you know, nice things like a week in somebodies lovely things, like a week in somebodies cabin up there, born in mountain and so on and so forth. But they also had pay of the head things on, pay it forward, things on the auction. And that's still running till October 1st. And the items for which that for which you can contribute through the pay it forward auction, they are things like prescription eyeglasses for a resident of affordable living, 20 meals for homebound elders through Deupree, Meals on Wheels, maybe a week of music classes and the Deupree Cottages.


Elizabeth Lilly [00:05:47] So there are all kinds of things which really enable people look through that list and they see, gee, who is to chair exercise classes for a hundred dollars? There's services in the chapel for a month for somewhat more than that. This is really amazing when you realize all the things ERS does and of course, not all of them aren't on this list. There's just a lot of them that are. And it gives us some idea of the scope of what they do.


Kristin Davenport [00:06:19] I agree that was a great innovation for this year, something new that we tried, along with trying a lot of other new things that were forced upon us. But that was one of those things that just seemed like a good set for this year, especially.


Elizabeth Lilly [00:06:33] And and with your dinner, you've got a list of reminding you of the Gala and how it would be broadcast on our local Marjorie P. Lee TV channel. And or you could watch it on Zoom and backing up to the Gala and how they hooked it into what the ERS does. You know, the Manse Hotel in Walnut Hills, which was mentioned in the Green Book, which was how black people traveling from city to city didn't know where they could stay in the green book, had a list that matched apartments, was on that list.


Elizabeth Lilly [00:07:12] And it I mean, many of this was brought out in the virtual Gala. Many of the great jazz Stiers and stars and so on of that period stayed there. So, again, that that that is that ERS is fixing that up to be affordable living apartments. I mean, it all ties back from the jazz, from the Mandy Gaines Quartet who were simply marvelous. That all ties in with with the Manse and again with the goal of what ERS does.


Kristin Davenport [00:07:46] Yes, I, I. That was one of the most enjoyable parts about preparing for the Gala was getting to see the progress of the Manse Hotel when we were recording the video. It's just amazing that that community there will really be something that the residents, those folks that have lived their whole lives in the Walnut Hills area, you know, they now have even more safe and affordable housing right there where they've lived their whole lives.


Elizabeth Lilly [00:08:20] They don't have to leave their neighborhood. They can stay right where they have always been. I  remember coming twice and how I as a board member and so on. I have toured the now I've got to think of Madison Villa, which is an affordable living community, ERS, and I toured it first when we had just one. ERS has just taken it over and it had really been a bad place. The manager, the manager who ran at them for the owners then was dealing drugs, all kinds of highly disruptive people hanging around in the hallways. Big sign on the mailboxes saying if you're expecting a package, you better be here. Be here when you think it'll come right, because it may not be here very long.


Elizabeth Lilly [00:09:08] And residents, we were told, were really kind of frightened to leave their apartment unless they had someone with them. Also, the building was a mess. I mean, there was mold on the walls. And one of the things that ERS does, which I think is extraordinarily important, is they don't just warehouse old people in these affordable living places. You know, it's nice, it's safe, it's clean, it's attractive. You know, you're OK. But they all was one of the first things they do would take over a new place is build a community room so that there can be a sense of community among the residents. You know who your neighbors are. It becomes more like Mister Rogers neighborhood and less like a warehouse for old people. And that makes all the difference and the whole feeling of the place. The second time I toured Madison Villa and it was especially interesting because Kathy Ison-Lind who has run this part of ERS for a long time now. She kept saying, well, you know, we want to do so much more. Well, we want to do so much more. Well, among the things they've already done had already done at this point was put a camera outside, security camera outside. The manager's office was right by the main door. You could see what was on the camera, could see who was at the door during the hours. The manager was there and they just they put in a good community room and they had physically upgraded the apartments that were so horrible with no mold running down the walls.


Elizabeth Lilly [00:10:59] I mean, mold on the walls from water which had been running down them. They've done an enormous amount of work. And Kathy kept on saying, "but we've got to do more. We're going to do more". And they aren't making it into the Ritz, but they are making it into a comfortable and safe neighborhood in which to live a community, a neighborhood within the building for the residents. So they aren't alone in their apartments and a little nervous when they step set foot outside them.


