Concierge Team Members Go Above and Beyond
Last March before lockdowns and self-quarantines became the normal for everyone, Franke Tobey Jones proactively closed its senior community to all visitors. First and foremost, our precious residents had to be protected, but at the same time, questions arose of how do we prevent feelings of isolation, missing family connections, while reassuring residents and families that they would not lose contact with their loved ones? Our FTJ response was the creation of a Personal Concierge Program! Staff members were assigned specific housing areas/buildings on campus and residents and families were notified their new “Liaison” would be available to answer questions, send updates, run errands, and “other duties as assigned” from arranging a Skype call to organizing flowers for a resident’s birthday. These staff members include our Director of Admissions and her three team members, our Medical Records Coordinator, our Executive Assistant, our Director of Life Enrichment and her Assistant, our Director of Philanthropy and her Assistant, our Social Worker, and for several months our Sr. Director of Marketing and PR. These are team members that had a full plate to begin with, but their dedication to the Concierge Program and our residents/resident family members has inspired us all!
As you know, it’s been quite a year, but our Concierge Team Members have really stepped up to the plate to do whatever it takes AND MORE to keep residents and family members connected, safe, taken care of and happy. They have gone above and beyond! They are our Super Heroes! The best part is the real connections that these team members have made with our residents and family members, going far beyond the typical interaction.
“Being a personal concierge has been an amazing adventure!” says Terry Allman, a Concierge on our Admissions Team. “We are spending so much time with the residents, and I really enjoy that we get to know them on a more personal basis. So many of the stories I have heard are heartwarming; how they met their spouse, all about their kids, their travels, their careers, languages they speak and many of the ups and downs of their lives. It’s as though they take my hand and walk me through the journey that is their life. This has been a challenging time for them on so many levels, and yet they still smile and are so willing to share. It is a privilege and a time I will always fondly remember.”
To give you a glimpse into the life of a Concierge Team Member, here are some of the ways they have assisted our residents and family member.
- A resident couldn’t find her red lipstick anywhere and just didn’t feel comfortable going to the dining room without wearing her lipstick. The resident’s Concierge ran back to her office and found a brand-new red lipstick in her desk drawer, then sprinted it back to the resident so she didn’t have to enter the dining room without her signature red lipstick!
- The most requested task was to set up virtual meetings with residents and family members, as well as set up virtual doctor appointments. Our Concierge Team Members facilitated dozens upon dozens of these each week, as well as set up and monitor outdoor visits when the weather was nice. Other team members also helped with facilitating outdoor visits, we thank them all.
- When resident’s cars would not start, Concierge Team Members helped jump their cars or arranged for a jump, made appointments at auto repair shops, arranged for car tows, drove residents to and from car repair shops, etc.
- A Concierge Team Member helped move furniture in a resident apartment, cleared a space for the delivery of a new TV and helped get Netflix installed and set up.
- During the holidays, a Concierge team member helped decorate a resident apartment for Christmas, put out his decorations and his holiday bed comforter.
- Several Concierge Team Members personally bought and delivered birthday cakes, balloons and cards to residents on their birthday.
- For one of our Hispanic speaking residents, our Spanish speaking Concierge helped facilitate getting taxes done in Spanish among helping with other tasks that needed Spanish interpretation.
- When residents were not feeling well, Concierge Team Members picked up resident prescriptions and other sundry items at the pharmacy and delivered to the residents.
- Some Concierge Team Members helped decorate resident rooms for special occasions, hung pictures and arranged furniture.
- Most Concierge Team Members hosted weekly door to door happy hours in all our buildings, many with “signature” drinks, unique treats and themed for holidays and special occasions.
- One of the biggest responsibilities of each Concierge Team Member was/is to keep an open communication with resident family members regarding their loved one at FTJ, and also to deliver to our resident’s care packages, letters, cards and so much more from family members…on a daily/weekly basis.
- When it came/comes to technology, our Concierge Team Members were SUPER Heroes. They made appointments via the phone because the resident couldn’t maneuver the automated phone tree systems, helped set up new cell phones, made a video to send to a grandson in France, installed printer ink, troubleshot computer issues, helped navigate cell phones, helped order items on line, installed a new Mac keyboard and speakers, set up a television multiple times so the resident could see her daughter on TV, set up hundreds of Zoom meetings and group zoom meetings for birthdays and holidays with family members around the world, printed photos from family members to give to residents, reset cell phones and computers, constantly re-programmed a television every other day to make sure it’s on the resident’s favorite sports channel daily, troubleshot the phone and tried to figure out why it’s not working, and one Concierge said “Fought with Alexa and won!”
- On a personal level, our Concierge Team Members spent hours upon hours accompanying residents on walks, helping with personal grooming (hair, make up), having conversations with them “about life,” having tea with them in our Solarium, visiting them when they were lonely, celebrating with them on birthdays and anniversaries, listening and so much more!
As one Concierge Team Member said (and this was true of all our Concierge Team Members), “I would do anything to help family members and residents make the best of their time at FTJ – listen, empathize, be understanding and compassionate during this very challenging year…helping some family members and team members cope with the death of loved member of their family, and celebrating with them on special occasions.”
“THANK YOU Concierge Team Members for going the extra mile during the past very challenging year, says Judy Dunn, FTJ President and CEO. “We are grateful for your dedication to our residents and their family members. Your commitment, loyalty and enthusiasm has inspired all of us! It’s been quite a journey, and we feel privileged to have this opportunity to help our residents and family members through a very difficult time in our history. All of our FTJ team members in every department have been doing a remarkable job every day to make sure our residents are cared for and safe.”
Our Concierge Team Members include:
- Terry Allman, Resident Accommodations
- Elizabeth Alvarez, Executive Assistant
- Nalani Brown, Philanthropy Coordinator
- Christine Hall, Sr. Director Marketing and PR
- Shelley Harris, Director of Philanthropy
- Patricia Moore, Therapeutic Activity Supervisor
- Esther Norton, Medical Records Coordinator
- Michelle Olafson, Director of Admissions
- Amy Petschke, Accountant
- Shirley Robbins, Resident Accommodations and Garden Apartment Concierge
- Terri Ross, Accounts Payable
- Jessica Rueber, Social Services Coordinator
- Carole Velez, Community Liaison
- Heidi White, Director of Life Enrichment
These team members had a full plate to begin with, so their dedication to the Concierge Program and our residents/resident family members has inspired us all!