Let’s start with Christmas season in 2020. Meridian Health Care and Charter Senior Living of Vernon Hills, IL came up with a unorthodox idea for the time. “Hey, why don’t we go interact with the general public as a way to try and bring some holiday cheer”? It worked. People were shocked to have a bunch of healthcare professionals approach them with goodie bags filled with lotto tickets, candy, and drawings done by the residents of Charter Senior Living. We even had people write to us to thank us for what we did. Well, we decided to do it again, but this time we improved on it.

On June 1st, Meridian and Charter ‘hit the road” again. We had goodie bags to pass out, but this time we had guests accompany us: residents of Charter Senior living that were excited to go out for a ride.

 

 

We made a few stops. Meridian and Charter staff exited the buses at stop lights and handed out the bags to unsuspecting motorists who were surprised, but the real fun started when we hit the outdoor malls. Much like the event we did in December, people were happy to take part in our outreach and was met with smiles, conversations and questions on why we were doing this, which the answer to that is “because why not”.

 

 

 

We all had a great time, and I know for a fact that Kristin, Executive Director of Charter Senior Living of Vernon Hills, had a blast driving the bus around. Shelly, a new member of Charter Senior Living, also got to experience how Charter and Meridian “think outside the box” in how we approach our community engagement (which we are well known for locally in the Chicagaoland area).

 

 

To end the day of fun, Charter Senior living treated the residents that joined us to a special treat: Culver’s ice cream. Needless to say, they loved it.

 

 

Over the past year, people in senior communities were “locked down” to minimize their exposure to COVID-19. The unintended side effect of that was isolation. As cases are dropping nationwide and more and more at-risk people are getting vaccinated, we were thrilled to not only engage the public yet again, but to bring along with us those we care for most: our patients and residents.