ERS Linkage Podcast - Episode 22

ERS Linkage Podcast - Episode 22

Podcast ERS Linkage Podcast - Episode 22

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Episode 22: With Help from our Friends


For our twenty-second episode, we touch base with residents, James Willis at Parkview Place in Anderson, IN and Don and Carol Mead at Episcopal Church Home in Louisville, KY. Plus we hear from President and CEO, Laura Lamb.

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Episode 22 Transcript

Bryan Reynolds [00:00:04] Hello, hello, hello, welcome to Episode 22 of the Linkage podcast by Episcopal Retirement Services. This episode is for the week of October 26. And thanks so much for joining us. I'm Bryan Reynolds vice president of marketing with 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 [00:00:30] Really doing well. Today, Bryan. Good to talk with you. How's it going for you? 


Bryan Reynolds [00:00:34] It's good. It's I love fall. The colors on the trees have been absolutely marvelous. And it's just kind of nice driving around, isn't it? 


Kristin Davenport [00:00:44] I like this cooler weather. I can take a few more weeks of this. I'm up for it. Yeah. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:00:51] Yeah. Well, and with that, you know, I think we're starting to see a rise in infections. And covid and I know you and I started the seven months kind of in light of that. So I think there's some some discussion about that on the table today. But hopefully everybody, you know, stays, stays socially distance, wears their masks and follows the guidelines. 


Kristin Davenport [00:01:14] Bryan. We have some great guests with us today. This week, I spoke with James Willis. James is a resident at Park View Place in Anderson, Indiana. He and I talked a lot about his positive mental attitude and new things that he's trying and learning during this time. You got to check in with president and CEO Laura Lamb. Always good to get an update from Laura. And our final guest was actually two guests. We had a couple that you were able to interview from the Episcopal Church Home community of Dudley Square Patio Homes in Louisville, Kentucky Don and Carol Mead. So I look forward to hearing their their interview as well. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:02:00] That's right. There's always a first for everything. And this is our first couple interview. So that was that was a lot of fun. And I'll be anxious to share that. So with that being said, you want to do interviews and introduce our first guest. 


Kristin Davenport [00:02:14] I was able to interview James Willis this week. James is a resident of Park View Place in Anderson, Indiana. And James and I have something in common. We've both lived in a YMCA. So let's meet James. 


Kristin Davenport [00:02:40] James, welcome to our podcast. Thanks for being here today. 


James Willis [00:02:44] Well, thank you for having me. Appreciate it. 


Kristin Davenport [00:02:46] How are things going for you today in Anderson, Indiana? 


James Willis [00:02:51] Everything is fine. I just was outside a few minutes ago, and you couldn't ask for any major weather than what we're having here today. 


Kristin Davenport [00:02:59] That's wonderful. That's wonderful. Where I am today. It's also beautiful. That's one of those things that I seem to appreciate even more. Now that I'm not commuting that I'm home a lot more gives me more time to step outside and enjoy the beautiful weather when we've got it. So I think that's a that's a plus for right now. 


James Willis [00:03:19] A lot of residents here at Park View Manor were out in the park today. 


Kristin Davenport [00:03:23] Oh, yes, yes, yes. Yeah, that's for sure, though, the temperatures perfect. The sun is shining. Couldn't be better. Well, James, I just want to check in with you today and other than to see how you're doing. I wanted to ask a little bit about what are some of the things that you're doing. I know where it looks like we're kind of in this for the long haul. We've all got to keep a positive attitude and stay resilient. I just wondering, what are some of the things that you're doing there? Are you and your neighbors are doing to stay active and stay engaged during all this? 


James Willis [00:03:56] Well, I think I'm having more reliance on doing some educational things. I've decided to learn how to speak Spanish, and I'm doing that over the Internet. I'm staying engaged with people that I've known for a long time on social media. I'm making a lot more phone calls so I can hear people's voices and check in with them on different days. Some lives in Tipton, Indiana, which is one county over from Madison County where I live. And then I've got a daughter that's a professor at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. And I call her on the phone frequently. And we just discuss a whole array of different topics. And so I am keeping busy in that way. 


Kristin Davenport [00:04:42] That is wonderful. Keeping up those connections is just a great way to stay engaged and and taking up a new language. That is textbook how to keep your brain sharp. Doing the things you love is great, but always doing something new is is really good for your brain. So kudos to you, James, on both of those notes. 


