MIDDLEPORT — Though times right now may feel dark and unanswered questions of the future may linger, several people and organizations have been finding the brighter sides of the situation. Overbrook Rehabilitation Center in Middleport has been one of those organizations which has been keeping the positivity through this pandemic.
Heather Brown, Director of Admissions and Marketing at Overbrook, shared recently the residents were able to send out special messages to their loved ones. It was a joint idea and effort between Brown and a few of her fellow colleagues to take pictures of 50 participating residents and send out these messages to their loved ones via social media.
“We have so many family members that come to see residents, volunteers and church groups…,” said Brown. “We knew that there were many members of the community that could use the relief of knowing that their loved ones are doing fine and the residents really enjoyed being able to take part in that.”
Brown shared one of her favorite messages came from Bob and Etta Mae Hill, a couple that has been together for 72 years.
“They were high school sweethearts and can always be found together,” said Brown.
The Hills message was as follows, “We are still in love & doing great.”
Brown shared the Hills care a lot for their family and spend a good bit of time with them during visits. Bob shared with Brown that being with his wife everyday has made this situation easier for him as well as the overall atmosphere at Overbrook.
“The food, help, hospitality, everything here is wonderful. We have made so many friends between the staff and residents here. We miss our family and cannot wait to see them soon, but we feel safe and are enjoying each other’s company,” said Bob.
Along with this activity, the Overbrook staff has also aided the residents with making FaceTime calls to their family members who request it.
“Kenny, a resident here for six years now, really enjoyed FaceTiming his niece Amanda Sisson and her kids. Seeing them on the phone screen was really interesting to him and he could not quit smiling the entire time,” said Brown. “Having the ability to FaceTime Kenny has been reassuring for Amanda (Sisson), she says it is a wonderful way to still keep good communication with her uncle during the pandemic. The use of technology has really helped during the pandemic by continuing to be able to see each other and have conversation with loved ones.”
Additional activities have included a mobile ice cream truck (cart) going around the facility dropping off cold, sweet treats of choice to both the employees and the residents complete with the ice cream truck theme music, a day of celebration for National Chips & Dip Day filled with a variety of different chips and dips along with non-alcoholic margaritas to both the employees and the residents, and doorway bingo and church services for the residents. Brown shared attending their church services and participating in bingo events are two of the residents’ favorite typical activities, so finding a way to still do these activities has really pleased the residents.
“Our team has been proactive in assessing the psycho-social needs of our residents and monitoring for any changes through multidisciplinary one-on-one services, allowing residents to voice any concerns they are currently having. All departments are working collectively with any suggestions of new activities and engagement ideas,” said Brown. “The support we have received from the community has been amazing.”
Brown shared they have had families whose children have colored pictures to be passed out to the residents, other individuals have donated supplies to the facility for one-on-one room activities, many churches have provided the facility with pre-recorded sermons and hymn sings, and individuals have also donated masks to the facility.
“We are very appreciative of all the support we have received during this,” said Brown.
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Erin (Perkins) Johnson is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.