During hurricane season in South Florida, one of the greatest benefits offered by retirement communities is the security residents have of being with others who look out for their well-being.

For example, at East Ridge, the life plan community located in Cutler Bay, a comprehensive emergency management plan is submitted to Miami Dade County to confirm the community is prepared for an emergency. The plan is also approved by the American Health Care Association (AHCA). These plans also cover other emergencies such as a tornado, fire, loss of utilities and environmental threats.

“This time of the year, our focus is hurricanes,” said Mary Scott Russell, director of marketing for the community. “Residents have peace of mind knowing a trained team is in place whose priority is their safety.”

East Ridge residents are also together with friends and neighbors for emotional support and do not face an impending storm alone.

“We plan in advance of hurricane season for either sheltering within the community or making provisions for off-site evacuations,” she explained. “In 2017, Hurricane Irma preparations started taking place well before the storm. Maintenance crews were hard at work clearing furniture from patios, installing hurricane shutters and placing sandbags. You can imagine someone’s relief not having to worry about hiring someone to handle these responsibilities.”

Hurricane Irma required East Ridge residents to evacuate. Residents were relocated to Orlando to the Disney Swan and Dolphin Hotels while residents in Three Palms Health Center were moved to a sister community in Gainesville. While many recall the long bus ride to Orlando, they also remember how much fun they had at the Disney resorts.

“Living in a life plan community helps alleviate many of the stressful burdens seniors face when living in a single-family home or condominium,” added Russell. “We strive to educate our residents by providing a detailed hurricane booklet that is revised annually and there are frequent resident meetings to review hurricane preparedness plans.”

The East Ridge communication plans includes the use of social media to communicate with residents’ families, especially those out of state.

“Residents don’t need to worry about the details,” she said. “If power is lost for an extensive amount of time, even their refrigerators are cleaned before they return.”

After Hurricane Irma, one East Ridge resident summed it up perfectly: “When my friends started telling me about their hardships and trying to find people to help them with the cleanup, I told them to move to East Ridge. We went to Epcot!”

To learn more about East Ridge at Cutler Bay that now offers a rental program in addition to life plan residences, please call 305.256.3564 for a tour.

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