SouthWest Commons has risen to the challenge to keep residents happy, healthy and engaged

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The staff at SouthWest Commons has been busy discovering all kinds of new ways to engage residents, and that has often involved focusing on the hobbies they had before transitioning to assisted living

By Mary Malik

As we continue to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, the elderly and those who care for them have a unique perspective on these challenging times—and how together we’ll not only get through them, but also come out stronger on the other side. The elderly population may be at a greater risk for the disease, but we sure can learn from them when it comes to responding to life’s difficulties and discovering strengths we never knew we had.

The Covid-19 experience at SouthWest Commons in Strongsville has been less disruptive than at other assisted living communities, largely due to the fact that there have been no cases of the disease in any staff members or residents. Activities and meals in the dining room have continued, although in smaller groups practicing proper social distancing.

“Our residents still socialize with each other, which helps everyone to stay engaged,” says Cheryl McCallum, senior living counselor. “And we’re now able to allow front porch visits with residents’ families, which everyone is grateful for.”

Working in senior living communities for several years, Cheryl is taking advantage of the slower pace that Covid-19 has brought to the Community.

“Life in an assisted living community is normally fast paced with lots of activity,” says Cheryl. “With things a little slower, I have been able to spend individual time with the residents just talking and getting to know them on a more personal level. Discovering their interests and hobbies helps us to engage them in things they are interested in.”

The residents are responding to the pandemic and all of its restrictions with a lot of wisdom and quite a bit of wit.

“I’ve never had it so good in my life,” says resident Maria B. “While I am a bit restless, I enjoy every day at SouthWest Commons and am thankful to be here. I am the head gardener and I would have never held such a position at home. I am treated so special that sometimes I feel guilty.”

The hardworking staff at SouthWest Commons certainly loves to hear that. And with the warm weather, residents are not just gardening but are also walking the grounds and opening the windows to the sunshine and fresh air for that feeling of normalcy we’re all craving these days.

“I am grateful that I’ve been protected during this time,” says resident Eleanor L. “My family knows I am safe and doesn’t have to worry about me. I’m so happy to be in a pleasant place where it’s easy to meet new people and the staff is so helpful and compassionate.”

Eleanor also credits the staff for helping her to discover some new talents, like making a video for Facebook of her reading a bedtime story for children to view.

“I’ve become an internet sensation,” smiles Eleanor.

Even through the pandemic, residents are enjoying bingo, walking club and other activities where they can practice social distancing.

“I wouldn’t have any of this if I had stayed in my house,” says resident Doris B. “The pandemic has made me realize this all the more. Oh, and the food is great.”

Even in the most difficult of times, it’s the simple perspectives of those with years of life experience to make us all take a breath and understand that nothing is forever.

“God is in control,” says resident Chuck M. “He will see us through this. I am very glad I’m here where we are all taken care of.”

SouthWest Commons is located at 18090 Pearl Road in Strongsville. For more information, call 440-238-3777, check the website at, or find them on Facebook.