XENIA — With apologies to the Five Man Electrical Band and its song “Signs:”
And the sign says due to COVID-19, guests can’t come in
So we grabbed us some markers and a poster board
And we made up our own little sign
It said “Grandma Jane, we miss you so much, glad you’re alive and doin’ fine.”
Whoa-oh-oh, signs, signs, everywhere signs.
That likely won’t be a top-100 or even top-500 Billboard hit, but it’s becoming a way of life at Legacy Village as the coronavirus has led to restrictions on residents seeing family and friends in person.
So folks have used their creativity — most centered around the theme of that 1971 No. 3 hit song — to stay in touch with their loved ones.
“We’ve had a variety,” said Steve Thorpe, executive director of Legacy Village. “Whether it be window visits as families have done, we’ve had situations where we have been able to help residences with Facetime and Skype. Residents write a message, they take a photo and email it.”
Both residents and families are writing messages for their families to see. One resident wrote that the residents are doing their part to follow Gov. Mike DeWine’s orders. That resident actually had some photos taken with DeWine when he visited the facility several weeks ago.
It’s as close as residents of the assisted-living facility can come to face-to-face visits until the pandemic passes. It keeps them as close to their regular routine as possible.
“For the residents, it helps to anchor them,” Thorpe said. “There is still some normalcy to life.”
Most of the residents, Thorpe said, need a higher level of care. A few are able to make phone calls, which also helps — especially those with dementia.
“Hearing that familiar voice, you can see that bring smile to their faces,” Thorpe said. “That’s something that I can only imagine is good for them.”
Some residents are more mobile but even they are adhering to the stay at home order.
“They’ve been staying at the facility,” Thorpe said. “They’ve been doing some walks around the building or in different parts of our campus that we have up here, which is something we are very fortunate to have.”
Residents have also been taking care of each other by calling to check in.
“Social action is very important,” said Todd Hutchins, director of public relations for National Church Residences, which operates Legacy Village. “Its a way to continue building a sense of community by coming together in new ways and caring for each other.”
Legacy also has Xenia-area chaplains stay connected with residents who have religious needs.
Meal times have become a challenge, Thorpe said, and it’s no doubt a drastic change from the norm. All residents have to eat in their rooms because of the limit on how many people can gather at once.
“There’s definitely residents that need assistance with eating,” Thorpe said. “We’ve had to bring some more staff in at different times to help with that.”
Getting enough food is becoming tricky as the demand is sometimes more than the supply.
Hutchins said many of the National Church Residences are receiving food donations from restaurants, organizations and local residents. But Thorpe said Legacy has not needed that due to a relationship with food supplier Sysco and due to having a “wonderful” chef in Robert Adamson, owner of One Bistro in Xenia.
“We’re fortunate in that situation,” Thorpe said.
That’s a good sign.