James Willis [00:05:04] Well, I'm also lobbying ERS for the gentleman that live here. Of course, we're completely outnumbered by the number of women that live in this facility as opposed to the number of men. And they have craft things for the women and other things that the gardening club, that they have several other activities for women. But me and the boys here are lobbying for a pool table. We haven't got date yet, but we're still talking about it. 


Kristin Davenport [00:05:34] Well, that would not be completely out of the norm. Actually, we had community that's not too far from you guys is a Shawnee Place up in Springfield, Ohio. And a donor was moving from their home and did not have a need for a very beautiful pool table. They donated it and they they had it delivered and there was the right space in the community room for it. So they made room for it. And I'm sure it has enjoyed quite a bit. We always have some great photos of the residents playing pool, both men and women, although I'm sure for the men that's a big draw, as well. 


James Willis [00:06:14] Yes. There's a lot to do here. Of course. Park View Place apartment is located in the same building with the YMCA. So there's a lot of things you can do as far as health and fitness through the YMCA. But some of those guys have some conditions that don't allow us to lift weights or run or do these kind of things. But to just a bill, you do whatever you want to refer to as just the right amount of exercise. And if you if you don't think it's good exercise, play pool for a couple hours, bend and over and walk around that table, you'll see that you get a pretty good workout from doing those kind of attacks. 


Kristin Davenport [00:06:53] Well, that's wonderful. I like your plug for something new. As always, we. We'll look for those opportunities to add to the services and amenities that we have for our residents in all our communities. 


James Willis [00:07:05] You talk about amenities. I want to just give you a little idea about how well ERS picked out this location for Park View Place Apartments. When we talk about amenities for seniors, you know, we we live in an area in the same building. We have a YMCA. We are contiguous with a piece of property next door. That is Dyckman Park, whereas the city has all kinds of events over there and a summer concert series. There's a simple nightlife venues within a half a block of my building the Paramount Theater sits right across the street. You've got First Methodist Church, catty corner from us. You've got the Episcopal Church just two blocks down a McDonald's, two Mexican restaurants within walking distance. The Madison County Historical Site Society Museum is half a block away. You've got to Anderson Public Library within a block. There's just a wide array of amenities just within, you know, a short walk of this location. 


Kristin Davenport [00:08:15] Well, that is so wonderful. You know, I visited your your location there when it first opened, when we had the grand opening a number of years ago. And I do remember being really impressed with with that area. I didn't get to explore a whole lot. But, boy, you just listed just a wealth of of different options there for for everybody within walking distance. That's amazing. 


James Willis [00:08:37] I also do I take this opportunity to talk about your staff here at the building. You know, Molly, Ray and McGee, Molly being the resident manager here. She manages the facility, Ray and Maintenance. McGee does some cleaning and janitorial work. These people are fantastic. They are kind to the residents. They treat them with respect. They they do for and probably be honored what their job description calls for him to do. And I just want to give a little shout out to them about how well they do their jobs and how well they treat the residents here. It's really it's really amazing to me. 


Kristin Davenport [00:09:19] Well, James, thank you so much for complimenting my team members that way. I value our our friends in affordable living. Most of them just really like you said, they dedicate themselves to our residents just beyond just a job. And it's good to hear that. Molly and her team up there and Anderson is is doing a great job and getting some praise from you today. Really appreciate that. So give it a little bit of a reflection. I know over these past few months we've done our best to try to support residents in new ways because new things were needed. Tell me a little bit about what it's meant to you to be able to get some of the meals and some of the other items that some donors were were were ready with for us to to get to our residents? 


James Willis [00:10:07] Well, the frozen meals subsidize. They're basically increasing here because as we all know, as the month goes on, we get a little shorter and shorter money and we can just plug those things in the freezer when we get them. And when we get down to the end of our money, we can eat those meals to subsidize our nutrition. And what has really made a big difference is that, like I called the Covid care packages that you guys have set up now with the toilet paper and the hand sanitizer. And I got a little bit out of detergent and fabric softener, just a just some everyday stuff that you use. And of course, when you get this things in that Covid care bucket, it saves you money from buying them at the store. And that's always appreciated. So I think ERS has gone that extra mile to provide those, you know, because that's not my lease. You guys provide me meals or Covid care packages. I didn't see that anywhere in the week. So it's awfully nice of you guys to do those things for the residents. 


