The safety and security of a homelike environment for the holidays at the village of St. Edward in Fairlawn and in Green

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The Village of St. Edward is gearing up for a variety of faith-based and cozy holiday celebrations. Find out how your loved one can enjoy the safety and security of independent living here any time of year.

By Patricia Nugent

Like the song says, there’s no place like home for the holidays. And there’s no place like The Village of St. Edward to call home.

This month, the busy staff and residents have been decking their halls and gearing up for Christmas with activities, contests and special crafts galore.

“Putting the trees up always puts us in a festive mood for the season,” says Megan Bright, corporate director of marketing and sales at the faith-based, not-for-profit facility. “Our staff is doing everything it can to bring joy to residents’ lives. Unlike last year, this holiday season our residents can once again enjoy cherished visits with their families, which makes everything better.”

‘Twas the Month Before Christmas

There’s always a range of fun activities at The Village of St. Edward.

One of the many festive pursuits in November is the annual Tree Decorating Contest across the campus at the Fairlawn location.

“This year we’re inviting residents and their families to choose one of the 20 trees we erect and decorate it,” says Director of Resident Life Briana Cantrell. “The trees go up the day after Thanksgiving and are decorated that day, then we have a little tree-lighting ceremony that evening. Residents vote on their favorite and the winner gets a gift card. In the past, we’ve had some truly creative themes. For instance, last year my activity staff made garland out of crayons and did ornaments representing all the activities residents love to do.”

Resident Life Coordinator Beth Cook says each level of care celebrates its own Christmas party on a different day, with a fancy gourmet meal being the highlight, and Santa and a full complement of elves making an appearance.

“We’re also bringing in local pianist Duane Carlson to play some classic Christmas songs,” she adds. “It usually turns into a big singalong, which the residents love.”

The programming and activities offered at The Village of St. Edward keep seniors active, vibrant and thriving.

You’ll find similar celebrations at the Village of St. Edward Green location, according to Director of Admissions and Marketing Melissa Strainer.

“Last year we had a lot of fun with our Elf on the Shelf,” she says. “We put ‘Jimmy’ next to the hand sanitizer, of course wearing a mask and properly socially distancing himself six feet from the stuffed animal reindeer. We took pictures and posted them. The residents got a real kick out of that.”

She says they have been engaging in lots of holiday crafts, including making centerpieces, photo ornaments and gifts for their families.

“We’re in the midst of planning a very special Christmas dinner for residents,” she says. “Although families are not able to dine with us that evening, just knowing that residents can visit with them in their rooms has put everyone in a good mood.”

Here’s What Residents’ Families are Saying

The Village of St. Edward does everything it can to bring joy to its residents’ lives.

The reviews for The Village of St. Edward are in and they’re five-star. Here are just a few:

“The Village at St. Edward is surrounded by a lot of green grass, rolling hills and trees. The staff is very helpful, nice, warm and caring. They have all sorts of arts and crafts and social get-togethers as well as they offer day trips on a bus.” says Mike.

For some residents, the aspect of being a Catholic-based facility is important. Take, for instance, Yvonne, whose sister is very religious. That was an initial selling point, then, after she moved in, she fell in love with the place for more reasons. “The staff has been fantastic in helping my sister transition. They have encouraged her to take part in activities to make sure right off the bat that she knew different options that were available to her. My sister wears an alert around her neck or wrist. If she falls or anything happens, she can just alert them and that makes her feel safe and secure. They have a nice balance of keeping an eye on her, but not smothering her or limiting her or mothering her. If she needs somebody, they’re there in heartbeat.”

Holidays at The Village of St. Edward promise fun times and memories in the making.

Is It Time For Senior Living?

For many families, the holidays might be the only time of year adult children come home. That makes it the ideal juncture to evaluate your senior parents’ living situation.

“Within our three levels of care—independent, assisted living and memory care—we cater to our residents’ physical, spiritual and social needs,” says Megan Bright, corporate director of marketing and sales for The Village of St. Edward. “What we usually hear from residents once they move here is that they wish they hadn’t waited so long.”

Getting the timing right can be tricky. Megan and her staff report there are usually signs to watch for that your loved one might be ready.

“For independent care, the social aspects are paramount,” she says. “People often come here after living alone and becoming socially isolated. Maybe they just lost a spouse. Even if they have children in town, they only see them once a week or less. They might be spending most of their time sitting in front of the television. We recommend asking your parents how often they go out and engage with others.”

The Village of St. Edward offers numerous clubs, activities and programming to keep seniors active, vibrant and thriving. At mealtimes and during any given visit, you’ll find residents hanging out together in the lobby, dining areas or courtyards.

“Seniors fear losing independence,” she says, “but they find after moving here that they actually feel more independent, interacting with others while free from worrying about maintaining their home.”

For assisted living, the physical and safety concerns are at the forefront.

“You might notice your mom or dad is becoming feeble, and shouldn’t be going up and down stairs,” she says. “They could be a fall-risk, which opens the door to broken bones and hospitalizations. They also might need help with daily living tasks.”

With memory care, folks who might be showing early warning signs of dementia include things like misplacing items, having trouble solving problems or balancing their checkbook, letting their appearance slip or experiencing sudden mood swings.

Since parents can be stubbornly against moving, how you frame “the talk” is important.

“It’s a good idea to make your parent feel like they an important part of the decision-making process,” she says. “That you understand their feelings and that you’re all in this together. Once they start touring places with you and seeing how much fuller their lives could be, they’ll be more amenable to the transition.”

The faith-based, not-for-profit Village of St. Edward has three locations: Fairlawn, at 3125 Smith Road, 330-668-2828; Green, 3813 Fortuna Drive, 234-294-0010; and Wadsworth, 880 Main Street, 234-217-8735. There are no long-term contracts and residents will not be asked to leave if they run out of funds. Pets under 20 pounds are welcome. For more information, or to schedule a tour, go to VSECommunities.org.