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The East Ridge at Cutler Bay Life Plan Community offers residents an innovative way of staying engaged while social distancing which has become essential during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our in-house Channel 97 is bringing residents a variety of programming that is geared to their emotional and physical well-being,” said Mary Scott Russell, Director of Community Relations. “Watching TV is an acceptable and comfortable medium for them to use.  Some residents are more technologically savvy and enjoy using Zoom while others prefer watching TV.”

The TV programs are selected by the community’s Lifestyle Director Virginia Duggan and she’s assisted by resident volunteers including Elise Henline, Jeff Haller and Gary Sisler. They send short videos that are shown at 12:30 p.m. and include clips of dogs, funny animals, babies and patriotic videos.

At East Ridge, a typical day’s Channel 97 programming incorporates a variety of the dimensions of wellness that are the core of the community’s activities. It includes fitness classes in the morning and afternoon. Wellness Center Coordinator Mario Alberto offers an overall stretching and fitness class in the morning while afternoon classes include the community’s popular sittercise class, yoga and tai chi. Exercises for stress reduction and deep relaxation are incorporated to help residents find inner calm.  Since East Ridge offers a community chorus; there’s even chorus practice – and singing is extremely therapeutic.

“Using the East Ridge TV for fitness routines seems to help keep residents motivation much higher,” said Russell. While some residents enjoy taking advantage of the East Ridge spectacular walking paths for exercise, the ability to work out in their residences is so convenient. The classes are geared to a variety of fitness levels of the older adult. It’s so important to keep moving and staying healthy and the classes offer good strength routines as well as techniques for developing good balance.

Most recently the community’s TV channel is featuring remote learning and used for classes from the University of Miami’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.  “A new series started in July and is continuing through the summer,” said Russell. Residents are enjoying the college level content offered by the lecturers.  Armando Droulers, a popular presenter is offering a series called “Western Art: Landscapes of Music and Dance Relaxation Through Art.”  There a topical lecture, “In the News” with Janet Krutchik and Leslie Gross and Miriam Moussatche-Wachsler is presenting “How to Live a Happier, Uncluttered Life.”

Armchair travelers find both documentary and scenic travelogues enjoyable while additional programming is interspersed with prerecorded live concerts, movies, and spiritual services. “Interestingly, our movies selections feature mainly comedies because people are seeking reasons to laugh,” she added.  They can find regular TV programs but the East Ridge channel is bringing them selections they may not be able to access.

“We are thrilled how the community’s dedicated TV channel has been enhanced. It’s so valuable using it for digital signage of announcements, community news and dining menus,” she said. Residents are geared to tuning in each morning. And it’s invaluable in case of an emergency, such as a hurricane, for important notifications.

About East Ridge

East Ridge at Cutler Bay is Miami-Dade County’s only true Life Plan Community. The nonprofit 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 SW 87th Avenue. The community offers a continuum of care including independent and assisted living residence homes in a neighborhood setting, and 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 or visit