Kristin Davenport [00:11:07] Well, and hopefully that is one of the things that sets ERS apart from some of the other places. We do strive to support our residents in many ways. And so this was a new way for us to step up. And our donors certainly stepped up and were so generous with us. We called them our toilet, our toilet paper angels. You know, they just showerd us with rolls and rolls of toliet pape. It was wonderful. 


James Willis [00:11:32] When you see when you have a meeting with your donors again. Yeah. Make sure you tell them there's a guy out there in Anderson, Indiana, that really appreciates what they've done for all the residents. 


Kristin Davenport [00:11:44] You bet, James. I will make sure that they know that their efforts are appreciated. Well, it's been great to get to talk with you today and and hear how things are going there. Tell our listeners maybe just something that you're you're really- number one on your list of things you're looking forward to when when it's safe for us to get back to some of the things that we enjoyed before Covid. 


James Willis [00:12:07] Well, the thing that I'm looking most forward to is going to lunch with my friends again and having that in person face to face conversations that are so important to me to have with my friends to maintain those relationships and going to Notre Dame football games. 


Kristin Davenport [00:12:29] Wow. That those are two things that are right at the top of my list, too. In person, sporting events are are really missed. I think by me, especially in my family and in getting together in person is is much more personal than than a Zoom call. It's nice to be able to see each other through face time and things like that. But yeah, there's really nothing like that. Sitting down to a meal in a restaurant.


James Willis [00:12:58] That's the breaking bread with people that, you know, in a place that you like. I mean, there's no substitute for that. 


Kristin Davenport [00:13:05] I agree, James. I agree. Well, thank you so much again for for joining us today. And I hope the rest your days. Great. 


James Willis [00:13:13] Well, thank you so much. And I love that you asked me to be on the program and I was happy to do it. And I just want to say to everybody, that is listening  out there, hey, you know, stay home. Stay safe. Thanks. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:13:35] Kristin, that was a wonderful interview with James, it was so nice to hear how positive he is. And it sounds like he's really taking some time to learn new things by learning Spanish and and even using technology to his benefit. So many of us have really relied on. 


Kristin Davenport [00:13:52] Absolutely Bryan on it was James is a new resident for me to get to know. And it just reminds me that when this is all said and done, I'm looking forward to being able to travel around to our communities again and meet residents like James. Right now we're meeting them virtually, and I'm enjoying that. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:14:12] Yeah, that's been one of the fun things that this podcast. I think we get to really talk with some people that we know and in get to know some people that we haven't met. It's really been a lot of fun. 


Kristin Davenport [00:14:24] So I guess next up, you've got your interview with our president and CEO Laura Lamb. 


[00:14:32] So I'm back here this week with president and CEO of Laura Lamb. Hi, Laura. How are you? 


Laura Lamb [00:14:37] Oh, Bryan. Doing well. How about you? 


Bryan Reynolds [00:14:40] Doing good. And it's it's now late fall, late October. And I know we were talking earlier about, you know, the blessings of a fall and what we appreciate and wondering what what what you like about this time of year. 


Laura Lamb [00:14:57] Well, you know, I've been working since I was 14 years old. And, you know, and typically this time of year, I go to work before the sun comes up and I don't get home until, you know, the sun's already gone down and working at home. I'm noticing the beauty that I. That I'm embarrassed to say I've never really noticed outside my home office. I have this gorgeous tree and it's this vivid orange and and red leaves. And I said to my husband, I said, look at that tree. And he laughed at me. He's like, Honey, it's been there for 15 years. I don't think I've ever noticed it. I don't think I've ever noticed how beautiful it is. So I think we were sharing in a meeting what what kind of getting us through. And I'm just trying to notice the things that I've missed right? The things that maybe in my hustle and bustle and the pace and the schedule that that I didn't stop to enjoy. So definitely the fall leaves is something I'm enjoying. But my husband, now that they're on the ground, doesn't think that my joy is going to last too much longer. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:16:16] I couldn't agree more. I've got a big pile. I still have to finish outside, so. 


Laura Lamb [00:16:22] Oh, well. Oh, well, again, you know, we we have to find joy even in that part of the process, right? 


Bryan Reynolds [00:16:28] Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. And I think, you know, to your point, the fall is always such a busy season for us. So it is nice to. To kind of enjoy the season a little little more than maybe we've been able to.


