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For Floridians, hurricanes aren’t novel. It seems that in exchange for the glorious sunny days and warmth in the winter months, you must accept that, at some point, a hurricane could impact your city. On September 28th, Category 4 Hurricane Ian struck the southwestern coast of Florida, causing widespread damage.

So many people, including those who reside at The Terraces at Bonita Springs, were in the path of the storm. However, the emotions at the Florida senior living community weren’t those of worry and stress, but instead were those of a calm and collected team of employees and residents who thrived despite this natural disaster. Thanks to strong leadership, a safety and preparedness plan, and an extraordinary group of staff and residents alike, The Terraces proved there couldn’t have been a better place to weather the storm.  

Planning and Prepping To Shelter in Place

“Hurricane preparedness is huge here,” shares Executive Director of The Terraces, Michele Wasserlauf. “We have a detailed plan outlining everything the residents need to know, and we host resident meetings to keep these plans fresh in everyone’s minds.”

And off Wasserlauf and her team went, doing such things as visiting each residence to set refrigerators to low and pulling patio furniture indoors. Generators were topped off so full power would remain for the health care division and power sources would be available in independent living. 

Additionally, some staff members brought their families to the community when they needed somewhere to shelter in place. This provided safety for them and ensured the staff would be there around the clock to care for residents. Wasserlauf emphasized, “Everyone watches out for one another and considers staff an extension of their family. We made room for everyone.” 

Everyone Under One Roof

One of the perks of living at The Terraces is that everyone is under one roof. During the hurricane, this meant everything to independent living resident Rita Weiss, whose husband was in skilled nursing at the time of the storm. 

“I had a front-row seat to the amazing work the staff was doing in health services. There was full power from the generators, three meals a day, and I had 24-hour access to be with my husband,” Weiss shares, “It was nice to be close to him during the worst of the storm. Until you experience it, you can’t imagine how much of a blessing it is to have your spouse near you when they have different care needs.”

The Terraces at Bonita Springs is a Life Plan Community where you have access to the full continuum of care should you ever need it. This provides comfort and security for residents and families alike. 

An Impressive Outcome

The Terraces were built to endure up to 150 mph winds, and thankfully damage to the building was minimal. There was tremendous relief that there was no storm surge. Aside from some roof, fence, and tree damage, there was no severe damage, and power returned quickly.

The lasting impact, however, is showing up in the calls coming in after the storm. “We keep getting calls from seniors looking to move in. They heard from others how well-prepared we were, and many seniors are ready to leave behind the maintenance of their own home for the comfort and safety of our community.” Wasserlauf elaborates, “Seniors know we’ll give them the best care no matter the circumstances.” 

For senior living communities in Florida, emergency preparedness plans are essential but so are the incredible people who set them into motion. Weiss, who also serves as the president of the resident council, calculates that more than 7,000 man-hours were worked over the course of the storm to ensure every person had the best care possible. “It was so fun,” continues Weiss, “to see residents’ dogs playing with children of the staff members, and everyone spending time together and building new friendships.”

Gratitude This Holiday Season

This time of year, we’re regularly reminded of thankfulness and gratitude, but at The Terraces, this sentiment exists year-round. Weiss shares, “This team and our residents are a cohesive unit that weathered the storm. It took all of us to make it happen, and I couldn’t be more proud and thankful to live in such an exceptional community.”

Find Comfort and Joy Year-Round at The Terraces at Bonita Springs

The Terraces at Bonita Springs offers a full continuum of care, including independent living, assisted living, memory support and skilled nursing, and is prepared for whatever the future blows your way. If you’re ready to learn more about the comfort, security and happiness that comes with joining a Life Plan Community, please contact us to schedule a visit.