There’s so much to love about Salida Woods Assisted Living in Mentor, where residents receive hefty doses of daily TLC

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With many of the elderly population isolated in their own homes, now, maybe more than ever before, residents of Salida Woods are happy to be in an environment that’s bustling with activity to keep them from feeling disconnected.

By Mary Malik

The holidays are upon us and the residents of Salida Woods Assisted Living in Mentor plan on celebrating. In fact, they’ve been celebrating holidays, birthdays and even ordinary days these past several months, just like they always have but now with precautions in place.

Always Something to Celebrate
“Celebrations are a big part of life here,” says Senior Living Counselor Linda Uhas. “And even amidst Covid-19, we continue to celebrate with safety measures in place for residents and staff. It’s vital for our seniors to stay active and engaged, maybe now more than ever.”

Fall activities like the pumpkin spice cappuccino and sugar cookie coffee cart, Halloween decorating and crafts, and lots of outdoor activities and entertainment (weather permitting) have been keeping residents busy and safe these days.

Living with Covid-19 has been challenging for everyone, especially seniors who have not been able to see their families as frequently or as closely as they would like.

“Our staff has stepped in for the families,” says Linda. “We have the luxury of being here around the clock, responding to urgent needs, of course, but also taking the place of families in every other way. We feel privileged to do that and have taken this opportunity to slow things down and take advantage of lots of one-on-one time.”

Fall activities like the pumpkin spice cappuccino and sugar cookie coffee cart, Halloween decorating and crafts, and lots of outdoor activities and entertainment (weather permitting) have been keeping residents busy and safe these days.

“Like everyone, we’ve had to get very creative in order to keep everyone engaged, but our activities staff is up to the task,” says Linda. “The residents have really enjoyed some unique things, like creating their own beautiful fall centerpieces for their apartments and getting visits from the door-to-door coffee and cookie cart. They understand we’re all in this together and their attitudes are great.”

Welcome Families

If you or a loved one has become isolated at home, it may be time to think about assisted living.

Staying inside, staying safe, staying busy. Smile. This too shall pass. Be positive. I love you. These are the encouraging messages the residents of Salida Woods are sending to their loved ones, and to the world, when asked how they’re managing these days. Linda describes it as an atmosphere of gratitude, patience and understanding.

“Our residents really are taking it one day at a time,” says Linda. “They miss their families the most, but the good news is that families can now come inside and visit their loved ones. We’re thrilled to be able to open our doors for visits with precautions in place to continue to protect everyone.”

Certain Covid-19 protocols at Salida Woods safeguard residents and their families during in-person visits, but finally seeing the faces of loved ones without barriers is a welcome step toward normalcy for everyone.

Living with Covid-19 has been challenging for everyone, especially seniors who have not been able to see their families as frequently or as closely as they would like.

“Visits take place in designated areas with social distancing and masks still required,” says Linda. “We’re asking that just one or two visitors call and arrange for a time that’s convenient for everyone. Even children of an age where they are able to social distance, wear a mask and are accompanied by an adult are able to visit.”

The Covid-19 protocols include testing all staff members and sample testing of residents every two weeks. The greater availability and less invasive testing have allowed senior living communities to open their doors to families again, so Salida Woods is more than happy to comply with the extra testing if it means families can be reunited.

“Rapid testing is allowing residents to go home with family members for the day,” says Linda. “This is happening at a great time, with Thanksgiving just around the corner. We’ll be following all of the recommendations for testing and any other protocols as directed by the Department of Health.”

The Salida Woods Family
With many of the elderly population isolated in their own homes, now, maybe more than ever before, residents of Salida Woods are happy to be in an environment that’s bustling with activity to keep them from feeling disconnected.

“Many of our residents aren’t worried about themselves, but they do worry about friends or siblings living on their own and disconnected from family and friends,” says Linda. “Our residents have someone watching out for them, caring for them and making sure all of their needs are met. Every day, so many residents say, ‘thank goodness I’m here.’ That makes it all worth it.”

