Spirit of gratitude and thankfulness abounds at Centennial retirement community

Community Life

Posted: November 19, 2020

Holly Creek residents and staff rally together during pandemic

Many people would summarize 2020 in three words – one tough year. But despite the difficulties much of us have faced, gratefulness abounds around how Arapahoe County residents have grown in their support of one another. As we approach Thanksgiving and the holidays, Holly Creek Life Plan Community in Centennial took the pulse of residents and company leaders to discover what they are thankful for, and discovered that a spirit of selflessness, collaboration and gratitude flourishes inside and outside community walls.

When asked what she was thankful for, resident Jeanne Wilde shared gratitude first and foremost for the community staff and how they’ve kept her and her neighbors ‘happy, healthy and entertained.’

“I listen to HCRK radio (Holly Creek’s in-house radio station) on Channel 22, which also broadcasts exercise classes, movies and learning sessions including how to better use Zoom,” Jeanne explained,” and added, “It’s a resource for keeping us engaged with content created through collaboration between resident and staff.”

Cottage residents Fred and Kathy Degiorgio are thankful both for staff support and opportunities to keep socializing at Holly Creek. They are “new kids on the block,” having moved just three months ago to a Holly Creek cottage home — the single-family residential homes around the main community building. Since that time, the couple has become instrumental in encouraging community within their new Holly Creek neighborhood.

According to Kathy, cottage residents have “moved the party outdoors,” specifically into their driveways, in order to stay connected.

Driveway concerts held outdoors in the Holly Creek neighborhood

“Weather permitting, we have wine Wednesdays,” she explained, “which feature small, live trios playing jazz or chamber music. We always rotate driveways, wear masks and stay socially distanced.”

To help with the cooking, Kathy often orders out for lunches and dinners to be delivered from Holly Creek’s gourmet restaurant, the Centennials, across the street. “Great service, great food and great attitude,” Fred added.

For Dennis Baldwin, thankfulness began when he and his wife joined the community. “I moved here in May 2015 with my wife, who had dementia,” he explained.

The Baldwins specifically chose Holly Creek because it provides different neighborhoods/levels of care under the same roof. This enabled Dennis to continue living in the independent wing of the community (where he still lives today), only a couple hundred feet away from his wife’s apartment in the community’s memory care neighborhood. When his wife eventually needed hospice, Holly Creek staff also arranged for this care to be provided on-site.

“Physically and emotionally they provided excellent care to my wife and I,” Dennis added. “They met every expectation I had.”

The theme of community collaboration resonates with Dennis as well.

“It has been a pleasure to watch the residents and team members rally around one another and find community in new ways during this extraordinary time,” he shared. “I’m grateful for our residents who can share a lifetime of wisdom and experience and staff who provide opportunity to find joy in daily life.”

Christian Living Communities’ board chairman Gregory Terry expressed similar gratitude for this essential collaboration and particularly for the dedication of the team he is privileged to support. “I am incredibly thankful for the heroic efforts of our Associates at all levels of the organization. They have demonstrated  amazing courage and compassion during this pandemic as they serve our residents.”

Many things had to be adjusted as a result of COVID-19, and Holly Creek’s Chaplain Jim Kok added that he is thankful for how his team members “adhere to the rules and regulations to everyone in our community safe” while still find ways to keep community spirits high.

“They find amazingly creative ways to keep everyone engaged—from virtual singalongs, to games and contests that keep the excitement in our communities,” Jim added.

Christian Living Communities’ Vice-President of Sales and Marketing, Angela Green-Urbaczewski shared, “Holly Creek’s team went above and beyond with every aspect of living in our ‘new normal,’ from delivering meals to both residents and prospective residents who were locked down, to organizing socially distanced happy hours on our outdoor courtyard.”

Angela also shared special thanks to residents for, “Hosting the community’s in-house radio station HCRK to provide listeners with great music, community updates and talk-radio programming that keeps listeners engaged and informed.”

Jeanne Wilde summed it up simply by concluding, “We’re in this together, and we’ve grown stronger as a community despite these most challenging times.”

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