Laura Lamb [00:16:42] Exactly, exactly. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:16:44] Well, you know, speaking of the fall, I mean, we've certainly seen a shift in the news, particularly in light of Covid. We're seeing some spikes all over the country and particularly in our areas that we serve here in in Hamilton County and in Jefferson County, down in Louisville. And I wondered if you could kind of provide a little backdrop of of kind of where we are from a community standpoint, overall community, and then how that impacts are our retirement communities and the people we serve and our staff. 


Laura Lamb [00:17:25] Well, you know, months ago it's been months ago The Washington Post put out an article about, you know, why certain facilities are having outbreaks, outbreaks. Excuse me. And you know that the the whole. You know, story was that it's not so much of what what we do in the building, although that's very helpful. It's actually more dependent on what's happening in the surrounding community. So when I hear about Hamilton County and Jefferson County at the highest level or the second highest level and teetering towards that high level with hospital rates and admission rates to skilled nursing, it it scares me Bryan, because what it says to me is what? Because I know what happens in the county is going to come in the you know, just society staff drop to go back and forth. Right. And so that that is I think we're in a period where we're starting to see more staff and residents have symptoms. And I think there's a direct correlation because of the occurrence rate in our counties and the challenges Bryan is that we can control what happens in our buildings. 


Laura Lamb [00:18:57] We can't control what happens in the counties. So that that is a little problem. Some because, again, there's a direct correlation. And we've seen that when the Hamilton County several months ago spiked, when then we had more occurrences and we're we're starting to see that. So it's it's troublesome. It's also troublesome because of the time of the year. You know, we are indoors more and we know based on the science that the more often you're indoors with people, the higher the transmission rate. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:19:34] Right. 


Laura Lamb [00:19:34] So, you know, I said something to someone just the other day. Wow. You know, it's a long period before between, you know, late October and spring. How are we going to be together and not have a negative result of transmission? 


Bryan Reynolds [00:19:55] Right. 


Laura Lamb [00:19:56] And there's a limit to what we can do about that. Because, again, the virus spreads through close physical contact and that indoor ventilation and all the things that are a challenge. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:20:11] Right. And there's been obviously a fatigue out there. We've been doing this for, what, seven months. And and we probably saw things get a little bit better and get a little worse and get a little better again. But it's it's probably more important than ever right now as we head into winter, as you said. 


Laura Lamb [00:20:31] It can't be any more important. And I think fatigue is a very nice way. I think you're being very kind. I see are just exhausted and wondering how they're going to muster the energy and the wherewithal to continue. And, you know, we've we've talked about that as a team, haven't we, that we have to rely on all the discussions that we've been having about how you we have to reframe it. We can't we can't go into it being defeated. We have to say, listen, this is what we know. We know that if we are. Just heightened. The the the the, protocols related to your masks. Wear your mask, wear your mask whenever you leave your home. We are all over it now, right? We all have gotten over that. Oh, it's hot. It's uncomfortable, right. It's the it's what we have to do to be safe, being ourselves saves and make other people safe. So wear your mask. Social distancing. All those things we have to. You know, we have to do those things like our lives or our elders lives depend on it because they do. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:21:50] Right. 


Laura Lamb [00:21:52] So let's just do it. Let's just do it. And and Reef Berryman's say it's not a question of, oh, how long do we have to do this? It's wow. We get to do this. We get to make sure that we're practicing all those so that we can we can remain state safe and our loved ones can remain safe. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:22:15] Yeah, yeah, and I think there's. You know, as a society, as a society, and I hear this from our elders, from their stories of living through challenging times. You know, it's it's our duty to kind of sacrifice now so that we can live a better life in the future. And I I've always found that really interesting to hear that perspective from our our elders. And I'm sure you've heard that a lot over the years as well. 


Laura Lamb [00:22:42] I just love it because this generation has lived through those things that maybe, maybe Bryan you and I or our kids have not and Bryan the perspective that you get. I mean, I know you're referring to a podcast that we had where one of our residents at Marjorie P. Lee so eloquently shared that with us is that, you know, this is a time when you're when you have a public health crisis is a time where the needs of all supersedes my wants and desires. Right? 


Bryan Reynolds [00:23:18] Right. 


Laura Lamb [00:23:19] And I feel that and we're fortunate to be around our residents every day that have a perspective that I think we all have when we are on the other side of this, right quick, you and I will be the ones telling our kids what we're about, "remember when?"


Bryan Reynolds [00:23:39] Right. 


