2021: A Year Full of Memories at Riderwood
Updated: Jan 30
Silver Spring, MD -- Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Write on your heart that every day is the best day of the year.” Residents and staff at Riderwood, an Erickson Senior Living community in Silver Spring, Md., did just that—utilize every day to create memorable moments. Here are the top 10:
1. Early, successful vaccinations
Beginning in January, residents and staff members were able to receive COVID-19 vaccinations through multiple well-orchestrated vaccine clinics held at the on-site CVS.
“Since the onset of the pandemic more than 12 months ago, our team has worked diligently with residents, their families, and local health officials to help safeguard the well-being of everyone who calls Riderwood home,” says Executive Director Gary Hibbs. “I’m proud of the exceptional results we have achieved by working together. We could not have reached this important landmark without the professionalism of our partners at CVS and Adventist HealthCare, the unwavering commitment of our staff, and the resilience of our residents.”
2. Safe return to activities
Community members were happy to get back to their favorite on-campus activities, after more than 96% of Riderwood residents received the vaccine. The garden club’s annual open house and quilt show; Earth Day walk; pickleball tournament; performances by the Acousti-Cats, Riderwood’s resident ukulele band, and live music patio parties are just a few of the events enjoyed after Riderwood reached its high vaccination rate.
3. Parading through campus
This year, Riderwood residents put on their creative thinking caps and celebrated with each other by participating in parades. On Memorial Day, various departments decorated golf carts and paraded through campus—the Veteran’s Legacy group determined the winning float. Later in the summer, community members joined with friends and neighbors alike to enjoy the community’s LGBTQ+ Pride parade.
4. Celebrating diversity
Riderwood’s diversity, inclusion, and belonging committee paid tribute to different groups throughout 2021 in an effort to enlighten, entertain, educate, and build awareness of cultures and customs. In honor of the 51st celebration of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning/queer) Pride Month, the organization hosted a parade, movie events, and lectures during June. Also, that month, the African American history club coordinated a Juneteenth celebration to commemorate the emancipation. In late 2021, Riderwood recognizes Native American Heritage Month with a variety of educational opportunities.
5. Record number of new residents
Given the uncertainty that surrounded 2020, many people who planned a move to Riderwood were forced to postpone. Although plans were rearranged, these future residents recognized the safety net available to community members at Riderwood. As a result, a record number of prospective residents visited the community, with the vast majority either joining the priority list or moving to Riderwood this year.
6. Hot real estate market
Throughout the year, the Washington, D.C., metropolitan real estate market remained red-hot. With the help of Erickson Realty and Moving Services partners, Riderwood’s personal moving consultants helped hundreds of new residents move to the community, using in-person visits and online technology to help clients stage their home for sale, downsize, and create a packing/moving plan.
7. Providing for students
This year, a record-breaking 89 Riderwood employees received a Scholars Fund scholarship. Studying nursing, psychology, computer science, and business, 20 of these scholarship winners are high school seniors embarking on their college career. The remaining 69 scholarships were awarded to employees already working toward their degrees. “We are all so proud of this group of remarkable students,” says Resident Life Manager Fiona Divecha.
8. Generosity knows no bounds
In addition to funding the scholarships, generous community members donated to Riderwood’s Benevolent Care Fund. The Fund, one of the community’s biggest philanthropy efforts, provides support to residents who, despite careful planning, outlive their financial resources. The fund allows for residents experiencing financial adversity to continue living at Riderwood in their apartment home, among their friends, receiving the care that they need.
9. Eating well
Following a year of in-home dining options, Riderwood reopened all nine campus restaurants, offering a wide menu selection. Throughout the year, restaurant menus changed monthly to offer regional and seasonal favorites.
10. Let us entertain you
Community members were able to enjoy high-quality performances from award-winning musicians once again in 2021, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the resident-run performing arts council.
This past summer, Jeff Harnar, award-winning Broadway cabaret singer, and Alex Rybeck, pianist, director, arranger, and composer, impressed residents with a concert at Riderwood’s Encore Theater.
Also, this summer, Riderwood’s Purple Lady Productions hosted several musicians and performers, including Anamer Castrello, Gustavo Ahualli, Suzanne Lane, and Steven Myles.