Letters to the Editor

Careage of Whidbey practices loving care

For the last six months my family has had a relative "in residence" at the Careage House in Coupeville. One of the family visits nearly every day because we had been told the residents often do not eat well if they are alone. At first, my wife, my mother and I went to Careage House every afternoon to assure our loved one how much we cared and to encourage her to eat a proper meal. After three months of this, we split up the routine; my wife went one day and my mother and I went the next.

We have found a number of interesting things about this facility for those who need extra care.

From what I have seen, the food is excellent. True, not every meal is to the liking of all the residents. However, when a person refuses a specific item, a choice is offered of several other types of food such as soup, sandwiches, ice cream or breakfast cereal. Each person has a card on their tray stipulating what they may or may not be served due to medical reasons or personal preferences. If a resident requests a certain type of food, such as canned peaches for example, every effort is made to satisfy this desire. I was present when a person on a limited list of foods couldn't think of something she would rather eat than the meal served. I suggested a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This met the list of foods she was allowed to have and she enjoyed the sandwich.

I have watched an attendant patiently try to feed a resident who cannot eat by him or herself. Because of the physical condition or mental state of the residents, many times this can be a nerve racking, nearly impossible task. Regardless of circumstances, the attendants and nurses remain polite, considerate and eternally cheerful, going out of their way to satisfy any request.

Also, the cook turns out homemade chili with beans that smells absolutely heavenly.

The facility is spotless. Every time I come in the front door, the first think I notice is the shining floors. The dining rooms are cleaned after every meal and the hallways and rooms always appear clean and tidy.

Great care is taken with the residents to ensure their comfort and safety. Residents who become difficult and sometimes downright physical with the nurses and attendants are always met with gentle persuasion and endless patients.

Numerous activities are planned on a weekly, monthly and annual basis for those capable of joining in; Bingo, varied table games, weekly poker games, etc. Residents are invited to social hour three times a week and tea parties every Sunday. Also, there is a garden club, outings and crafts. There are parties complete with cake and gifts to celebrate birthdays and a "Resident of the Month." Musically included persons come in to entertain the residents on a regular basis. Exercise is encouraged by all.

To sum up what I have observed at Careage House: Patience, loving care and consideration for all the residents, regardless of their medical condition, is the priority of the Careage House personnel who dedicate their lives to giving to those in need.

Richard M. Brauer

Langley

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