Laura Lamb [00:23:39] But we're not quite there yet. So, yes, we have to rely on their learnings and their perspective that this is what this is what you do. And you and we we will get through it together. And by golly, we're gonna be stronger getting through it together. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:23:59] So. So where does that leave our our staff and our residents and our communities that we're operating? You know, we've been kind of slowly opening up, you know, some of the you know, the dining options at Deupree House says as a pilot and some of the residents are going out for drives and doing carry through. And we've been talking now about indoor visits per the governors guidelines. But as this shifts and changes and or accelerates, how does that impact our in our communities? 


Laura Lamb [00:24:39] Well, I wish I could say it doesn't, but it absolutely does, Bryan. I mean, to be Jaberi transparent, it's all on the table. I mean, if if the county continues, I mean, first of all, as far as the out indoor visits and the guidelines from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, it's all contingent on that, the surrounding communities and the cases in your building right in your community. And so indoor visits will not happen within a 14 day of any case. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:25:16] Right. 


Laura Lamb [00:25:17] That that's. And dining will need to be scaled back if there were several cases. So, you know, it's a little bit of it depends. And, you know, we have our leadership team that meets literally daily to work on. You know what? Based on where we are right this minute, what what can we do? What can't we do? How can we be as safe as possible, but not be overly and burdensome, suddenly restrictive. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:25:51] Right. 


Laura Lamb [00:25:53] It's it's a balance act that I just have so much respect for the members of that team that that are doing this every day, balancing kind of what's happening inside, outside, and what's the best decision for our residents and our staff. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:26:12] Yeah. It's interesting to see how it's evolved over the years because are over the over the the months and and, you know, where we were at at the beginning versus where we're at now. And I think now we're doing more. We're doing more testing. The testings evolved over over the months. Can you tell us, you know, what we're doing now at ECH and and at Marjorie P. Lee and Deupree? 


Laura Lamb [00:26:39] That's interesting. It has about Bryan. So we're we're we're in a really good place because I've told you in the past that we you know, we have different state saying one thing and federal government saying they definitely come together and they're basing it on the occurrence rate in the community, generally speaking. So we're all on that same page. So essentially, ECH, Jefferson County is at the highest level right now. So the highest level, when you're at the highest level, you have to test your staff twice a week. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:27:16] Right.


Laura Lamb [00:27:20] Twice a week! Oh my gosh! Just think of the administrative wherewithal and time and capacity issue, and that's what that's what we're doing. We've been doing that several weeks, but not because of ECH's internal issues, but because of the county. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:27:34] Right. 


Laura Lamb [00:27:35] Similarly, both Deupree and Marjorie P. Lee because of Hamilton County were just recently bumped up to weekly. So we keep testing. So not not quite as bad, it's once a week versus twice the week, but again, as I look at Hamilton County. You know, every time every time I look, you see anything of national map. Ohio is always red right now. And when you look at Hamilton County, it's it's the most colorful one in this state of the state of Ohio. So I think we're headed in that direction, unfortunately, because of the county. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:28:15] Yeah, well, and I'm sure that takes up a lot of time and resources. But, you know, in the end, we're helping protect each other and our residents. And that it allows us to be diligent. 


Laura Lamb [00:28:28] You know, I was talking to a member of my family and about that that testing. And we have to test so much. Is that why we're getting so much positive cases? And, you know, I really pulled back and ask with this again. Oh, you know me. I always go back to the science because there are so many people that are asymptomatic and they're spreading it. Testing is the only way to identify if you have it. Yeah. You know, Bryan you and I know that we've we have had cases within like our our family groups and, you know, our friends that that, you know, they they have it and they can't pinpoint where they got it. Well, that's because they got it from an asymptomatic person. Right? 


Laura Lamb [00:29:18] Right. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:29:19] So testing is just so critical because without the testing. You know, people are out there asymptomatic, spreading. And that's why I think the state and now the federal government, CMS said testing is critical because we have the testing. You don't know where you're at, right? 


Bryan Reynolds [00:29:40] Right. And we can remove those people so that they're not passing it along. And for, you know, so many cases that are asymptomatic or maybe very minor. I know you and I have both heard of, you know, people that have some very serious long standing symptoms or even just short term, very serious symptoms. And that that's scary. 


