SIDNEY — Leaders at Ohio Living Dorothy Love have used good health practices as well as creativity to bring humor and fellowship to the quarantined independent residents. No cases of COVID-19 have been reported at the Ohio Living facility in Sidney.
Since March 6 nurses have been taking the temperature of all 300 employees in the morning when they report for work. Daily medications are being packaged and delivered to residents in their apartments. No employees have been laid off and the facility is actively seeking new staff.
“Quite honestly we are in a rural setting. We have no close neighbors. We put precautionary restrictions in place before they were required. No visitors are permitted, and I think this has helped protect us from the spread of the virus,” said Eric Shoemaker, director of Independent Living. “No, I don’t sense any fear in our residents. Overall, moods have remained pretty positive. We have tried to incorporate things into each day that are unique and a little fun.”
Last Tuesday Director Tricia Atwood addressed residents over the closed circuited television station outfitted in a Cincinnati Reds T-shirt and noted lunch that day had been ballpark hot dogs grilled outside. Staff and residents were encouraged to dress with attire promoting their favorite baseball team. Twice weekly she makes announcements.
According to many of the senior residents, the quarantine at Ohio Living Dorothy Love has not been a sad or scary experience, due to creative staff, good food, Christian fellowship, and an in-house television broadcast system.
“When it became necessary to close down the Oak Tree Dining room, a new plan of action was needed to feed our 67 apartment residents. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are now offered at their door, with hot coffee if desired,” said Shoemaker. “Before quarantine, apartment residents were limited to brunch and supper in the dining room, but now we serve three individual meals a day at no extra cost.”
Chef Mike Caulfield has tried to inject a little adventure to make mealtime fun as well a nutritious. A special snack item has been served once a week in the afternoon. On national pretzel day each resident was served a large warm pretzel. Other treats have been a variety of ice cream bars, candy bars, popcorn, and even Crackerjacks and root beer floats.
A Hawaiian meal was served one day. Kitchen staff delivered meals in grass skirts, leis, and tropical colored face masks made by other residents.
Caulfield came up with the idea of a Corona quarantine happy hour serving Corona beer, Qurantinis” (appletinis), and lemonade. The appletinis were served with a marshmallow on top to symbolize toilet paper shortage Residents were served an appetizer plate with shrimp, summer sausages, cheeses and crackers.. With social distancing was in place, individuals ate in the dining room one floor each day for this happy-hour hour meal.
Caulfield does say some of his suppliers have come up short on meat and other items, but the former U.S. Navy chef says he used to feed 2,000 men a day, so he is accustomed to rolling with the tide.
Chaplain Jane Madden has become a television star in her right appearing on the in-house television channel five to six days a week: Sunday sermons broadcast from Amos Chapel, Tuesday Bible studies, devotions on Wednesday mornings, a spiritual movie on Thursdays, and on Friday she caps off her week with a “Name That Hymn!” game she plays in conjunction with Activities Director Lori Puterbaugh.
Madden also calls members of her flock on the phone, prays with them over the phone, takes communion to their rooms. She also prints and posts a daily devotional for the staff. On Saturdays the facility broadcasts a Sunday service from Sidney First United Methodist Church.
Puterbaugh has come up with hundreds of activities, games, news updates, quizzes, and puzzles for residents to help with the isolation. She also leads televised games of Boggle and bingo from her station near the cameras. Residents are able pick-up game sheets and instructions from a table near the lobby.
It takes many components to make a whole. All are functioning together at Dorothy Love this spring.
Ann Rhyan is a former reporter and columnist for several upper Miami Valley newspapers. She was communications coordinator for Shelby Count Schools and is a retired English and technology teacher. Ann is a member of the Shelby County master-gardeners. She and her husband, Charles, now live in independent housing Ohio Living Dorothy Love.