Looking Back on 5 Lessons of 2021Brandermill Woods independent living angle

Looking Back on 5 Lessons of 2021

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Reflecting on 2021, we have reasons to both grieve and to be joyful. At Brandermill Woods, along with the rest of the world, we navigated another year of global pandemic, finding a way to make the most of each day. Yet, we suffered losses and uncertainties. We conquered fears and came together once again.

With both these challenges and triumphs in mind, let us be thankful for how we’ve moved forward through this year. May we use lessons learned to have hope for 2022. Here’s a look back on 5 lessons from this year:

1. We learned to live with a pandemic.

In January, Brandermill Woods Retirement Community announced that it would receive enough COVID-19 vaccines for all residents and staff.  There were gasps, laughter and tears—there was relief and peace. 

The second round of vaccines were completed in early February, protecting us from the virus that had already taken so many lives globally. We remain grateful to the CVS pharmacists who administered the vaccines.  By the end of February, 96.8% of Independent Living residents, 100% of Assisted Living residents and 97.5% of Memory Care residents had received their COVID-19 vaccine.  

With the vaccines, community life began to open up again.

2. We learned more about the importance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

We continued the work we began in 2019 to become a SAGE-certified facility, an important step in our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) journey. SAGECare training helps service providers create more LGBTQ+ welcoming organizations—and these credentials help LGBTQ+ people find us. 

Additionally, our staff participated in several events that were sponsored by LeadingAge Virginia. In January 2021, Kristen Moore and Charmaine Preiss agreed to become members of the DEI Cabinet sponsored by LeadingAge Virginia. “This cabinet, charged with developing a strategy for LeadingAge Virginia, is working to build an equitable and inclusive older adult services community… When we are more equitable and inclusive, our staff, leadership, and the people we serve reflect the rich diversity of the world around us,” wrote Charmaine. 

In May, Brandermill Woods announced its new DEI Committee and its first members: Carolyn Williams, Kristen Moore, Stephanie Murphy, Steven Perez, Tomeka Scott, Willia Lloyd, Carol Kratch, Barbara Campbell and Elizabeth Miller-Scott.  

3. We shared our appreciation for Brandermill Woods’ hard-working staff. 

In October, the Brandermill Woods Foundation awarded a $3,000 scholarship to a deserving staff member, an award given for each of the past 19 years. However, in 2021, due to the generosity of an anonymous resident who lives in Independent Living, an additional scholarship in the amount of $5,000 was donated. This year’s $3,000 Foundation recipient was Christabell Chesoh, and the $5,000 scholarship winner was Sarah Vega. Both recipients were awarded their scholarships at the annual Foundation Cocktail Party in August.

4. We loved making new memories and having special moments. 

While we remained cautious of COVID, we began to get out more and go on new adventures. Our community calendar began to fill up again. We were glad to see each other and to reconnect with loved ones. We could not do everything we wanted, but we made the most of this year.

5. We continued to be resilient.

The Brandermill Woods family has lived through much more than a pandemic — from wars to polio cures, inflation to astronauts on the moon. We’ve learned to be resilient, learn from the past, and press on toward the future. This year was no different. Thank you for bringing your hopeful spirits and life experience to make Brandermill Woods a better place in 2021. Here’s to 2022 and taking these lessons into the new year!