Laura Lamb [00:30:02] It is. It is. And that you really can't predict. Right? Well, I think a lot of people say, oh, I'm relatively healthy. If I get it, it's going to be no no greater than the flu. And you see cases and we've seen cases where healthy people have struggled for months. Yeah, they will not. Well. Yeah. And that that's frightening because again, this this is new. The science of this disease, it's not evolved. We don't know everything  that we want to know about it. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:30:36] Right. Right. Yeah. We're still still learning. Still still adapting. Right. So for I guess just kind of a last maybe comment that I'd maybe wanted to get to with you is, you know, given all this effort that the staff is undergoing and the sacrifices our residents have made and are making, and as we learn, you know, I imagine you're really proud of the team and the residents and the families. I mean, they've really been good on so many levels to, you know, make our little corner of the universe kind of a better place. And I just wanted to hear maybe your perspective on that. 


Laura Lamb [00:31:23] Bryan, I think I said it at the Gala. I couldn't be more pleased with everyone's response. And and proud just doesn't begin to describe how how I feel about our. And it's everyone you know, I always start with the staff. It's it's just it's kind of, you know, where where I'm at. They they have burdened the lion's share of the guidelines and the new ways of working and trying to make sure that our residents and our families are connected and engaged. But I'm proud of the residents. I'm proud of the families. I'm proud to be affiliated with an organization with such a sturdy, strong board and committee leadership that that would we'll do anything for us. And, you know, it's all oftentimes you have to just helicopter up. And there's trees that I didn't see that you couldn't have to helicopter up and look at the big picture and realize how fortunate we are. We had we had a surveyor come in to one of our communities just just this week, infection control, just monitoring to make sure everything was top notch, which it was. And they were very impressed. And they said at this one particular campus, they said, you've had no residents with Covid. They've as they ask the staff like that five times, like she could not believe it. Yeah. And and, you know, you have to remember that we get I shouldn't say we. I get, you know, focused on what's happening right now. I say, OK, in the scheme of it, in the scheme of seven months, to have such a very small less than one percent occurrence rate. Wow. That is that is something to be very, very proud of and and wants you to work really hard. I mean, because the other side of that is we don't want to go have come this far and make foolish decisions, get too excited about whatever and and ruin it. Right. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:33:39] We are complacent. Right. Right. 


Laura Lamb [00:33:41] Exactly. So it's that balance. It's that, you know, making sure that we're being cautious and not or and being the least restrictive that we can be. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:33:54] Yeah. Well, I think, you know, we've been talking about this on and off, obviously, for seven months. You know, the urgency is kind of. Goes up and goes down. But I think it's I appreciate you really taking the time to have this open dialog and just kind of updating everyone and sharing your perspective. In the end, we'll be doing this for a while. But, you know, I again, I appreciate that excellent perspective. 


Laura Lamb [00:34:26] Absolutely. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:34:28] Well, great. Well, with that, we'll just agree, Will. We'll be back together next week and I'm sure have even more to talk about and update our group. So thanks for joining us, Laura. 


Laura Lamb [00:34:38] There's no shortage, is there? Never, never a shortage. Well, good to talk to you, Bryan. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:34:44] Talk to you next week. Okay. 


Kristin Davenport [00:34:55] Bryan, as always, great to hear from Laura. And it's it's so good to know that everyone in ERS communities and all of our team members are staying diligence and keeping up with the precautions and trying to keep everybody safe. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:35:11] As we talked about with Laura, there's certainly a big challenge up there, and it's certainly really concerning as we see the numbers. But, you know, as we've learned more, we know more. And, you know, we can kind of safely try new things, but also understanding what we need to do in those basics, things of what we need to do and socially distancing and wearing our masks and knowing where to go and when to go. Those things all really matter. And it was really good to get that information and that reminder from from Laura. But, you know, you can obviously really tell how proud she is of. Not just the staff, but the residents, the families. Everybody's just doing what they need to do to all stay as safe as possible. 


Kristin Davenport [00:35:59] I agree and very proud of our organization, especially on that front. Bryan, I guess we've got our last two guests. Don and Carol Meade, you want to introduce them? 


Bryan Reynolds [00:36:10] Yeah. Don and Carol are a great couple down at Episcopal Church Home in the Dudley Square neighborhood. And I had a really fun time catching up with them. And I think just like with your interview with James, they're so positive and I've really found some ways of of staying engaged. So here's my interview with Don and Carol Meade. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:36:35] So I'm here this week with Carol and Don need Episcopal Church Home, they live in Dudley Square down there. Welcome, Carol and Don. How are you? 


