Our Way care workers provide fun, stability for residents

Our Way Home gives residents familiarity, stability during COVID-19
Our Way Home gives residents familiarity, stability during COVID-19(WSAW)
Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 6:45 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - COVID-19 lockdown was complete for the residents of Our Way Adult Family Home.  That meant no normal activities and no family visits.

“That hurt my feelings too because I really love my family,” sad resident Beth Cochran.

The residents of the facility rely on consistency in their schedules and activities.  Because they are developmentally delayed, they don’t understand why the pandemic kept them from seeing loved ones and going about daily routines.

“So a lot of it was the staff stepping up into that family role and making sure that we still continued on the best that we could for them and their lives,” said manager Annie Kleinschmidt.

The personal care workers also wanted to give them familiar activities.  Two of the favorite things for them to do are shop at big box stores and go to McDonald’s.  That’s why they came up with the “store” where residents can purchase small personal items in one of the activity rooms.

They also created a “man cave” for four male residents who all live together and a movie theater in a garage, complete with popcorn machine.

“We decided to paint our wall white and put up a curtain and get a projector and we brought in a popcorn machine that we had and we started airing movies,” Kleinschmidt said.

During the lockdown all but three of the residents contracted covid-19.  Luckily, though some were repeatedly sent to the hospital, all of them recovered.

And under impossible circumstances, the new programs kept up the spirits of both workers and residents.

“The staff really rallied around the residents, and we will continue with all of our projects.  I mean we can’t start something and then take it away from them because they really look forward to it.  Consistency is huge for them,” Kleinschmidt said.

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