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Franciscan Ministries Introduces “Hope Rises” at Mount Alverna Village

As the world begins to recover from the pandemic and we reopen our senior living communities to visitors, we want to share with you our Hope Rises initiative.

Hope Rises shares inspirational stories from Franciscan Communities’ employees, residents and family members in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, the country seems to be held hostage by fear, confusion and uncertainty. Combine that with the contradicting opinions between the government and healthcare officials, quarantine restrictions, and reports of uncertainty from the general population, and you have what has become a perfect storm.

Franciscan Ministries sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago, has developed an initiative, inspired by our philosophy of Living Joyfully, called “Hope Rises”. Hope Rises will chronicle the quiet, untold stories of the healthcare workers and residents from our senior living communities. As stated by Judy Amiano, President and Chief Executive Officer “The purpose of Hope Rises will help bring awareness to the positive and inspirational stories from our senior living communities. It’s meant to celebrate the resilience and spirit of the human condition, where kindness, good works and compassion are what truly matters to overcome any obstacle.”

Visit Franciscan Ministries Hope Rises for all of the Ministries stories.

Here are some of our stories:

Father’s Day:

All the men at our community were given a Superman shirt, super hero cup and avengers tissues in honor of their big day; Father’s Day! Thank you to the Nursing Staff who helped make sure all of the men – were camera ready! Thanks to Melvin & Gloria for bringing our Super Hero’s in for a “safe landing” and in time for their big moment. We sure had fun and a LOT of laughs!!

Mount Alverna Residents - Father's Day

Spring Arrival:

Spring is in the air! May brought the resident of Mount Alverna Village some great weather! The staff was able to organize several groups of residents outside for programs such as reminiscing and chatting, trivia, ball toss and a little bit of gardening, which included watering some of the plants and new seedlings that were popping through the ground.

Cinco de Mayo:

The Cinco de Mayo celebration was a hit! Even though the residents could not gather in large groups, they were able to celebrate the festivities with Bingo and a Fiesta where severed margaritas, chips and salsa was served.

Life Enrichment:

The Life Enrichment Department gave the female residents a makeover extravaganza! They were given manicures, touches of makeup and styled and cut hair. Glamour Shot-style pictures, in a “photo booth”, were also taken where the residents donned special boas of their choice to complete the look. The pictures where then framed. The pictures will be handed out to the residents’ families at the start of the outdoor visits that will begin in June for Independent Living residents.

MAV Event

Mother’s Day:

Mother’s Day brought some more cheer. Each of the woman On Mother’s Day all of the women at Mount Alverna Village were given vases filled with roses, baby’s breath, cards, and chocolate tulip – if diets allowed.

MAV Story Pic MAV Story Pic MAV Story Pic


Craft Days:

May also featured many craft days! Always a welcome activity. The craft that several of the residents have really enjoyed was making Fairy Gardens. Residents first had their choice of what kind of artificial succulent plant they wanted to add and then they built from there.

Residents were given a choice of sand, stones, fairies, jewels and sea creatures just to name a few.

Mount Alverna Village Featured “These Hands” Pictures that celebrated the resident’s achievements.

these hands these hands These hands
These hands – worked as a bookkeeper. These hands – built a 26 foot sailboat. These hands – worked as a
Service Assistant at Ohio Bell
and AT&T and raised a stepson named Tom.
These hands These hands These hands
These hands – loved to type, even to this day. These hands – worked with potato chips and pretzels but now they would rather watch “cowboy” movies and go to the beauty shop. These hands – worked for the phone company, used to cross stitch and loves McDonald’s coffee as much as she likes Mickey Mouse.

Extra, Extra Read all about it!

A Safe Way To Visit!

residentsNow introducing the Chatter Box at Mount Alverna Village! Residents and families are now able to schedule safe visits in our new Chatter Boxes. Patrick Welsh, Executive Director saw the need to come up with a way residents could start to visit while still staying inside and having a protective barrier. Our maintenance team designed and built two fiberglass visiting booths adjacent to our front entrance. The booths have an intercom to assist with communication and a ceiling fan to help keep things cool. Residents don’t have to leave the building and families are not entering the building but are still able to have an in person visit. Associates residents outsidedisinfect the booth between visits. We are so happy to see loved ones reuniting!


‘Chatter Boxes’ help Mount Alverna residents, families communicate during pandemic

A concrete pad on either side of the front doors at Mount Alverna Village in Parma found a special use during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Patrick Welsh, Mount Alverna’s executive director, said there was a need to find a way that residents could visit with their loved ones while remaining safe during the ongoing health crisis. Welsh and others at Mount Alverna discussed the situation and asked members of the facility’s maintenance department to come up with a plan. They crafted two tall, Plexiglas booths that are open at the top. The structures flank the front doors and allow residents to sit inside and safely communicate with their loved ones. After tossing around ideas for a name, Welsh suggested Chatter Boxes — and it stuck. The boxes now sit on the concrete pad in front of the building.

“The pad wasn’t being used for anything,” said Beth Baszuk, who handles admissions and marketing for Mount Alverna, so the staff decided to construct the booths there.

Since they were introduced recently, Baszuk said the Chatter Boxes have been tweaked to make them more comfortable for residents to use. In addition to an intercom-type telephone, each box also has a ceiling fan.

The Chatter Boxes are large enough for one resident to sit in a chair – or wheelchair, if necessary. Their loved ones sit or stand outside and they are able to interact — to see each other and talk. Baszuk said the Chatter Boxes are scheduled by Joseph McCartney, Mount Alverna’s director of pastoral care and mission integration, for one-hour intervals. Residents use a Chatter Box for about a half-hour and then staff members clean/disinfect it before the next session begins.

A staff member accompanies the resident – who wears a cloth face mask while in transit – to the appropriate door and helps him or her settle into the Chatter Box. When the session ends, a staff member assists the resident back to his or her room.

Baszuk said the Chatter Boxes are working out well. “Residents and families love the idea,” she said. “It’s a great way for them to connect,” she said, noting one resident recently celebrated her 93rd birthday with loved ones while using one of the Chatter Boxes. Her family brought decorations and a cake and they all sang “Happy Birthday.”

Since the state banned visitors at nursing facilities in mid-March as a safety precaution during the pandemic, residents have been confined to their rooms. Meals are delivered to each room and disposable plates and flatware are used to help minimize any risk of infection, Baszuk said. Residents can watch some programs/activities on their TVs and some activities are available for those able to sit in their doorways – at a safe social distance.

Staff members work to keep them connected with their loved ones via Skype and FaceTime, but Baszuk said if a resident has vision or hearing trouble, those platforms can be difficult to use. Even though physical contact is still prohibited, the Chatter Box allows a more personal visit.

“The families and residents love it,” Baszuk said. In fact, the Chatter Boxes have been so popular Mount Alverna hopes to build a third one that will be mobile to allow greater flexibility for visits.

“We are so happy to see our residents and their loved ones uniting,” Baszuk said. “And we’re looking forward to June 8, when the governor said outside visits can begin for assisted living facilities.”

Mount Alverna can serve about 227 residents — 153 for nursing home care, 30 in assisted living and 42 in the new Ancora Memory Care Community that opened last fall. There also are independent living units on Mount Alverna’s spacious, State Road campus in Parma.

Read more from the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland

Check back later for updates! For more information about Franciscan Ministries, call +1-331-318-5200