Kristin Davenport [00:11:28] That is for sure.


Elizabeth Lilly [00:11:29] Wonderful to watch the progress.


Kristin Davenport [00:11:31] That is and the engagement among the residents in our affordable living communities really is is very similar to that that you experience at Marjorie P. Lee. Things have changed just in every way that you can imagine that there are communities, especially at Marjorie P. Lee, where you live. Talk a little bit, Elizabeth, about what it means to you to have the support of the staff there.


Elizabeth Lilly [00:12:01] Well, I think the staff here are absolute. I've always thought they were absolutely remarkable. I don't know when you're hiring new people. I don't know that you can hire for nice. But they seem to be able to do that. These people who work here are so nice and their jobs for many of them, it's not at all the job they signed up for. You know, they signed up. Maybe they're a student who signed up to wait tables in the dining room only in the evening. Well, yoohoo, we're not eating in the dining room anymore. They are bringing meals up to everyone's apartment and they just they seem to enjoy doing it. I mean, they and one of the things in connection with the Gala, the dining services team, prepared a special dinner. Now, the food here is really good anyway. But believe me, the food here was even better. That special dinner. It was kind of a normal menu, but it was just done with greater finesse than usual. And I've never complained about the food here. I'd be an idiot if I did. So that was very nice. That's the dining services people did, I thought. Well, and that's one of the things that Marjorie P. Lee right now Marjorie P. Lee. Because, of course, with the virus, we have had to close the dining room and the dining room staff, God bless them, have adapted to bringing me to room service for everybody all the time.


Elizabeth Lilly [00:13:36] But I think that has been one of the most difficult things to maintaining the sense of community there. You know, some people eat dinner outside in the courtyard as long as the weather's good, which it's not going to be much longer. And so you do get together with people that way. But most of the group activities, of course, have to be have had to be suspended because you don't want groups and big groups of people getting together inside. And I was very pleased to learn last week that they are trying over at Deupree, a sort of a pilot program to see what they can do about. Serving in the dining room again, maybe had people come, I think in this pilot program, they'll try having people come once a week. And so you don't have the whole bunch getting in the dining room together and so on. But this is a real challenge. And I am continually impressed by how the management and they don't say, oh, well, we can't do that. And they say, oh, well, all right, how can we do that? And I do think that getting the dining rooms opened maybe once a week for each particular person will go back to sustaining a sense of community that is so important.


Kristin Davenport [00:15:02] That's for sure. Well, and, you know, time can be a bit of a gift. We've learned a lot about what can be safe and what's higher risk. We're always trying to figure out ways to make things still safe. But yet, you know, more enjoyable and and.


Elizabeth Lilly [00:15:22] Well, exactly.


Kristin Davenport [00:15:24] More connected to people. 


Elizabeth Lilly [00:15:28] One of the people I think is most important here and probably also a Deupree is the person who is in charge of what is called life enrichment, which is a very fancy sounding term that I just think of it as fun, know, making sure there are good movies on the local TV channel on our local TV channel here and Deupree. I think they can get them on possibly on their computer. I don't know what, but it's different. Deupree is not the same as Marjorie P. Lee. The problems are different and the solutions are different. But everybody's all of the management and staff seem to be very aware of the need of innovation, of finding solutions for new problems instead of just throwing up their hands and saying, well, we can't do that anymore. It is enormously important and makes an immense difference to living here.


Kristin Davenport [00:16:24] That is so true. Well, it's been a joy to interview today and get to connect with you. It's one of the things that I miss most about the our new normal is not being in the communities, not seeing the residents every day. But I love that through these podcasts, we're getting to have some really important conversations. Elizabeth, thank you so much for joining us and for for all your.


Elizabeth Lilly [00:16:48] I've enjoyed it very much. I've never done a podcast before. And I don't think I've. When I first moved to Cincinnati about 40 years ago, I did once have a radio interview because it was a WGUC fundraiser, but I just had rarely done this. So it's a new experience for me. And you're not. It's nice to have a new experience after a certain age. And thank you so much for asking me.


