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As senior living communities across the country respond to safeguarding the health and well-being of residents and staff during coronavirus, residents at East Ridge at Cutler Bay are showing resilience during these unprecedented times.

While being mindful of social distancing and other preventative measures, the independent living residents of the life plan community are supporting, inspiring and motivating each other.


East Ridge’s Town Council president, Linda Sankpill, who is an accomplished romance writer, has returned to her computer to write, but now it’s a daily commentary for fellow residents.

“We’re trying to keep everyone in the know and dispel any rumors. My memo offers words of encouragement while reinforcing tips for safety protocols. Most importantly, it is a reminder that we’re here for each other and offers suggestions on how each of us can help our neighbors,” she said. “This is a perfect time to call someone or wave to a passerby from your window. These small gestures go a long way to help people feel less isolated.”

Linda’s recent memo also reminded residents that the U.S. Census form arriving by mail is not junk mail and encouraged residents to answer the questions.

Additionally, she reminds her neighbors to get outside and continue exercising and walking. The 76-acre tropical setting of the East Ridge community is conducive to staying active. It inspires calming feelings found from nature while promoting a sense of wellbeing. The community also offers a meandering pathway system that is ideal for walking while maintaining a distance of six feet from other walkers as recommended by the CDC.

“We have residents who enjoy walking in the morning,” she said. “Though we’re practicing social distancing, we feel less isolated because we’re able to see our neighbors outdoors.”


Also unique within East Ridge is a palmetum, a garden of tropical palms that originally were planted by one of East Ridge’s early couples who traveled worldwide collecting rare species. It offers a tranquil setting with a meandering footpath and park benches. Species of palms have designated name markers, and it’s truly a treasure within the community.

There is a new butterfly garden at East Ridge, and residents enjoy checking on the recent plantings and watching for the appearance of butterflies.


Artist and resident Annie Gonzalez has been using this time to devote to her paintings.  She’s working on two 18” x 24 “ oil paintings for an exhibition at the Biscayne National Park’s Dante Facell Visitors Center Gallery on birds on the verge of extinction. She’s learned about her subject, the American kestrel, and the bird’s unique characteristics. One of her paintings illustrates the birds in a nesting cavity for breeding, while the other shows the male bird feeding the female. In addition to enjoying the solitude to paint in her residence, she does meditation on YouTube and reading selections for the community’s book club.

East Ridge residents don’t need to rely on grocery shopping or cooking since East Ridge’s Food and Beverage department delivers meals to each resident twice a day. There are regular visits from the Home Health Department as well.

“This is a wonderful place to be, especially right now,” she acknowledges. “We’re taken care of beautifully. We just need to be more aware, but it’s a time to be treasured.”


Mary Ann Faber has been finding this time for her many projects fulfilling. The talented seamstress obtained a face mask pattern from a retired operating nurse. She’s been sewing these for her neighbors should they be needed, and included a Pellon non-woven layer interfacing as a precautionary measure.

She also sews patriotic “kissing pillows” for her embroidery guild’s project which are assembled and handed out to soldiers who are being deployed.

Walking her dog, Misty, keeps her active as well as organizing the community’s library and reading. The latest book she’s enjoying is “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Hehisi.


About East Ridge

East Ridge at Cutler Bay is Miami-Dade County’s only true life care retirement community. The not-for-profit community draws from the neighborhood charm of suburban Cutler Bay and the vibrancy of Miami in a lush tropical setting of 76 acres, located at 19301 S.W. 87th Avenue.  The community offers a continuum of care including independent and assisted living apartment homes in a neighborhood setting, respite and skilled nursing care, and rehabilitation services available within Three Palms Health Center.  For more information or to schedule a tour, please call (305) 256-3564 visit