Don Mead [00:36:45] Thank you. We're good. 


Carol Mead [00:36:47] We are. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:36:48] Thank you so much for joining us. And we kind of I've been talking with our residents over the last seven months. Just the basic question. We've been through so much. How are you guys doing? How are you holding up during the pandemic? 


Carol Mead [00:37:02] Well, where to start? It's been so many months right now, I guess I'd say eight more days than the election will be over, or at least we will have all voted. I hope. But I know that the Covid has exasperated just how we feel. Right. And just day by day. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:37:23] Yeah. Big ups and big downs, I think. Yeah. On the day in the news cycle, you know, we're obviously we went through that kind of initial wave of what's going on and we've got to learn from this. And then it seemed to kind of dip down and it's gone back up. And we're kind of there talking about this third wave now. 


Don Mead [00:37:43] So, yes, we're pretty nervous, but we try to find things to enjoy and be engaged in. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:37:52] Sure, sure. You know, to that point, what are the things that you've done throughout the spring and summer now into the fall? I know when we're kind of talking before the interview, you have your trip up to Michigan that you take for several months in your home there. 


Carol Mead [00:38:06] Well, I guess I would say I'm reading more and I do a lot of writing. I'm right now, I'm not in Feet to the Fire, which is the writing program at the Episcopal Church Home, although Angela, the coach, has started a Zoom class now. Right. But I. I have always written. My children say I keep the post office solvent. But I don't believe that. I wish I could, but I've connected with a lot of friends and family that way. And I think right now what's really keeping me involved is Chaplain Lisa at the Episcopal Church Home has done a wonderful study for two months. We have one more months to go. And I've been helping with another person to lead the discussions every Friday morning. So that's good. It's something to challenge me and something to study. It's good. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:39:08] That's wonderful. That's wonderful. How about you, Don? What what kind of things keep you kind of busy and motivated through all of this? 


Don Mead [00:39:17] My my professional life. I'm a retired economist and spent a lot of my life working overseas, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. And that's put me in touch with some wonderful groups of people from across the country and across the world, in fact, who are also interested in the particular parts of the world that I'm interested in. And so we're we're a part of us. Nearly three different networks of the Presbyterian Church. We're both Presbyterians and these national networks have regular meetings of people who are interested in a particular area or a particular topic. And it's I think they've been extraordinarily creative during a time of closed down from Covid, you know, replacing annual meetings or regular gatherings with Zoom meetings. So that's provided just just a very exciting and wonderful and interesting way of staying engaged. One of the ones that Carol and I have been involved in recently is focused on Syria and Lebanon. And this is a national group with Presbyterian Church that normally meets once a year. And this year they plan their meeting in Southern California. And that was a problem for us because are too far. We were planning to go out there for a wedding a little earlier in the summer. So two trips out there was impossible, but then they canceled it and had a virtual meeting in time instead. And so, for example, this year. Well, the normal annual meetings have something like 40 people who attend from around the country mostly. But this year, I think there are eighty five who signed up because it was virtual so people could stay home and participate in it. And we had four people on the call who were living in Beirut and they were able to tell us what was really going on. That's right. From a bird's eye view. Yeah. And that was just very exciting. So there's a number of things like that that. Are national organizations which are open, which are being very creative in the ways that they can involve people. And I think a number of those have really made new opportunities to participate in ways that were impossible. Meetings were all held face to face. So that's been very exciting to be a part of. It keeps us alive and active and I think engaged. 


Carol Mead [00:42:02] With our connections in Michigan. You know, we would say goodbye in the fall and then come back in the spring. But this way, we sometimes, well. We're still connected to our church there. And some meetings that we are interested in peace and justice. That's all good. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:42:23] That's great to hear. It certainly has made us all have to pivot and do things new ways. But, you know, we can still stay really engaged with our friends and our groups. 


Don Mead [00:42:34] And in some ways even more so. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:42:36] Yeah,. 


Don Mead [00:42:37] Because. Because you can participate more easily. I'm with a group of buddies that has been meeting for maybe 20 years once every other week or something like that. But when Covid came along, we realized we could do it by Zoom. So we're now meeting every week and basically everybody can come even if they're traveling somewhere. So that's that's really been a wonderful way of maintaining our friendship and making it even stronger from a distance. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:43:11] That is fabulous. Fabulous to hear. So it sounds like faith is an important part of your your all's life. And and one of the questions I really like asking are our residencies. I know you've seen national crisis's, probably personal crisis challenges that popped up in your life, whether it be wars or polio or other things. What are what are some of the things that that help you kind of get through these challenging times or help offer you perspective? Is there any advice you can share with myself and our listeners? 


