The residents of Symphony at Olmsted Falls have enjoyed an unprecedented shelter-in-place experience

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Undaunted by the pandemic, the team at Symphony at Olmsted Falls has unleashed a preparedness plan designed to keep residents in tune with their families. Find out how its top team of caregivers is maintaining harmony. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Patricia Nugent

Perhaps no place has been as hard hit by the pandemic as senior care facilities. And the negative impact is amplified with memory care, where residents might suffer from social isolation by being confined to their rooms.

But at Symphony at Olmsted Falls, the heroic staff has risen to the occasion to make sure folks are getting the necessary contact.

“I’m quite proud of our staff members, who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in doing one-on-one visits with residents in their suites,” says Director of Sales & Marketing Danielle Ridgeway, who notes that the day of our interview is Day 84 since the pandemic hit.

“They do puzzles, coloring books and games with them to help with gross motor skills. We do our best to fill the void of not being able to have meals together in our dining facilities. If anything, this has been a nice opportunity for us to get to know our residents even better than before.”

A big part of those visits is facilitating FaceTime visits between patients and their families and having Zoom gatherings to stay in touch. They also follow family and friends through social media platforms.

“Memory care presents unique challenges,” she explains. “Our residents often need to be prompted to eat their meals. We make sure they are continuing their routines and eating healthy meals. And many people are hard of hearing, so we have to make sure we are speaking loudly and clearly through our masks so they understand. It’s crucial to keep our residents engaged, and we’ve accomplished that.”

In addition to staff visits, the residents have enjoyed family window visits as well as entertainment from local organizations such as dancers and even a puppy parade, which people loved.

“Families have also been really creative with making signs to encourage their loved ones to hang in there,” she says. “They’ve been real troopers.”

She applauds Symphony’s senior leadership team for having a preparedness plan in place for the pandemic, and not missing a beat in adopting all the necessary guidelines and protocols that were put forth.

“Within hours, we were following the outline they had mapped out for us,” says Danielle.

Life Loop at Symphony allows families to opt into receiving photo updates on the activities their moms or dads have been taking part in each week. Life Loop has been such a success, it will continue even after the pandemic is over

Staying Connected
Danielle says as a mechanism to deal with the quarantine, they have just introduced Life Loop.

“Families opt into receiving photo updates on the activities their moms or dads have been taking part in each week,” she says. “The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. Families say they feel much more connected to their loved ones, and it even gives them topics for discussion during virtual visits.”

Life Loop has been such a success, she reports it will continue even after the pandemic is over.

Celebrating the Superheroes
To honor the staff, they threw a Superhero Day, giving them T-shirts that say, “A Superhero Works Here” and bought them a nice dinner.

Symphony at Olmsted Falls’ senior leadership had a preparedness plan in place for the pandemic, and, not missing a beat, adopted all the necessary guidelines and protocols that were put forth—without compromising resident engagement.

A Calming, Homey Environment
As soon as you walk through the doors at Symphony, you cannot help but relax. Tucked back into a quiet wooded area on Elm Street, the restful, pastoral interior décor mirrors the secluded feeling.

The facility includes 44 spacious studios.

A comprehensive host of services, from physical therapy to physicians, beauticians, rehab services, therapy dogs, cooking demonstrations and hospice are all available.

Virtual Support Group
Danielle says they serve families of residents as much as they do residents, and for years they have offered caregiver support groups.

“We saw no reason that these could not go on in light of the pandemic, so we switched them to Zoom meetings,” she says. They take place every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., and anyone is invited to join.

The group allows caregivers to meet and share their stories, questions and concerns with others, and it’s been a help for them.

“We hope families think of us as a resource for support, to let them know they are not alone in dealing with memory loss,” she says.

In the end, Danielle says there are silver linings to the quarantine.

“I cannot tell you how much I’ve enjoyed being able to make a personal connection with our residents, strengthened by the one-on-one visits,” she says.

Symphony at Olmsted Falls is located at 25880 Elm Street in Olmsted Falls. As soon as restrictions are lifted, respite care and adult day care programs will be available again. For more information, call 440-230-3591 or visit

Categories: Westside Smart Living