Here’s how Symphony of Olmsted Falls helps residents maintain their connection to the world around them

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Symphony of Olmsted Falls offers special programs, such as the monthly Taste & Tell, to help each resident through their progression with dementia and nurture and respect their individuality. (Photogrpahy: Benjamin Margalit)

By Patricia Nugent

Few of us take the time to stop and celebrate the honorable gentlemen for whom President’s Day is named.

At Symphony of Olmsted Falls, through their Taste & Tell Program, last month residents discovered the healthy properties of cherries and made cherry crisps in honor of George Washington’s fateful chopped-down cherry tree. Then on the actual birthday of our 16th president, they were entertained by an Abraham Lincoln impersonator who told stories and fun facts.

“Special programs, such as the monthly Taste & Tell, are all part of our mission, to help each resident through their progression with dementia and nurture and respect their individuality,” says Kristen Kessler, director of sales and marketing.

“Residents at different stages of abilities can take part in different parts of the program.”

The culinary collaboration is a signature program in memory support, following Symphony’s Six Principles of Well-Being. Each month it’s directed by the chef, memory support director and activity specialists.

Creativity and imagination play a key role in Taste & Tell, which includes researching and learning fun facts, hands-on action and enjoying the prepared food at the end.

Becky Reed, who is a memory support coordinator at Symphony, reports that people, “feel engaged and enjoy tapping into and revisiting their own memories and sharing recipes. The bottom line is they all have fun and look forward to it.”

Programs correspond to the seasons and holidays. For instance, this month, she reports, they will be making Irish Soda Bread and exploring Irish legends and lore.

Meet the New Executive Director
New to Symphony—though hardly new to senior care—Executive Director Chrissy Grude has been in the director role at another local senior facility for the past 10 years.

She says she’s known since high school that she wanted a career working with seniors.

“My mother was a nurse in this arena, and I worked at a nursing home in high school,” says Chrissy, who is responsible for overseeing Symphony’s day-to-day operations.

“This job looked like a perfect fit for me. I like the idea of catering to a resident population that’s exclusively memory care. Working with a smaller number of residents allows us to dedicate our efforts toward personalizing each person’s experience.”

What’s on Tap for Spring?
As soon as the weather warms, Symphony residents head outdoors to the spacious courtyard, planting seeds for the garden club, and filling bird feeders for the returning clientele.

They also enjoy a fun-filled schedule of organized trips, spur-of-the-moment excursions and special events, such as Mother’s Day, which is celebrated with a tea.

Families are always welcome to join the events. Kristen says they are planning for a nice turnout to the Easter Egg Hunt and Brunch, planned for Saturday, April 13.

“We are partnering with our neighboring building, Village of the Falls, for this event. It’s open to the public, for children 12 and under, who will hunt for eggs both indoors and along our wraparound porch,” says Chrissy.

The event is from 10 a.m.-noon, with brunch from 10 a.m.-11 a.m., at Village of the Falls, followed by the hunt at Symphony, from 11 a.m.-noon.

Symphony at Olmsted Falls is located at 25880 Elm Street in Olmsted Falls. The facility includes 44 studio units. Physical therapy, beauticians, rehab services, therapy dogs, cooking demonstrations, hospice services and respite care are also available. For more information, call 440-230-3591 or visit

Categories: Westside Smart Living