Community Connection in the Midst of COVID

Life has changed at Judson since the arrival of COVID-19. But thanks to strict safety protocols, open communication, devoted staff – and a bit of good humor – the sense of community still shines.

When the time finally came for Dennis and Mary Margaret Brennan to downsize, the retired educators’ first reaction was to consider a condo. “But the more we thought about it,” says Mary Margaret, 81, “it just didn’t make sense.”

Health issues weighed heavily on their minds.

“It seemed to us that after a few years,” says Dennis, 79, who has already faced some medical concerns, “we would both be doing an awful lot of doctoring. What would we do then? Moving is hard; we didn’t want to do it twice.”

As forward-thinking adults, the Brennans decided to consider continuing care retirement communities. “We started out very ignorant about the topic,” Dennis says. But the more they researched CCRCs, the more impressed they became with Judson.

“Compared to an apartment or a condo, Judson had so much more to offer,” says Mary Margaret, citing not only the continuity of medical care, but also the professional staff, the caring neighbors, and the assortment of clubs, committees and fitness classes Judson residents enjoy.

The couple soon determined that Judson Park had everything they wanted; they joined the community in 2018. Even their adult children applauded the move, says Mary Margaret. “At that point, both our children lived some distance away. Our decision to move to Judson Park was very reassuring to them; it gave them peace of mind.”

Today, the Brennans continue to relish their worry-free lifestyle, despite the pandemic. “Thanks to Judson, we’ve been well and safe,” says Mary Margaret. “Everyone here can figure out the consequences of a deadly illness,” adds Dennis. “No one is taking any chances.”

While masks, social distancing and restrictions on large indoor gatherings have modified many of their activities, other pleasures have remained unchanged; for the Brennans, that has included gardening on the spacious grounds and strolling through the historic Chestnut Hills neighborhood.

New pastimes have popped up, too. One of the Brennans’ favorites is the “Hallway Holler,” a much-anticipated weekly confab that finds residents gathering with one another, safely distanced outside their apartment doors. The upshot, Dennis says, has been a true sense of unity. “It is clear to us all that we know something real and personal about our neighbors now. They have become friends, not just inhabitants of nearby space.”

It’s a reminder of why they chose Judson in the first place.

“Judson is always talking about ‘bringing community to life,’” says Dennis. “I happen to believe it is true.”

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