My name is Erich Burkhard, and I am one of the youngest residents of Meadowood Senior Living, a community that is comprised of 437 residents and roughly 340 team members. My wife Sandy and I moved into this neighborly, stand-alone retirement community in Worcester, PA, on June 1, 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why We Moved to Meadowood
Sandy is a few years my senior, and did not want to move to ANY Life Plan Community (also known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community or CCRC). However, having no relatives to help us if we should need care, and since I had had enough of the joys of tending a house and grounds, she agreed to make the move — but only if it was to Meadowood. Since Sandy is sensitive to design and environment, the light, bright, well-kept interior design and the naturally beautiful grounds of Meadowood were an important influence upon her feelings. So here we are!
How Meadowood Handled the Pandemic
Life really is good at Meadowood, and it was even during the height of the pandemic. The entire team did anything and everything to keep the residents happy, amused, entertained, informed and most importantly — healthy and safe. Meadowood worked diligently to get residents and employees vaccinated swiftly, and then went on to help relatives, as well as the community at large, who were invited to a series of on-campus inoculation clinics.
How We Made the Choice
Moving to Meadowood is the most objective, logically intelligent choice we could have made at this point in our lives.
We looked at perhaps six communities, but have met one couple who looked at nineteen. Another couple hired a paid consultant to do an outside objective evaluation of Life Plan Communities, and that consultant recommended Meadowood. Comparing the many different arrays of amenities, contract types, living accommodations and health care options can be daunting. In the end, only you can determine which community is right for your unique situation.
The Surprising Way Meadowood Changed Me
While Meadowood is an organization, it is also a community of people — diverse residents, team members and management having many political, religious, ethnic and personalities. I am (or was) a person quite content to be left alone, and expected that my situation would be unchanged upon moving here. I became very active and involved in community life! The only way not to be a part of Meadowood is to stay inside your residence. There is so much to do here as a volunteer, interest group member, or sports team participant that you could be busy every hour of the day, if you chose. It’s up to you. There are also residents who are of typical retirement age and still work full time.
Team Member or Resident? It’s Hard to Tell!
Personally, I do not differentiate between residents and team members. Both groups are fun to be with and frequently joke around together. Team members compete with residents in pool volleyball and softball, and also join together to create social events. Residents are on a first name basis with all team members and management, and everyone smiles and greets one another whenever they see one another. If something is really a serious concern, we can talk to Paul Nordeman, Meadowood’s President and CEO, and he will listen to and address our concerns. All other employees are equally responsive. We can also get to know members of the board, some of whom are residents. No community is perfect, but at Meadowood, the effort to be the best we can possibly be is ongoing.
The Importance of Lifetime Care
One of the reasons people come to Life Plan Communities is to prepare for the time, which hopefully will not come, when they need personal care or nursing care. Sandy and I have been caregivers for her father, my sister and two of my aunts. Caregiving is challenging. One only reacts to events and situations that are not under your control. Most of the time you do not have much of a choice of nursing care for you or a loved one, especially after a hospitalization. So an important reason to select a Life Plan Community is that you can plan ahead to guarantee that you’ll live at the community of your choice, whatever level of care you need.
Sandy and I have not personally required personal care or skilled care. We do have a friend who is a resident at Meadowood and had hip replacement surgery, requiring nursing care and rehabilitation services when she came home from the hospital. She told us the care at Meadowood was excellent.
An Abundance of Residential Choices
When we moved here, we chose The Grove, Meadowood’s newest neighborhood. These are four 13-residence structures with indoor parking. Other residential options are one-story courtyard homes, large single family homes with two-car garages, and apartments with indoor connections to the main building. I have yet to see this diversity of residential types at any other Life Plan Community.
Meadowood’s Bright Future
Meadowood continues to move forward. This year, our community is beginning construction of a new, state-of-the-art memory residence. Not a renovation, but an entire one-story residence, where memory-impaired residents can live in a home-like environment, free to move about indoors or outdoors in secure courtyards. Also, campus-wide emergency electrical generators will be completed soon. This is not a mere convenience item, but most important in maintaining electrical service to the health care buildings.
We are extremely fortunate to live in this warm, welcoming community of team members, residents and management who truly respect each other and care about everyone’s well-being. Stop by and see for yourself!
To schedule a personal tour or RSVP for an event, please call us at 610-584-3998 or visit DiscoverMeadowood.net.