It’s the Five Star Senior Living way.
It was the height of the 2017 hurricane season. Hurricane Irma had made landfall and had just blown through Florida’s southeastern coast. And the team at The Horizon Club, a Five Star Senior Living community in Deerfield Beach, just south of Boca Raton, had a problem. A big one.
“A giant tree had fallen and completely blocked our entrance,” recalls Mary Beth Rutenis, executive director of The Horizon Club. “The parking lots were flooded, so my team and I had gone out with rakes and anything else we could find to help clear the several storm drains. When we finally cleared the drains, we were able to make it to the entrance, where we discovered the fallen tree.”
Not only did the tree pose a potential access problem for first responders; it also meant the team couldn’t change shifts. And the first shift had been sheltering in place for 12 hours already.
So the Horizon Club maintenance team, Mary Beth and other determined Five Star team members grabbed chainsaws and marched out in the pouring rain, where they sawed the tree into pieces and cleared the driveway.
“We got soaked,” Mary Beth laughs. “But we were able to return to business as usual.”
The hidden benefits of senior living at Five Star
Her story is a great example of one of the hidden benefits of living in a Five Star community: staying safe and not having to worry when a natural disaster strikes. While that’s especially relevant right now during hurricane season, it’s important no matter where you live or the time of year. Whether it’s a Nor’easter in the Northeast, tornado in the Midwest, wildfire or earthquake on the West Coast, heatwave in the South or yes, a hurricane along the Gulf of Mexico, one of the safest places an older adult can be is in a Five Star community.
There are several reasons why this is so—the first being our exceptional Five Star team members. As they did at The Horizon Club, Five Star people go the extra mile to keep residents safe from harm and worry. That means clearing fallen trees as well as other debris from hurricanes, moving tons of snow after blizzards, distributing bottled water during extreme heat—all ASAP. We take care of any disaster preparations as well as cleanup so you don’t have to. Our residents can rest easy throughout.
Disaster prepared and ready for anything
Five Star communities themselves are designed with safety and comfort in mind, first and foremost. And that includes hurricane and other natural disaster preparedness. Here are just some examples of the precautions we take:
Power backups. Five Star communities backup generators serve entire buildings to keep everything running in the event of a power outage. So you can count on air conditioning during heatwaves, staying cozy during snowstorms and enjoying cooked meals in the aftermath of a disaster.
Evacuation plans. Each community has an evacuation plan in place with backup strategies for relocating residents and continuous delivery of resident care.
First-responder contact. Each community also has a plan in place for communicating with local first responders, including before an event when there’s the potential threat of severe weather.
Disaster training. Our team members undergo training on a variety of safety-related topics, ranging from sheltering in place to a loss of electricity or an interruption in the water supply.
Another senior living benefit: The comfort of community
Natural disasters can be pretty scary. Living in a Five Star community means you’re surrounded by friends so you don’t have to weather a disaster alone. And because Five Star communities have 24/7 support services on site, residents can count on uninterrupted nursing care as well. You have people who care about you right there—a comfort to families who live in other states and can’t be with their loved ones.
Hurricane preparedness: What you can do
If you live on the coast and plan to shelter in place this hurricane season, there’s a lot you can do on your own to feel better prepared. Check out these tips on hurricane preparedness for older adults. Don’t forget to also check with your local council on aging for any related resources as well.
Stay safe with us
When it comes to safety, Five Star is here for you. Find out if there’s a community near you or someone you love. If moving isn’t on the horizon but you’d prefer a safer place to shelter, consider a short-term Five Star stay. Many of our communities offer this option. Long-term or short-term, we’ll make you feel welcome!