And when family can’t be here, the Salida Woods staff provides the support, and the fun. Activities staff members have been making sure residents are engaged both mentally and physically. Hallway dance parties, individual exercise sessions and many laps around the beautiful interior are keeping residents physically fit. And bingo, lots of reading and just good old-fashioned conversation are keeping them mentally fit, as well.

Certain Covid-19 protocols at Salida Woods safeguard residents and their families during in-person visits, but finally seeing the faces of loved ones without barriers is a welcome step toward normalcy for everyone.

“The staff is really enjoying the individual time with our residents,” says Linda. “We’re working together on creative ways to stay active, so we’re constantly asking for their input on what interests them. It’s resulted in some great activities, like watercolor painting, flower arranging and even foods we may not have thought about serving.”

Salida Woods is now officially celebrating everything. They used to do birthday month celebrations. Now everyone gets their actual birthday celebrated Community wide. First, it’s safer, and, second, why not?

“It makes our residents feel even more special,” says Linda. “We’re their family now more than ever. We won’t let a day go by without each of our residents feeling the love.”

Salida Woods residents participate in a full range of activities with their neighbors, or they can enjoy the privacy of their own apartment home.

Decision Time
Managing any level of care of a senior relative during the Covid-19 pandemic has forced many families to consider assisted living to ensure the health and safety of themselves or their loved one. Making the decision to transition to an assisted living community comes with questions. How do you know when it’s time? The staff at Salida Woods helps people make those decisions and understands that every person, every family, and every life experience is different.

“It’s important to focus on the individual,” says Linda. “And we work closely with the family, so we are sure we are addressing everyone’s needs. The main goal is each resident’s health and happiness, and the journey starts with answering some important questions.”

Evaluate Needs
Often the desire to stay at home can mask the daily struggles that you or a loved one is experiencing. Add a pandemic—where limited or no contact is essential—to an already precarious situation, and daily life can become unmanageable very quickly. Having an honest conversation can help evaluate whether there is enough help available on a daily basis, under any circumstance that may arise, to make staying at home an option.

Family Strain
When an aging loved one is on their own, it creates constant stress and strain—not just for that individual, but also for the family. The worry and expense of daily management of home aides and family visits, along with managing your own schedule, can become overwhelming. Salida Woods takes that worry and stress away for everyone, and visits can go back to being about family time.

Social Interaction
Gerontological research shows that the greatest factor causing functional decline in older people, other than the physical aspects of aging, is social isolation. If you or a loved one has become isolated at home, it may be time to think about assisted living. People who are still able to care for themselves physically are often so focused on getting through the day that they neglect the stimulation only social interaction can provide.

Salida Woods residents participate in a full range of activities with their neighbors, or they can enjoy the privacy of their own apartment home. Residents can also remain part of the greater Community by traveling to events and outings with the community van when appropriate.

Misguided Advice
Doctors often advise nursing care for elderly patients who aren’t managing well on their own. But help with everyday activities, like dressing, bathing, grooming, medication help, and memory care support, doesn’t require a nurse and is often just the right amount of support your loved one needs to thrive again. At Salida Woods, a full-time registered nurse is always available if needed.

Salida Woods also supports residents in need of memory care. The team notes that many to most seniors with dementia can succeed here with a customized plan of care that avoids a lockdown unit by using its unique building design features and specialized programming.

A large part of the care received at Salida Woods revolves around daily activities and year-round events and celebrations that don’t take a break, even during a pandemic. Actively engaging residents, both physically and mentally, stimulates bodies and brains. And they have a lot of fun.

“We don’t focus on what a resident is losing. We focus on what they gain here,” says Linda. “Our residents are much more active than they would be at home. They’re enjoying life again.”

Salida Woods is located at 7685 Lakeshore Blvd. in Mentor. For more information or to schedule a virtual tour, call 440-257-3866 or check the website LifeServicesAssistedLiving.com.