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  • Writer's pictureBeltsville News

Riderwood Staff Members Share a Commitment to Care

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

Silver Spring, MD - Whether encouraging new ideas, celebrating shared interests, or providing a helpful hand, Riderwood, an Erickson Senior Living community in Silver Spring, Md., prides itself on maintaining a warm, welcoming environment.

Dedicated staff

Ed Vilade is one of many Riderwood residents who appreciate staff members' support.

"The most unique thing about life at Riderwood is the responsiveness of the staff," he says. "There are many residents who had distinguished careers that required high-level expertise. They want to do what they can with their skills to enhance the lives of their neighbors, and employees have made it easy for them to do so."

Ed points to the creation of Riderwood's Caring Connections program as an example. Developed by residents and fully endorsed by staff, Caring Connections helps inform financial, legal, and medical decisions.

"A group of residents from the program wrote a course, called Navigating as We Age: Changes and Choices, and presented it to Riderwood's management," says Ed. "Resident Services Manager Ellen Lebedow embraced the concept and agreed to cosponsor the 12-session course. Our executive director was equally enthusiastic! We are now in our seventh iteration, and it has been profoundly successful."

As chair of the resident-led Writers Guild, Ed notes that help from staff makes their stories come to life.

"Staff members are very supportive of the Writers Guild. They handle the printing of our periodic publication, Tales from Riderwood," he says. "The plethora of arts programs at Riderwood is backed by employees, through and through."

'Nothing but praise'

At times, staff members display support by getting involved themselves, notes resident and pickleball player Henry Heilbrunn.

"[Groundskeeper] Bobby Whitley and [Lifeguard] Dave Womack raise the level of enjoyment for me and my fellow pickleball players," says Henry. "When the weather is nice, Bobby will join us for a quick game on the outdoor courts. He brings enthusiasm, humor, and a fast serve. Dave will spend his lunch break--and sometime after the pool closes--in the indoor pickleball court taking on residents."

For resident Laura Winters, the attention she received from staff at Arbor Ridge, Riderwood's continuing care neighborhood, exceeded her expectation.

"I was there for two weeks of rehabilitation following a surgery. I find Riderwood staff to be friendly and caring," Laura says. "I have nothing but praise for the staff at Arbor Ridge. I received excellent care, and I especially want to thank [Care Associate] Doris Apau, who would finish her shift by coming into my room to dance for me. What a wonderful way to wake up in the morning!"

A place to thrive

Just as residents thrive within Riderwood's culture of care, staff members enjoy careers that offer professional and personal fulfillment.

"Senior living should be considered a destination for career-driven people who possess a passion for serving others," notes Alan Butler, CEO of Erickson Senior Living. "We continue to innovate and train our workforce because the services we offer to residents are only as good as the people who provide them."

Resident Life Manager Christopher Taydus, who has been with Erickson Senior Living for 14 years, says that his interactions with residents contribute greatly to his job satisfaction.

"When I first began working for Erickson Senior Living, I was focused on figuring out where I wanted to steer my career," Taydus recalls. "I realized that the residents, who provide a source of knowledge you can't get anywhere else, are what made my time at work so valuable. The life experiences they share are priceless! Resident life is where I wanted to go."

Taydus, who manages the community's television studio in his free time, loves seeing residents embrace their worry-free lifestyle by pursuing the interests and hobbies they enjoy.

"Riderwood has over 200 clubs, and our staff is dedicated to upholding--and even expanding--that long list," he says. "The intergenerational connections between residents and staff are what make Riderwood so special. We are all invested in each other's success and happiness. For staff, this is more than just a job--it's an opportunity to develop friendships."

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