July Presidential Ponderings

 In News

Several years ago my wife, Kristi, and I were “church shopping” for a new congregation to call our personal church home. In truth, it was not an experience that we enjoyed, for we found ourselves thinking about a whole host of factors other than the Word of God. Was the parking convenient and accessible? How old was the physical plant and was it well maintained? Was the music program vibrant? How big (or small) was the congregation? How many young families attended worship? Were the pastors friendly and what kind of message did they preach? All of these factors, and more, went into our unofficial ratings.

Most of the folks who move to Londonderry Village have also done some “shopping” with respect to the retirement community that they will eventually call ‘home.’ They evaluate our buildings, our parking, our fee structures, our activity programming, our food service offerings, etc. They check out our health care programs, both in person and via online ratings. They talk to
residents who already live here, and they talk to friends and relatives who have already had prior experiences with Londonderry Village. Approximately three-quarters of the people who apply to Londonderry Village hear about us from someone they know. Our reputation means everything to us.

I have always said that every retirement community has its own ‘personality’, and that residents tend to gravitate to the type of community that fits them the best. One of our competitors is very affluent, and they have the finest of services and amenities, but reportedly they do not have any volunteers. Everything that happens on that campus is literally a transaction between a paying customer and a paid staff person. That is so different than Londonderry Village, where volunteerism is so central to our sense of mission and purpose. Note that I did not say one was better than another. What I am saying is that different residents are attracted to different “vibes”, and our vibe is one based on service, relationships, and giving back. {And as I write this column, a resident volunteer is mowing the grass outside my office!

The pandemic was incredibly disruptive to our “vibe” because we could not foster relation-ships at a time when everybody was in isolation. It is so nice to once again see residents dining together, going out on bus trips together, and once again putting on a large-scale version of the all-volunteer Estate and Yard Sale! Welcome back, Londonderry Village! Our vibe has returned!

Thanks for Listening.

Jeff Shireman, President

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