Senior Living Testimonials
Read what our residents are saying.
Katherine and John GoerssResidents
Dr. Katherine Goerss and Rev. Dr. John Goerss moved to Meadow Lakes in December 2019, just a few months before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before retiring, Katherine spent her career in public education, working as a principal and superintendent for schools in East Windsor, Robbinsville, and Millburn. John served as pastor of The Lutheran Church of the Messiah in Princeton and Lutheran chaplain at Princeton University for 24 years before retiring in 2007. The couple carefully considered how the Meadow Lakes administration and staff handled the pandemic from a variety of angles and graciously agreed to share their views.
On morale: “When you’re talking about locking down a community for an unknown amount of time, you have to make sure that residents are going to be cared for. They did a lot of interesting things. The positive attitude of the staff right from the beginning mirrored the attitude from the top. When it was time to wear masks, everyone wore masks. They made sure everyone had one, and they handled it with levity so it wasn’t a chore. They brought in an ice cream truck on Friday afternoons. They made very good use of the in-house TV channel, providing us with news, music, concerts, movies, documentaries, and tips on how to keep a positive attitude. Exercise classes immediately went online for those who had been participating so they could keep up in their apartments. The morale issue was foremost in their minds.”
On communication: “They really paid attention to the communication piece. Recognizing that a lack of communication can often cause negative feelings, they provided daily updates on the health of the community. The administrative group called residents on the telephone just to say hello, ask how we were doing, and see if we needed anything. They put out frequent printed memos that were delivered to our apartments so that we knew about anything that was going on. They broadcast a weekly community meeting where every department made a presentation, and they also provided written minutes of those meetings. There was no way to miss what was going on. When they had the opportunity, they COVID tested all the independent living residents, which was above and beyond what was required. They showed great concern for the whole community.”
Debbie Nixon and her mother, Marian Nixon, moved to Meadow Lakes from Lawrence Township, NJ, in October 2018, one of several mother/daughter pairs who live in the community. Debbie, the oldest of four siblings, lived with her parents and was her father’s caregiver when he fell ill and died a few years ago. When Debbie and Marian assessed their living options and considered their future plans, they thought it made sense to look into Life Plan Communities. A friend of Marian’s recommended they visit Meadow Lakes.
“We loved that it’s a one-story building set on a lush green property, that each apartment has its own patio, and that it’s not too far from our church,” said Debbie. After much discussion, the family decided to sell Marian’s house and help with the move. Turning reflective, Debbie said, “It was hard, but Mom and I feel like we made the best decision to move here and out of the house where I grew up and she had lived for over 50 years. Everybody is lovely. My mom has made a special friend, and we are well cared for here.”
In mid-March, as the seriousness of the COVID-19 situation became apparent, ordinary community gatherings, meals, and activities had to cease. “Even though residents were understandably disappointed, everyone hunkered down,” said Debbie. “The Meadow Lakes administrators did the best that they could under extraordinarily novel circumstances. They tried extremely hard even though they were essentially sailing the boat and trying to build it at the same time.”
Considering life during the pandemic, she noted: “The administration has been very clear in communicating to residents what to expect and what the rules are. They’ve also been rewarding the staff, which I think is great because they’ve been doing double duty. The directors of life enrichment and resident services along with a few staff members come by with ice cream and other treats that we residents appreciate very much. Everybody wears masks and maintains a safe physical distance. We are all working through this together.”
Lillian Ernst moved to Meadow Lakes in July 2017 with her husband, John. “I was quite familiar with the community since my mother had lived here,” she said, “and I love it!”
In late March 2020, as the community reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lillian had to endure not being able to visit with John who lives in the assisted living neighborhood, a two-minute walk from Lillian’s apartment. “We have been communicating by phone,” she explains. “This separation was made a bit more bearable because I knew he was getting wonderful care. Thankfully, as some restrictions are being lifted, we are able to see each other again.”
Lillian enjoys socially distanced patio visits with friends and taking strolls. “Walk around and everywhere you go, there’s something beautiful to see,” she said. Through the Meadow Lakes in-house TV channel, residents have access to the latest community news, fitness workouts, meditation sessions, chaplain services, resident-suggested movies, and helpful hints on how to stay busy. “They encourage us to write letters, send cards to friends, call neighbors—all ways for us to stay connected. I’ve gone through family albums, gathered things for my children, and cherished some alone time. This has been a great opportunity for me to do things at home that I’ve always wanted to do.”
Remarking on how the leadership, dining team, and staff—including security, housekeeping, and maintenance—all work together, she said, “I feel safe and comfortable because they’re the ones making it happen. The staff really are heroes—they go to great lengths to make our lives pleasant and comfortable, to entertain and sustain us. They look after our health and homes, cook and deliver us food, tend to our magnificent grounds, and all I have to do is think about things that I enjoy. It’s as good as it could be.”
“For me at this stage in my life, I feel like an active social life is the most important thing. I lived in a 55 and older community and felt like I was in a rut; I wanted more social interaction. At Meadow Lakes, there’s always something new to do and learn. I enjoy the art classes here, which fulfill my creative needs as well as the many other programs and events offered.
“Living here is living in beauty—especially my apartment. I wake up every morning to a pretty view of the gardens. And I find the people here very friendly. As I walk down the halls everyone says hello with a smile. The staff here are very friendly too. They all know my name and are so helpful.”
Where I used to live, everyone was in their own home but we weren’t connected. For social activities or if a health issue occurred, I wanted to be in a community where neighbors are nearby and emergency services are close at hand. Here at Meadow Lakes, our private homes are connected with indoor hallways. We have instant assistance at all times with a built-in alert system that provides 24-hour help.
“The development where I lived before was run by the residents, and I wanted to move to a community that was managed by professionals like at Meadow Lakes, but still have a voice and choices as a resident. The Meadow Lakes Residents Forum provides just that—I was recently selected to be the president of the Forum.
“Since moving here, I’ve met so many interesting and talented let’s-get-involved people from all walks of life who are caring and understanding not only for each other, but for the staff as well. When residents of other communities learn about our many resident-initiated committees, including programs such as our Education Award Program that donates college tuition for employees, they say: ‘You have that at your community?’ They can’t believe how involved the residents are here; it makes a world of difference.”
“The word great is heard frequently at Meadow Lakes. When residents first move in, they are amazed that the staff addresses them by name. This friendliness extends to residents who quickly learn the newcomer’s name, help them to get acclimated, and extend a dinner invitation, making them feel great.
“The elegant dining room offers a variety of delicious menus, especially for holidays. When there is no holiday, they make one up, such as strawberry festival, blueberry festival, whatever-is-in-season festival. Those menus include the featured flavor in every course from soup to especially great desserts.
“During the day, residents have so many activities it’s sometimes hard to decide what to do. There are art courses, lectures, fitness activities, trips off campus to the theater, museums, and shops.
“And, when it comes to shopping, Meadow Lakes has the best thrift shop imaginable. It offers everything from designer fashions to housewares to furniture at such low prices that one never wants to buy at regular prices again. That’s great!
“With all this greatness, one of the best things is Meadow Lakes’ location in the midst of a luscious arboretum that’s enhanced by each changing season. It’s also inhabited by an assortment of wildlife and includes ponds in which white and black swans create a great picture.”