The residents of Salida Woods Assisted Living have been active and thriving in a positive environment that's keeping spirits up

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Salida Woods Assisted Living (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Mary Malik

The residents and staff at Salida Woods Assisted Living, in Mentor, admit that the Covid-19 pandemic has forced them to make some changes for everyone’s safety. But they simply refuse to let the restrictions get them down.

Residents here are used to an active lifestyle that includes socializing together, daily entertainment and excursions to activities like the symphony, parks and restaurants. With the virus precautions placing restrictions on their movements, the staff has come up with creative and safe ways of keeping residents entertained, active and engaged.

“For everyone’s safety, many of the things our residents enjoy have been curtailed or cancelled due to Covid-19,” says Linda Uhas, senior living counselor. “One good thing is that this is happening during warm weather when we can still spend time outdoors socializing while practicing social distancing.”

Many of the residents at Salida Woods, like Rosemary S., agree that even though life has changed here, they wouldn’t want to be anyplace else. (Photo taken with social distancing requirements observed.)

Rosemary S. is one resident of Salida Woods who has felt the stress of the current isolation due to Covid-19. She is known to take part in just about every activity Salida Woods has to offer and is continuing to do so, even during this pandemic.

“I look forward to all of the programming they offer here to distract me from the anxiety of what’s happening,” says Rosemary. “It’s a great relief and even with the distancing there’s still so much to take advantage of, and now some new things.”

“Unfortunately, we are unable to leave for outings to concerts, to hear speakers at the art museum and other activities I really enjoyed,” says Rosemary. “Instead, I’m doing all of the things that are available right within the building, like lots of exercise classes. I’m always trying to stay active and improve my health.”

Many of the residents at Salida Woods agree that even though life has changed here, they wouldn’t want to be anyplace else.

“There’s always a real sense of family here, but now it is felt even more,” says Linda. “The staff is working so hard to keep everyone active, entertained, and, of course, healthy. In doing so, we are spending more one-on-one time with the residents, getting to know them even better.”

Activities like gardening in the outdoor courtyard in the raised garden boxes, feeding and watering the family of a mama and her 13 ducklings and watercolor painting in the courtyard are all new aspects of daily life at Salida Woods. (Photo taken with social distancing requirements observed.)

Activities like gardening in the outdoor courtyard in the raised garden boxes, feeding and watering the family of a mama and her 13 ducklings and watercolor painting in the courtyard are all new aspects of daily life at Salida Woods.

“We’re still doing things like hallway bingo—where the residents come to their doorway and we call numbers for them—and computer-based activities,” says Linda. “But spending time with our residents one-on-one, outdoors and just having more time to talk, has really been a bonus of this unique time. We all feel lucky to have each other to get through this. And we will get through this, together.”

The staff at Salida Woods has several new protocols in place due to Covid-19 for current residents, incoming residents and all staff. Incoming residents are still being accepted and undergo testing and quarantining. Staff members wear complete personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary and are always wearing masks. And, recently, residents began enjoying social distanced outdoor visits with family, which has lifted many spirits.

Recently, Salida Woods residents began enjoying social distanced outdoor visits with family, which has lifted many spirits.

“Although everyone understands that it’s for the safety of all, it’s difficult for residents, and often even harder for families to not be able to see each other,” says Linda. “Thankfully, this has changed recently and families are enjoying these distanced visits on the beautiful front porch. There’s nothing like actually seeing that your loved one is well to calm fears.”

Another way residents and families are “seeing” each other is virtually. The staff at Salida Woods has been busy educating residents on social media and other forms of communication to keep them in touch with family.

Photo taken with social distancing requirements observed.

“We’ve had a lot of fun teaching many of our residents about Zoom, FaceTime and ways to visit with family virtually,” says Linda. “And through the computer our residents can visit other countries, tour museums, do crafts and just about anything else they can think of. It’s been a great connector to the outside world.”

Safety is always the top priority for the residents at Salida Woods. The outside world will be waiting when the time is right.

“I am looking forward to a return to normalcy,” says Rosemary. “But, for now, I’m happy to be healthy and still active here.”

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.