Kristin Davenport [00:17:15] You bet, Elizabeth. All right. Have a great one.


Bryan Reynolds [00:17:25] Kristin, it's so wonderful always to hear from Elizabeth. It's been a while since I've seen her, but it's always great to hear from her and enjoy her perspective on life and her feedback on the Gala.


Kristin Davenport [00:17:38] Yes, Bryan we had a wonderful conversation and she was having a terrific day getting to drive around a little bit in the neighborhood, see the fall foliage and and just enjoy an afternoon having a distance lunch with her daughters. We had a terrific conversation here. Along those same lines. A lot of things are changing for our communities right now. The more we learn about what's safe and what's the higher risk just gives us more ways to make life enjoyable, even in these times. So, I know Laura is going to touch on that in your conversations, let's hear Bryan and Lara talk about things around the ERS communities this week.


Bryan Reynolds [00:18:26] So I'm back this week with president and CEO Laura Lamb. How are you, Laura?


Laura Lamb [00:18:32] I'm doing well, Bryan. How about you?


Bryan Reynolds [00:18:33] I'm doing great. Great. And it's the week after the Gala, and it's been a lot lot going on, but it's nice to come back together and have an update with you. And I think we've got some really great topics this week to talk about. And I thought I'd start maybe we'll start with the Gala actually, and talk about just the success of that night. And your impressions of it.


[00:18:59] Oh, my goodness. Bryan that together we will rise Gala our first virtual Gala was a huge success from so many perspectives. So, yes, let's talk about it.


Bryan Reynolds [00:19:12] Yeah. So to your point, it was our first virtual Gala. So it's almost like I think I commented, almost like putting on a TV show this year, but I think it had a nice mix of being able to kind of talk about the state of ERS and some entertainment. And then kind of give a great update on the Manse. Was there any part that you really enjoyed? I really enjoyed your speech. And part of the state of ERS, quite frankly.


Laura Lamb [00:19:40] Well, I appreciate that. I appreciate that. It was fun to be able to give kind of pay a tribute to the wonderful accomplishments of the staff and remind all of us that, you know, the pandemic is not the only thing that we're doing. You know, there's a lot of really good work that we've been able to advance. So it's great to be able to share that with such a large audience. You know, we had we estimated that three hundred, I'll say devices we're watching because, you know, you think about it like my aunt in Florida, there were at least, you know, her husband was with her. So, you know, there's at least two people. So right now, three hundred devices were signed, signed in for our session.


Bryan Reynolds [00:20:24] Yeah. With all the residents made socially distance. But maybe at a close circuit at Marjorie P. Lee then spread out at event centers, so. That was great, so I think they got special meals to go along with it, as well.


Laura Lamb [00:20:41] They did. They did. I think every Joy and her team our fund development team did a great job of just setting. Even though we were virtual, that we can make this a little mini party. Yes, it's different. But, you know, we as you know, we had our coffee and information with our Marjorie P. Lee residents and our residents said that hands down, this was absolutely the best Gala that they've ever attended. The format just really worked for them. They could hear everything. They could see everything. And so that was really good feedback. And then, you know, in terms of our goal, you know, this represents nearly one third of our annual goal of fundraising. And that means that on a gross level, our target was three hundred thousand dollars. And she's very, very optimistic that we're in and meet that gross target. And of course, expenses were down because it was a virtual event. So that's a win.


Bryan Reynolds [00:21:49] And that's that's amazing. I mean, I'm sure when all this kind of broke out in the spring and summer, we were thinking what we were going to do and how successful you could be in raising money in this environment. You must be really proud of Joy and our team and the work that they did put up, put all this together, be so successful.


