Residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia are rediscovering the joys of living at Symphony at Olmsted Falls

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The dedicated staff members at Symphony at Olmsted Falls include, from left to right: Director of Sales and Marketing Danielle Ridgeway, Executive Director Christine Grude, Maintenance Department Joe Yannerella, Patty Bodnar, Tammy Miller, LPN, Chef Stephanie Redman and Becky Reed. (Photography: Felicia Vargo)

By Patricia Nugent

With doors opening once again to family visits for the first time in over a year, Symphony at Olmsted Falls is a joyous place to be.

“To see the family members hug their loved ones for the first time in so long is pretty special,” says Director of Sales and Marketing Danielle Ridgeway. “There has been no shortage of tears with all these reunions.”

With the CDC restrictions loosening, Danielle says they are enjoying venturing out again, too, taking field trips to parks, and for ice cream and pizza.

“Even the return to communal dining is a special treat for our residents who are fully vaccinated,” she says. “The return to normalcy feels wonderful. I couldn’t credit our staff enough for their willingness to pivot and adapt throughout the pandemic. They have big hearts and their support of residents to soldier through it has been inspiring.”

Coming Alive in the Courtyard
The charming interior courtyard at Symphony is already a hot spot this spring. Joe Yannerella in maintenance has earned quite the reputation for his green thumb, and has already planted garden beds full of flowers, herbs and veggies.

“One of our newer residents grew up on an Amish farm and is a big help to Joe,” says Danielle. “We can’t wait to tap into the bountiful plants for our recipes and meals.”

Around the World in 365 Days

In the spirit of adventure, this year Symphony residents will engage in a year-long program of globe-trotting via It’s Never 2 Late Technology. Each month they will receive another stamp on their passports from a different country.

In the spirit of adventure, the activities staff has planned a year-long program of globe-trotting for its residents. Each month they will receive another stamp on their passports from a different country. In May, they are exploring Mexico, and in June, they’ll “pack their bags” and head off to a virtual trip to Italy.

“The activity is being run through the iN2L It’s Never 2 Late Technology interactive program,” says Danielle Ridgeway. “It helps us engage residents in cognitive, sensory and tactile ways, and facilitates bringing the world into our little community. We explore the fascinating history and attributes of each country, along with the native food. Our residents are having a ball.”

Jenny, a resident at Symphony at Olmsted and her husband, Jim

Jenny D.’s journey with Alzheimer’s began nine years ago, when her husband, Jim, started noticing she was burning things on the stove and leaving the oven on.

As the need for her care level grew, Jim was always right there by her side. Together they have three children, six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Last month was their birthday month, and they had 87 (hers) and 86 (his) candles on their cakes.

In 2017, Jenny joined the adult day care program at Symphony at Olmsted on Mondays, so Jim could play a round of golf and catch up with errands and household duties, such as shopping and mowing the lawn.

But after Jenny had wandered away from the home a few times on her bike and wound up on Bagley Road, Jim became stressed out and wasn’t sleeping. He knew it was time for more care, so he took her in for a respite care stay in November of 2019, and then she transitioned to a full-time resident.

“Jenny was already so comfortable with the staff and other residents, I knew it would be a good place for her,” he says. “The people who work here always knew her name and were waiting for her on Monday mornings. She was happy when I dropped her off and picked her up. When the pandemic hit, the staff did everything they could, with Becky setting up FaceTime calls with us at night so I could see her.”

This month, as they celebrate their 66th wedding anniversary on May 28, Jim says he’s happy she’s in a place she thinks of as home.

“I visit her several times per week, and she is happy most of the time, always my laughing, chipper girl,” he says.

Respite Care
With summer vacations on the horizon, Danielle says they are excited to open up the facility to respite care once again, with a two-week minimum stay.

“Over the years, many of our residents started out here in respite care,” she says. “There’s nothing like spending a few weeks here, joining other residents during meals and activities and getting to know our staff to get a good feel for us. If your loved one is already comfortable with the environment, that’ll make the ultimate transition that much easier.”

Symphony at Olmsted Falls conducted vaccination clinics for its residents and staff members making the building one of the safest places to be.

Gracious, Spacious, Welcoming
From the rocking chairs on the wraparound porch to the tree-lined street it’s nestled on just steps from historic downtown Olmsted Falls, the feeling at Symphony says, “come in and stay awhile.”

Residents live in 44 spacious and beautifully appointed studio apartments. A host of amenities includes physical therapy, beauticians, rehab services, therapy dogs and cooking demonstrations. Hospice is also available.

Symphony at Olmsted Falls is located at 25880 Elm Street in Olmsted Falls. Call or schedule a virtual tour. For more information, call 440-235-2750, or visit

Categories: Westside Smart Living