Photos courtesy Franke Tobey Jones

Ruston’s senior living community, Franke Tobey Jones, has been adjusting during these times to ensure the safety and health of its residents, while continuing to provide them with essential services and alternative forms of socialization.

During the initial COVID-19 outbreak around mid-March, Franke Tobey Jones started no longer allowing visitors on campus and suspended all activities to decrease the residents’ chances of exposure. This was a very difficult change for residents who rely heavily on these forms of socialization and day-to-day routines. Providing essential services for the seniors, however, could not be postponed and, in order to make sure residents’ needs were still being taken care of, the arrangement of the Temporary Personal Concierge Service began, assigning each resident at FTJ a team member as their “personal concierge.”

As a resident’s personal concierge, the team member is put in charge of helping to keep residents informed and reduce feelings of isolation. Responsibilities include communicating with resident family members about needs and questions; setting up FaceTime, Skype, Zoom or other meet-up platforms; collecting deliveries; running errands; and taking residents on walks around campus.

The team members that serve as personal concierges occupy other positions at FTJ in departments such as accounting, philanthropy, fitness, administration, and so on. These individuals are truly going above and beyond the scope of their positions to bring peace of mind, connection, laughter, smiles, care, and love to residents during this time of no visitors and no activities.

“It has been my privilege to serve as a Personal Concierge for ten residents during this unique time in our history,” Christine Hall, FTJ senior director of marketing, said. “It has given me the opportunity to step outside my normal marketing role, to get to know these ten residents even more, and to establish a stronger association with their family members. It’s been rewarding to deliver meals, set up Zoom ‘happy hours’ with residents and family members across the globe, bring care packages to residents from family members — especially homemade goodies and cards — which bring so many smiles to our residents, and so much more.”

Family members have also been very grateful for the additional support in staying connected with their loved ones during these times. One resident’s daughter said she’d been able to have regular FaceTime calls given the assistance of the FTJ concierge, and felt secure in knowing there is someone making sure her parent is receiving regular groceries and other essentials.

Franke Tobey Jones will continue to prohibit visitors on campus and keep all activities suspended, following and enforcing all COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines. “Our job is to take care of seniors, and during this time of COVID-19 it has never been truer of our mission. We are truly grateful for our staff who are taking so many precautions while caring for our residents, and for the support we’ve been receiving from our residents and family members during this uniquely challenging time.” said Judy Dunn, FTJ president and CEO. “We know that it is genuinely difficult for everyone to be isolated, but everyone’s efforts are paying off. We are thankful to still be COVID-19 free at Franke Tobey Jones and to be working together in these unprecedented times as we forge our way everyday through uncertainty, challenge, and change. We will all get through this together, ever more grateful when we get to the other side.”

Daffodil Parade at Franke Tobey Jones

This year’s daffodil parade looked a little different than it usually does, with cancellations due to COVID-19. However, that didn’t stop the festivities — the parade still carried on, in a social distant manner of course. This past weekend, Franke Tobey Jones hosted a springtime parade featuring this year’s 12 daffodil princesses. Although no visitors are currently allowed at the senior living community, they invited all FTJ resident family members to join in by driving through campus on the parade route. Many decorated their cars, held signs, honked their horns, and got to see and wave to their loved ones. It was a great way to bring back some normalcy to the community while carrying on a beloved neighborhood tradition.