Laura Lamb [00:22:07] Well, I would add one more person to that. I'm so proud. So, yes, what you said Joy and her team. But I would also give you and your team a lot of praise and congratulations, I mean, to your point, to pull off a video during a pandemic and a live TV performance. I mean, that's a small undertake again. You know, we we we had a few glitches as as you always do. You know, come on. It's a live performance and the audio glitch there. You know, me, my personality is like, OK, let's focus on the positive. We just pulled off an incredible feat. And, you know, I we have business partners that attend galas, have attended galas, this entire pandemic. And one in particular, good friend of mine that works at one of our bank partners, reached out and said, this is the hands down, the absolute the best Gala, a virtual Gala I have attended. Was engaging. It was meaningful. It was professional. And those are all, you know, success criteria that we we had aspired to. But to hear from what someone that's attended far more galas than I ever will. That was really, really nice to hear.


Bryan Reynolds [00:23:28] Yeah, that was that was nice. You know, being there on site and. Kind of working behind the scenes. You all really brought the energy in and shared some great, great, great stuff with all the public.


Laura Lamb [00:23:41] Thank you. Thank you. It was it was an honor to be a part of it. Sincerely.


Bryan Reynolds [00:23:45] Yeah. Yeah. Well, till next year.


Laura Lamb [00:23:47] Yeah.


Bryan Reynolds [00:23:49] So the other thing I thought I'd bring up, you had sent out a letter to residents here at our independent living residence at our Marjorie P. Lee and Deupree House communities that we were I guess the risk management and our management team have really been looking at how we can, I guess, kind of lift some of the restrictions and kind of work with the residents to provide some opportunities that haven't been available over the last six months. And I wonder if you could share those with with our listeners today.


Laura Lamb [00:24:29] Yeah, I mean, I'm sure a couple times that with staff and residents and on this podcast that, you know, when you hit the six month mark of anything, I think it's really a time to regroup. And I think that's happening at all levels, not just in our organization. At the at the federal level and the state level. So the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued some new guidelines a couple weeks ago and asked organizations to think about, frankly, that the weather was going to get colder. And although they absolutely prefer outdoor anything that they understand that that's not going to be realistic in the middle of winter for an older adult. So they've put together new guidelines for us to think about, you know, indoor visits and dining and a whole host of issues. But the one thing that we started as we unpack it, that we thought we wanted to. Start sooner rather than later. Was specific to people that live in more of an independent living setting. So that would be Marjorie P. Lee needs independent living area. Deupree House is independent living area. And start with those and frankly, take a baby step and learn from it. And, you know, we may have to make some midcourse corrections, which we typically do with anything that we start. But let's let's not hold off until we have everything buttoned up before we decide what to do.


Laura Lamb [00:26:07] So the the guidelines that we shared last week are that we encourage residents to maybe get in the car with masks on with the people that they live with or maybe just one or two that they've been with at Deupree House as an example and wear their masks and drive around and look at the beautiful fall foliage. And just just that in and of itself. You can imagine if you've been you know, if you feel like you've been on campus since March, other than a doctor's appointment, how liberating that is. Right. Right. The other thing, as you know, is we've we started a concept with our staff to say, you know, if you're going on a vacation and you go to a place that puts you at more risk, you have to quarantine. And that's been the policy since day one that we introduced a concept called we coined this phrase. I think it's fun, a safecation, safecation So for staff, for the last couple months, we've been thinking about how to safely get away and do things that wouldn't require quarantines.


Laura Lamb [00:27:26] For example, you know, driving to a state park and staying in a cabin. Is much, much safer than flying on a plane to Las Vegas and going to a casino. I mean, nobody can argue that that's a different risk profile, right?


Bryan Reynolds [00:27:42] Right.


Laura Lamb [00:27:44] So what we're trying to do is we tried to encourage staff to do stay safecations, and it's been hugely successful.


Bryan Reynolds [00:27:51] Yeah.


Laura Lamb [00:27:52] And so we decided that that concept really should also be prevalent for independent living residents at Marjorie P. Lee and Deupree. So we're encouraging them to plan a safecation, maybe go to their daughter's house for a week of respite, you know, doing all the things. And they have to they have to promise that they're going to social distance and and wear their facemask at all times, even with their family members. And, you know, I'll use myself as an example with my in-laws. It feels it feels awkward at first. But frankly, I think most of us are over the the the mask things and just realize that it's just a way of our life right now. And it is, as you've heard me say, the single most effective thing you can do to prevent the spread of Covid. So wear your masks. So, yeah, it's been exciting. And I guess there's one thing I would like to clarify, because I mentioned Deupree and Marjorie P. Lee, and I always like to be inclusive. And people in the audience there might be saying, well, what about ECH?


