Felicia Waters (L+M Social Services Coordinator) and Ms. Cathy (Norman Towers floor captain)
Residents at Norman Towers in East Orange, New Jersey, are exemplifying what it means to be a ‘good neighbor’ through their ‘I’m OK’ community program. Led by L+M’s social services team in collaboration with resident volunteers, ‘I’m OK’ is a peer-to-peer program that empowers residents to check on their neighbors daily and render assistance if needed.
Norman Towers is a 16-story independent senior living community with over 400 units. The residents are a mix of active and homebound residents, and some have even reached their golden century!
Residents that choose to opt in for the program receive a door hanger that reads ‘I’m OK’ to place on their apartment’s front doorknob. Every morning, floor captains walk the halls and check residents’ doorknobs – for any that show the ‘I’m OK’ side of the hanger. Once the floor captain checks the hanger, they flip it the reverse side. The next morning, residents will flip their hangers back to the ‘I’m OK’ side to signal their well-being before the floor captain does their daily check.
If the floor captain sees a sign that is showing the blank side, they will knock on the door to speak to the resident to see if the need help – or if they simply forgot to turn their sign around. If the floor captain is unable to make contact with the resident, the onsite property management team will be notified and conduct a wellness check.
L+M Social Services Coordinator Felicia Waters partnered with the residents to develop the program and credits the program’s success to the floor captains’ diligence. She says, “Our floor captains are the eyes and ears of the community. They are very instrumental in helping us to identify residents that may need resources or support”.
Ms. Cathy, a floor captain at Norman Towers, has lived at the property for five years and is well-known and trusted within the community. She is a familiar face to lots of the residents due to her regular visits to her mother, who has lived at the property for 18 years, and her participation in community events. Ms. Cathy and the other 14 captains are a lifeline within the community.
The ‘I’m OK’ program truly helps build a stronger community at Norman Towers. Residents are connected and know that support is always nearby.