This month’s recipient of the Mercer Savings Bank Giving Mission donation is Briarwood Village. This senior living community is owned by Health Care Facilities, Inc., which was formed by a small group of concerned individuals in 1968 who recognized the need for compassionate care for older adults.
The global pandemic has impacted senior living communities like Briarwood the hardest. Located in Coldwater, Ohio, Briarwood mainly serves residents local to the area and surrounding region. The community always prided itself on the number of events and activities it provided for residents. However, the slow creep of COVID-19 across the country and the state has made life at Briarwood very different.
“We have numerous residents at all levels of care,” says Cindy Koester, Activities Coordinator at Briarwood. Each “neighborhood” at Briarwood caters to different resident needs, including memory support, transitional care, long-term care, and assisted and independent living.
According to Koester, the changes implemented due to the pandemic have been difficult for residents. “They are now in their rooms doing independent programs, and we offer one-to-one visits,” she says. “We take our programs down the hallways and try to keep them from becoming depressed or missing their loved ones. We offer a lot of family time with FaceTime and Zoom and things like that to keep them connected with their family.”
Donations like the one from Mercer Savings are being used to supply the technology and other supplies to keep isolated residents in touch with their families. iPads in particular have been a lifeline for residents, allowing them to participate in video conferences, play games, listen to their favorite music, or read books.
One benefit of the focus on technology is that residents are learning new skills to stay connected. “Teaching the residents how to use modern technology has been very great for the residents,” says Koester. “They are starting to understand what FaceTime is and how they can connect to their families, plus how they can do games on individual iPads. We use it a lot for educational programs and teaching the residents about the wealth of information they can get on it.”
While the tools Koester uses to keep residents happy and engaged has changed, her overall mission has not. “It’s our goal to keep the residents happy and involved with their families,” Koester says. “It’s a big thing.”
Learn More About Briarwood Village
If you are seeking to assist the residents and staff at Briarwood during this difficult time, contact Cindy Koester, Activities Director at (419) 678-2311, to inquire as to how you can help.