Never before has National Assisted Living Week looked so strikingly different than it did recently at The Bridge at Cherry Hill in Johnston.
The theme, as sales and community relations director Jen Burns noted, was “Caring is Essential,” and due to restrictions resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, “we obviously had to do things a little differently than we usually do.”
Despite the rigid rules set down statewide in regards to social distancing and countless health concerns, residents at the award-winning assisted living/retirement center enjoyed seven days of exciting events that began with the annual Grandparents Day Bunch and ended with a Saturday matinee of Patch Adams.
Throughout the week, the theme “Caring is Essential” – which is present every day under the expert leadership of Executive Maryann Grace and her super staff – surfaced in many different and heart-warming ways during NALW.
Thursday, though, as Burns said with a smile on her face, “was an emotional and heartwarming day.”
“It had been so long since our residents and families had the opportunity to hug each other, we wanted to make that happen because sometimes we often forget the importance of a hug and with safety precautions in place everyone was thrilled,” Burns said.
Family members were asked to schedule an appointment to come and hug their loved one in what Burns called “our Cuddle Curtain” – a protective plastic curtain – while wearing their masks and special gloves that went up to their shoulders and as Burns related, “I am so fortunate to experience moments like this with our resident and their families.”
Even the Grandparents Day Brunch took on a new look and featured entertainment on the outdoor patio, where the weather was perfect.
On Tuesday, the residents worked on a special project for first responders from the Johnston Police and Fire departments. On Wednesday, as Burns noted, “we celebrated our dedicated staff and gave out survival bags and had the Kona Ice Truck for the residents.”
Friday was a day of decorating the “Party Bus” and some residents delivering handmade hearts and cards to the JPD and all four fire stations in Johnston.
“The residents had so much fun driving around town and thanking our first responders for keeping them safe,” Burns went on. “We even had a day when we took some residents to [Johnston War] Memorial Park so they could get their steps in for our Walk Across America program.”