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FTJ Personal Concierge Program ~ Connecting Residents and Families in a Challenging Time

Terry Allman

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 always 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. 

Here is a glimpse into a typical day of Terry Allman, Admissions team member and now a Personal Concierge.  At 7:45 a.m. Terry meets up with our Tobey Jones building dining staff and helps them fill the breakfast bags for residents to pick up and take to their rooms.  For residents who don’t want to leave their apartments, she delivers their morning meal directly, as well as takes orders for lunches and dinners that day.  This is followed by helping facilitate several Facetime sessions with residents and possibly a virtual doctors visit.  Then it’s back to the dining room to help with the noon meal. In the afternoon, you’ll find her helping residents with various tasks, anything from getting postage stamps, helping them find something, downloading apps on their devices, going for a walk with them or simply talking and spending time with them.  She is also part of our Hallway Happy Hour Hospitality, and brings wine, beverages, snacks, and trivia handouts to resident apartments. Before the day is over, she has more requests from families wanting to speak and see their loved ones, so she arranges additional Facetime sessions. Every day also includes unique and personal requests from residents –  like putting together a special plate of food for a wife who is living in Memory Care, or buying a cake for someone’s special day. 

“Being a personal concierge has been an amazing adventure!” says Terry. “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.”

“We thank all of our Personal Concierge team members for going the extra mile during these difficult days of separation!” Judy Dunn, FTJ President and CEO commented.  “All of our team members have been doing a remarkable job every day to make sure our residents are safe.”

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