The sun shined brightly as Ridgemere Senior Living residents cried tears of joy on Sunday after watching more than 60 people come together to honor the facility’s mothers.
“It was such an honor to celebrate our Ridgemere mothers,” Amy Roberts, the center’s community liaison, told the Log Cabin Democrat. “Mother’s Day was so different this year due to all of the COVID-19 protocols that we have in place. Everyone thought the parade was the perfect way to celebrate. It was definitely a blessing to me to see our mothers here at Ridgemere honored in a unique way. I will always remember Mother’s Day 2020.”
Assisted Living Lifestyle Coordinator Elizabeth Molica said she was inspired to organize the parade because she knew Ridgemere residents would not be able to celebrate Mother’s Day 2020 the same as they have in years passed.
“A parade was the best idea to satisfy restrictions and still bring joy to the hearts of the mothers at Ridgemere,” she said, adding that the parade brought happiness to more than just the mothers at the center. “The parade, however, was enjoyed by all of those who live and work at Ridgemere senior Living.”
Hosting the parade was a way to make all the residents, especially the mothers, feel special during the novel coronavirus pandemic, Roberts said.
Because restrictions have been imposed for several weeks, allowing the mothers housed at Ridgemere was a safe way to interact with other residents and see their family, Ridgemere Executive Director Temeka Ramsey said.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has “forced us to think outside the box,” the facility’s executive director said the restrictions imposed to keep residents safe has brought the residents and staff closer.
“The parade was so significant because not only did it encourage and celebrate the moms who live [here], it was a little bit of sunshine for every person involved – men and women alike,” Ramsey told the Log Cabin. “It gave all of our elders the opportunity to get outside, experience the sunshine and to also see members of the community they haven’t seen in weeks. It also created a real sense of community during a time where everything social is done in isolation.”
Isolation can affect senior residents drastically, Ramsey said, noting that the Mother’s Day parade helped revamp morale at Ridgemere.
“Social isolation and depression run rampant among the senior population and now that we have been in quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic for more than six weeks, people are really starting to feel the impact of this disease even though our facility has remained COVID-19 free,” she said. “We leaned heavily on our lifestyle coordinator to determine the best way to bring the sunshine back into this place and into the hearts of our elders, and this is what she decided upon. It was phenomenal.”
The event featured more about 60 of the residents’ family members along with Ridgemere staff.
As 25 vehicles decorated with messages for mothers made its way across the facility’s grounds, many cried tears of joy, staff members said.
“So many of our residents are mothers and what a better way to celebrate them with a parade honoring these mothers,” Roberts said. “We wanted to make each mother feel special for the day in a unique way.”
The center’s therapy dog, Devlyn, also participated in the event.
Organizing the event was well worth the effort, Molica said, adding that many of the residents have missed their families and the parade allowed them to wave to their families as they were recognized on Mother’s Day.
Memory Care Lifestyle Coordinator Elisa Armstrong said she loved watching the residents enjoy watching the parade while spending time outside.
“The residents were so happy to be outside and to be entertained by the parade,” she said. “The laughter and smiles were worth every effort.”
Chloe Kirkland, a residential care assistant, said it was clear the residents enjoyed the event.
“You could see the excitement on their faces from not having seen their families in so long,” she said.
Though the event was different from previous celebrations, staff members said they will forever remember the 2020 Mother’s Day celebration at Ridgemere Senior Living.
“COVID-19 has forced us to think outside the box. It has caused us to see each other’s humanity in ways we may have ignored in the past, and today we realize that we really are all in this together,” Ramsey said. “It wasn’t what we were used to, but in some ways, it was better!”