Throughout the pandemic, Fredericka Manor resident Grace Johnson has stayed socially engaged with family and friends. She also makes sure her fellow residents stay connected – by creating a phone tree to help them keep in touch.
When Fredericka Manor Executive Director Craig Summer suggested a resident phone tree at the beginning of quarantine, Grace immediately volunteered to organize it. All callers are residents including Fredericka Club board members and committee chairs. Interested residents can reach out to Grace at any time to participate. Currently, there are 20 resident callers.
Over the past year, callers average two to three calls each week to their assigned residents. “We check on each other’s wellbeing, catch up on the latest family news and community happenings, offer encouragement, or just say a quick hello. I have learned so much about my neighbors!” Grace said. “There is one resident, who chats for an hour. He needs to talk, and we are here to listen.”
New friendships have also formed from the phone tree. “Some callers are looking forward to having dinner with the residents they have been calling once it is safe to do so,” Grace said.
As president of the resident-led Fredericka Club, Grace felt it was her responsibility to organize the phone tree project. She also sends out bi-weekly “pep” emails to callers. The emails encourage them to keep up with their calls and include suggested talking points such as current books, TV shows, movies, poems, and quotes from famous people.
“We need communication among residents during these trying times,” Grace added. “The phone tree is very important. Both the callers and the residents they are calling benefit from connection and meeting each other.”