From their very first visit, Otterbein independent living residents Charlie and Kathleen F. knew that Otterbein Cridersville was right for them. The intimate, rural setting closely resembled their hometown of Botkins, Ohio, and the amenities and activities available were complementary to their tastes and hobbies.
One of their favorite pastimes at Otterbein was Thursday night live entertainment. They enjoyed dinner together while taking in the sounds of 1940s Big Band-style musicians playing the classics.
That was in pre-pandemic times. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, senior living facilities across the country had no choice but to shutter virtually all in-person recreational programming for residents, and Otterbein was no exception.
But despite living through unprecedented challenges, Charlie and Kathleen are still thankful for the silver linings they have found to get them through this time.
Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine
Pandemic or not, Otterbein SeniorLife’s top priority has always been the health and safety of its residents. That’s why administering the COVID-19 vaccine to both partners and residents is at the top of the list.
Partners were the first to receive the vaccine, and as independent living residents, Charlie and Kathleen were some of the first elders to receive the vaccine.
Charlie was particularly impressed by the ease of service when it came to administering the shot. There was no waiting, no line, and no hassle.
“They had that thing worked out where it was slick as greased lightning,” he said.
Coming & Going
As independent living residents, Charlie and Kathleen are free to come and go from their apartment as they please, and in the middle of a pandemic, this benefit has been more essential than ever to their mental well-being.
“We’re prone to taking a drive down through Shelby and Auglaize County and driving down 75,” he said. “We visit different places, areas around Indian Lake or the other way to Fort Loramie Lake, and we just like to drive and enjoy the scenery.”
Taking Advantage of On-Site Services
Another valuable convenience for Charlie and Kathleen is that they have everything they need to be safe, secure, and cared for -- all directly accessible right on campus.
Otterbein’s intercom system ensures that Charlie and Kathleen have a direct line to staff in the event of an emergency, and Otterbein’s prompt medical assistance provides extra reassurance. In addition, the on-site rehabilitation center is a secure environment designed to help residents get back on their feet after an illness, injury, or hospital visit. Otterbein also provides any transportation assistance they may need, such as powered wheelchairs.
For more basic needs, Otterbein delivers meals to their door every day, and they can also order meals made to order at the on-site cafeteria.
Although most of their children and grandchildren live far away, Charlie and Kathleen stay connected with them frequently through phone calls, and their youngest, who lives about an hour away, checks in with them weekly to make sure their needs are met. “We have good communication,” said Charlie.
Charlie and Kathleen are also thankful for each other’s company every day. After being married for more than 50 years and working through many life challenges, facing the pandemic -- and all the changes that have come along with it -- together has made all the difference.
The Next Best Thing
Charlie and Kathleen certainly miss the excitement of their pre-pandemic days at Otterbein, but they find solace in the fact that they are in the best place they can be. It’s evident how much the partners care about each resident and want to help them stay as healthy as possible.
“They're making an effort to take care of us the best they can and get us through this,” Charlie said.