Bryan Reynolds [00:29:04] Right.


Laura Lamb [00:29:05] Well, ECH has had these liberties a little bit more than Marjorie P. Lee and Deupree because the patio homes in Dudley Square, independent living is not licensed. Yeah. So we've issued guidelines and the residents of Dudley Square have been nothing but wonderful about it, adhearing to the guidelines. But it hasn't been as restrictive as our licensed independent living areas at Marjorie P. Lee and Deupree. So I just want to put that out there as kind of a if people are thinking, well, why isn't she talking about ECH? So in essence, Marjorie P. Lee and Deupree are catching up with the patio homes at Dudley Square.


Bryan Reynolds [00:29:46] Yeah, because of that licensing and more congruent congregation, they congregate nature. Exactly. Well, and to your point, we just we've we've learned a lot over the last six months. And I think that that teaches us how to proceed in baby steps safely. And it's been fun to hear just a few residents feedback about how giddy. Just to go out for a drive. They are.


Laura Lamb [00:30:13] That's the biggest one, is the excitement of going through a bank drive through. That's the one that I just love. It's like, oh, my gosh. We just want to be outside. That's for sure. Myself included.


Bryan Reynolds [00:30:30] Well, Laura, thank you so much again for joining this week with what some some some good news. And and we appreciate you, as always, joining us. Each and every week.


Laura Lamb [00:30:41] I enjoy it. Thank you for including me.


Bryan Reynolds [00:30:43] All right. We'll chat chat with you next week.


Kristin Davenport [00:30:53] Bryan, I really enjoy hearing from Laura today. You know, that was wonderful, her comments at the gala it was and it was good to hear how things just keep moving forward for us. And it's always reassuring to know that she's got her finger on the pulse of everything that's going on in ERS.


Bryan Reynolds [00:31:13] Yeah. Yeah. It's it's always good to have a week of more good news. And in sharing, you know, kind of the recap of the Gala. And of course, some of the, you know, positive developments for our residents and independent living margarine Deupree that can maybe have a little bit more time outside the community than they've been used to over last six months.


Bryan Reynolds [00:31:37] So with that being said, Kristin, I want to thank our listeners for joining us for this latest episode of the Linkage podcast by Episcopal Retirement Services. For more information about us, you can visit our Web site at Episcopal Retirement dot com. We've a lot of great content, including our linkage online blog resources to learn more about aging and the services we offer and much, much more. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to see what's going on within the ERS and our communities. If you have any questions or feedback for us, we love hearing from our listeners. Please e-mail us at The Linkage podcast is produced by Kristin Davenport and Bryan Reynolds Feoshia davis is our associate producer and our technical director is Michelle Hoehn. I'd like to thank our guests today, including Elizabeth Lilly and of course, a special thanks to our president and CEO Laura Lamb for always being available to provide our provide updates on what's going on throughout ERS. On behalf of myself, Bryan Reynolds and Kristin Davenport, thank you so much for joining us. And we'll look forward to our podcast next week. Thanks so much, Kristin.


Kristin Davenport [00:32:53] Hey, Bryan. Thank you. See you soon. 



Kristin Davenport
October 14, 2020
Kristin Davenport is the Director of Communications for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Kristin leads ERS’s efforts to share stories that delight and inspire through social media, online content, annual reports, magazines, newsletters, public relations, and events. Kristin earned her BFA in graphic design from Wittenberg University. She joined ERS after a 25-year career as a visual journalist and creative director in Cincinnati. Kristin is passionate about making Cincinnati a dementia-inclusive city. She is a Lead SAIDO Learning Supporter and a member of the ‘Refresh Your Soul’ conference planning team at ERS. Kristin and her husband Alex, live in Lebanon, Ohio with their 2 daughters. She also serves as a Trustee and the President of the Lebanon Food Pantry and is a board member for ArtScape Lebanon.

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