Over the past three years there’s been a visceral change at Rhoda Goldman Plaza. And that’s a good thing. What is it? You see the comings and goings of people on their way to a program, appointment, or event, reading the paper, enjoying a meal or snack in the cafe; you detect the comforting smell of freshly-baked challah hot from the oven or homemade soup cooking; you hear the whirr of the cappuccino machine and the susurration of people in conversation. All in all, you sense that here in this wonderfully intimate and cozy community, life is being lived.

Our campus vitality is due, in part, to our 100% occupancy and our enviable Wait List; people

moving into Rhoda Goldman Plaza have had to wait many months for their turn, which means that the very frail, straight out of the hospital or acute rehab, generally do not become new residents. Those people often need to enter a community immediately (if they can’t return home), thus we cannot accommodate them.

Because of the healthier people entering Rhoda Goldman Plaza we do not experience the high turnover associated with assisted living and memory care communities. Here, people seem to live longer and thus, as their families, friends, grandchildren and great grandchildren visit, they have the opportunity to really get to know the staff and other residents. Sometimes a resident’s adult child will share a bit of news with me about the community—and I would assume that as a staff member who’s at the community nearly every day—I would already know.

Perhaps it’s all that time spent in the café over a latte or sandwich, listening to conversations as they’re being woven. RGP becomes their “home away from home” which is why we assert that, “Here, you’re like family” . . . because you really are, directly or indirectly. One visitor calls this vitality “resonance” —reflecting the general harmony that resides at RGP.

This can only occur in a mature community with continuity of leadership that knows intimately, the community they serve. While our programming has an organic flow that can accommodate the interests of new residents, the staff executing it knows the behind-the-scene processes to make it happen without disruption to the resident experience. Sure, life happens, but all in all, we’ve worked out the glitches in our systems that allow us to be responsive to resident requests and suggestions.

When I meet with future residents and their families, I remind the adult children that they ALL are moving in. This is a gentle welcome to consider it their second home and an invitation to visit, share a meal, volunteer, perform and engage in the community beyond their loved one. And many people do just that which is why Rhoda Goldman Plaza has that special vigor and resonance with families and friends that has irresistible draw.