By The Riderwood Reporter Staff
Please come and join the next “Conversation with Administration” at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 26, in Maryland Hall at Montgomery Station.
These monthly conversations provide an opportunity for residents to share concerns and receive feedback. They also help Administration understand
what we can do to improve service to residents. Transcripts of the updates, questions, and answers from the meeting may be rephrased
without changing the accuracy of the information presented or omitted due to spacing issues for this column.
The following reflects the highlights of Conversation with Administration conducted on August 22, 2019:
Updates from the Staff
• Damion Callery, Jr., a dining student in the Windsor Dining Room, was shot outside his home in Burtonsville during the early morning hours of Saturday, August 17. A memorial service for Damion was held off campus by his family on Saturday, August 24, and Riderwood is planning a celebration of his life in the Town Center Celebrations Room on Sunday, September 8 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Residents and Staff are invited to attend.
• The Resident Satisfaction Survey will begin on Monday, September 16 and run through Friday, October 18. More information will be coming soon.
• Practice Administrator Laura McCormick introduced new Medical Director Dr. Lynne Diggs to the Riderwood community. Dr. Diggs will be taking over for former Medical Director Dr. Andrew Kundrat, who will be staying at the community solely as a staff physician.
• Dr. Diggs will continue to see a select group of non-resident senior patients here at Riderwood. The number of patients is small and no new non-Riderwood patients will be accepted. The community hopes that these patients will become interested in Riderwood from visiting during their appointments with Dr. Diggs.
• Riderwood’s Flu Shot Clinics will be held starting in September. Look for flyers on the bulletin boards and MyErickson for more information.
• General Services held a town hall meeting about changes to parking policies on campus on Wednesday, August 28 (one week after this Conversation with Administration meeting). The meeting will air on Riderwood TV early in September.
• Cleaning of residents’ awnings began on Monday, August 26 and is expected to continue into late September or early October.
• The next General Services Town Hall meeting will be held on Monday, September 23 at 1:00 p.m. in Maryland Hall.
• Furniture for phase 1 of the Lakeside Commons construction was delivered on the day of the meeting. The chairs were selected by vote by the Riderwood residents.
• Currently the new Blue Heron Pub is scheduled to be turned over to the staff on Monday, August 26. This will give the staff time to become acquainted with the new space and equipment before the Pub’s opening.
• The carpet in the Encore Theater has been installed and chairs are scheduled to be installed on Monday, August 26. The Encore Theater is scheduled to reopen in late September.
• The Lakeside Commons front desk and other office spaces impacted by phase 2 of construction will be relocated in late September.
• As the contractors work on the roof of the new wellness center, residents should expect rolling road closures around the site starting August 26.
• The Calvert Landing Elevator is complete, and the official opening will be announced soon.
• The Montgomery Station Cooling Towers are scheduled to be delivered at the end of August and Town Center’s has been scheduled for late September. Installation for each building will take four to six weeks from the delivery date.
• Town Center carpeting and benches have been installed. Signage is next to be completed.
• The 2019 Diversity Fair will be held on Tuesday, September 10 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Maryland Hall.
• Starting last month, dining room menus are being changed every month as opposed to quarterly. The next menu change will be September 8.
• Later this year, Riderwood, along with our Erickson Living Corporate partners, will institute a new policy on taking leftovers out of the dining rooms on campus. More details will be coming soon.
• Dining will be launching the ability to make dining room reservations in 2020. This will not be a requirement to dine in the campus restaurants, but we hope the option will reduce wait times for larger tables. Information about this will be released in the near future as well.
• A “New” icon can now be found next to items on the dining menus that were changed or added in the latest cycle. In 2020, dining will also be adding an icon for healthier choice options and the calorie count of individual menu items.
Questions & Comments from Residents
• Is there any plan to change the resident meal plans in the near future?
One of our sister communities is currently piloting a new meal plan system based around dollar amounts as opposed to individual meals. The new meal plan will require considerable change to the behind-the-scenes aspects of dining at the community, so at this time, we have no immediate plan to institute or add that system to our existing meal plan options.
• The automatic door at Victoria Place entrance three only works about half the time and has been reported multiple times. Is there anything else that can be done about this?
That particular entrance sees a high volume of usage. We will continue to do everything we can to improve the success rate of the door opening and we will speak with our vendor to see what they can do.
• I’ve heard that the cost for preparing an apartment for reoccupancy after a resident passes away or moves out are far beyond reasonable and that the time frame for getting deposits refunded is greatly delayed which has led to lawsuits against the community.
The cost to refurbish an apartment is on par with similar services outside the community. The work is done by an outside contractor with speed and efficiency to allow for the apartment to be reoccupied as quickly as possible. As for legal matters, we are not aware of any ongoing litigation against the community pertaining to deposit refunds. It is important for residents to know about the contract terms of the deposit refund, so residents can reach out to the move-out coordinator or the finance team for more information.
• Can we get an ingredients list for all meals in the dining room available at the hostess stand?
There is a book of the recipes of everything we serve at each hostess stand. As of right now, the specials are not included, but we will work to get them in there. While some of the recipes are limited due to the preparation methods, most of the foods served at Riderwood have a full recipe available.
• I’m concerned that existing residents are suffering through the construction and renovations that are targeted solely at potential future residents.
It is difficult finding a balance between the needs of current residents and potential future residents. We most definitely take our existing residents into consideration when making these decisions, but we also need to think about the long-term future of the community and remaining competitive in the marketplace for years to come. As an example, when Lakeside Commons renovations were being planned, the initial schedule did not have the satellite fitness center opening until shortly before the new wellness center opened. Residents expressed their concerns about not having a convenient place to exercise until phase 2 of construction was complete. As such, the decision was made to fast track the new satellite fitness center in Lakeside Commons to satisfy current residents. We understand that change can be difficult, but we want existing residents to know that the community is always considering them when decisions are made. If there is a particular concern that you have, please do not hesitate to bring the issue to administration or general services to see if anything specific can be done to improve your experience.
• Has there been any discussion made about instituting gun registration at the community?
There has been a lot of deliberation and the policy remains that we are not requiring the registration of guns. We do require, of course, that residents comply with federal, state, and local ordinances.
• As a member of the Deaf community, I feel that Riderwood should provide interpreters at more events around the campus to make these activities more accessible to people like me.
Riderwood is working to be more inclusive for residents with any level of hearing loss, but the cost of an interpreter can be prohibitive. Chris Taydus, our Community TV and A/V Manager, is currently working to acquire a closed captioning system that utilizes voice to text technology. This system will allow for most Riderwood TV programming to be captioned and for many public events to be captioned live, as well. This is still in the early stages of development, but we will provide updates as they become available.
• While I am aware that the quality of my hearing has declined, I believe that the audio system in Maryland Hall causes things to sound muffled and should be improved.
We are working to fix the t-coil/hearing loop system in Maryland Hall. We have had some difficulty finding a vendor that specializes in that type of system, but we’ve recently found one and hope to have them out to the community in the coming weeks. We are also looking to upgrade the assisted listening devices in Maryland Hall, Encore Theater, and the Chapel in 2020 to a system that provides much higher quality audio and that can also utilize the t-coil feature of your hearing aid.