Hometown: South Euclid
Synagogue: The Temple-Tifereth Israel
Work: Activities director at Solon Pointe
How have you served the community during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I oversee the activities department at Solon Pointe, a 99-bed skilled nursing and longterm care facility. The goal of our department is to help residents remain engaged socially, physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually in both a group and/or an independent setting. We currently have five units: three for residents with dementia (including one for behavior concerns), one for skilled nursing and one for longterm care residents.
What has been the most challenging part?
The most challenging part of this position during the pandemic has been revamping the entire way we engage residents. During quarantine periods, residents had to remain in their rooms. Instead of group activities, we had to bring the fun to each resident individually. For example, instead of having live entertainment and cupcakes together for our monthly birthday party, the staff decorated a cart and played celebration music on a Bluetooth speaker while delivering cupcakes and punch door-to-door. Activities aides visited residents multiple times a day to provide individual activities, including music, news articles, word puzzles, chair yoga, craft projects, trivia and themed snacks. It was a challenge to keep everyone’s spirits up. For my staff and me, whatever fears or concerns we had regarding the pandemic, we had to “check them at the door” and put on a happy face. Helping residents remain calm when their anxiety was off the charts was another challenge, and the staff became experts at it. Keeping residents’ spirits up when they couldn’t be with their families was probably the most difficult part of the job.
What has been the most rewarding part?
Our department is currently facilitating family visitation. It is moving to watch residents and families reconnect in person for the first time in over a year. It’s difficult to not shed a tear during these reunions.
How can Clevelanders continue to support frontline workers?
Please know that even when you cannot be with your family member, I am here for them. Not only is it my duty, but also it is my passion.
What are you most looking forward to doing this summer in Northeast Ohio now that you are vaccinated and everything is opening up? Live theater and dance performances at Playhouse Square, the Beck Center for the Arts and Chagrin Valley Little Theatre; Cleveland Orchestra concerts at Severance Hall and Blossom Music Center; art shows.
What local restaurant are you most excited to visit?
L’Albatros in University Circle.
Meet more of Cleveland’s frontline workers at jstylemagazine.com/frontlineworkers.