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Today’s Front Line Hero: Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community

November 20, 2020

By Emily Gross, Senior Manager of Program Development and Outreach

Today’s Front Line Hero is Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community (TLRC), a Lutheran Services in America member organization that provides independent and assisted living; short-term stays and rehabilitation; and long-term and memory care for seniors in Tacoma, Washington. The TLRC team has been doubling down on their efforts to sustain a safe, comforting, and supportive environment for all in their care during the pandemic. The staff has also been highly innovative with their use of technology.

Noting a need for clear and consistent communication while social distancing measures are in place, TLRC configured the settings of their Situational Awareness and Response Assistant (SARA), to not only precisely locate residents when they need assistance from trained staff, but also automate alerts to family members in real time. Bingo, a very popular game among TLRC residents, has moved to be virtual. Staff have also worked with residents to ensure they have access to video calls and window visits, and even held a wedding on-site, allowing a resident to see her granddaughter get married from a safe distance.

Staff have also developed nontechnical solutions for enhancing residents’ wellbeing. TLRC was recently featured in Showcase Magazine for its partnership with Forefront Healthcare, which provides delicious, healthy food and dining services to residents. Last month, they put on an event, “Dining Under the Stars,” and served residents a four-course meal paired with wine in an outdoor setting. And a few weeks ago, TLRC worked with Eldergrow to bring nature indoors with fall-themed creative therapeutic programming. Residents put together collages of fall leaves, which now hang on the walls within the community.

Lutheran Services in America recently featured TLRC’s president and CEO Kevin McFeely in a webinar to discuss ways they have embraced technology during the pandemic to better engage residents and staff. Hats off to Kevin and everyone at TLRC for their incredible work.