Carol Mead [00:43:50] Well, I think part of it is we read Christian Century, and that's a very ecumenical periodical that comes out every week. So that helps my faith and our daily walk. So we're really soaking in nature. Yeah. 


Don Mead [00:44:12] You know, it's hard to find parallels. I have been through some some real crises overseas. We are living it's living in know in Ethiopia. The last years of them, Parioli Selassie. And there was a lot of struggles going on there. And my boss was thrown in prison and we were high. It was it was the last days before an overthrow of the government. 


Don Mead [00:44:42] And I lived in Uganda at the time that there was an attempted overthrow of the government there and a rebellion. So a lot of fighting like we've experienced some of that in Third World countries, but I'm not sure how much parallel there is between now and then. So I think it's it's mostly I think the strength that we get for going through it here is is much more a faith based right. Rather than experience based. I'm not sure that my faith had much to do with the way I responded to those real revolutions that we watched. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:45:27] Right. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:45:28] So, yeah, this is a once in a century pandemic. I guess some of us have lived through anything like this. But it's been certainly interesting to learn over the last six months that how we can kind of help each other. And it's the evolution of it and how to maybe kind of give a roadmap going forward. Right. And when all of this is over, what are you all looking forward to? You know, kind of getting back to normal? What's that one thing or that? 


Carol Mead [00:46:06] Connecting with our friends and family. Yes. When we go to Michigan, our children I have three children and Don has three, and they try to come up every summer for a week. And of course, that didn't happen this past summer. And so just seeing our family, our my oldest granddaughter was going to get married in California this past June, and that was postponed till next year. So, yeah. And also just here at Dudley Square, you know, we maybe see each other with masks on when we're out walking. But I really miss not having that friendship. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:46:51] Yeah. The cocktail hours and the get together at the restaurant and things like that. It's such a tight knit community and I are here attending a few of the events. Always. 


Carol Mead [00:47:04] What about you? 


Don Mead [00:47:05] Well, you're right. Those happy hours on Wednesday or the meals that we go to, I think where, you know, there are 52 units, I think an hour and every square right now. And we probably are friends of more than half of those people right now. It's an amazing community. So we we get to know a lot of people on up and down around the square and much that's that's really terrific for us. We will look forward to getting back to that community again. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:47:39] Yeah. Yeah. This face to face interactions, those hugs with our family. 


Don Mead [00:47:45] Yes. 


Carol Mead [00:47:46] And some travel as we did around Aveling in our last 33 years, but haven't done any since Covid know. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:47:57] That sense of adventure. Well, Don and Carol, thank you so much for joining me for our podcast. It was really nice to to catch up and check in and hear your perspectives. And maybe after a little bit more time, we can we can check back in again. 


Carol Mead [00:48:15] Good luck. Thanks for inviting us. Bryan nice to get to know you a little better, too. Thank you. Bryan. 


Kristin Davenport [00:48:30] Bryan, that was just a very uplifting to hear their positive attitude and how they're using technology as well to just stay in even closer ties with their family members. That was great to hear. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:48:41] Yeah. Yeah. They've they've found so many ways to stay in touch and and they are, you know, talking about the quality of their their interactions with people that they may not have had had Covid not happen. So that was really interesting. But, you know, there clearly a great, great couple. They really are very engaged in the community. But, you know, looking forward to getting out on the other side of all this is important to them as well. So. Well, that wraps up another great show, Kristin. Thank you all for joining us on 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 continents. We've always said we've got a great blog with wonderful resources where people can really learn more about aging and the services we offer. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to see what's going on within ERS and our communities as well. Do you have any questions or feedback for us? Please email us at We love hearing from our listeners. 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, including James Willis and Don and Carol Meade. And as always, a special thank you for to President and CEO Laura Lamb for providing her updates on behalf of myself. Bryan Reynolds and Kristin Davenport, thank you so much for joining us. We look forward to you joining us for our podcast next week. Thanks so much, Kristin. 


Kristin Davenport [00:50:25] You bet. Bryan looking forward to the next conversation. Thanks. 


Bryan Reynolds [00:50:28] Talk to you next week. 




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