Tuesday, February 5, 2013
***Story Published in Mountain Echo, February 5, 2013
“I lived during the Great Depression and you are seeing things nowadays just as bad.” Eva Reed is an 83 year old resident who has been in a skilled nursing facility for almost five years. She was born in 1929 in the state of Oklahoma. Eva worked as a farm laborer and was a volunteer Indian Chief for the United Lumbee Indian Tribe for 28 years. Eva raised three children and has three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. “It was hard going through the Great Depression. My mother worked for 50 cents an hour doing laundry during World War II, while I went to school and took in laundry.” Eva recalled. “It was very important to work hard and be true to your word.”
Eva has seen how things change, from the way we generate electricity to the way we take care of each other. She has found her home at Mayers Memorial Skilled Nursing Facility and is very happy being where she is. “The staff and other residents here are wonderful; I am close to my family and get visits several times a week.” Eva put in years of hard work and was committed to taking care of those around her. Now in her later years, she is in a place where she can be well taken care of…for now.
Janet Wolter was born in 1927 and will be 86 years old on February 13th. She was a school secretary for 20 years and worked alongside her husband as a cattle rancher. Janet knows what it means to work hard. She raised four children and has ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Janet, too, lived through the Great Depression and WWII. “That time shaped our lives. We learned a lot from those times. Something good always came of the tough times we went through.”
Janet feels that things have changed over the years. “We need to teach our children the value of hard work. I always felt that kids that grew up working hard (on ranches) learned a lot about responsibility.” Responsibility, something the state is neglecting when it comes to our elder community.
Janet and her husband moved into the Mayers Skilled Nursing facility almost two years ago. Her husband, Jim, passed away last February. “We had to depend on Medi-Cal to help pay our bills in the facility. We really enjoyed being here together.” Janet said the staff goes above and beyond to take care of her and the other residents are like her family. “I am impressed with all of the hard work that the staff does. They have to be very special people to do their jobs, from the housekeepers to the CEO.”
These are just two of the lives that could be affected by California’s AB97. There’s the artist that has roots that go deep into the community. I have several pieces of her work. There’s the retired teacher that taught students math with the fun game of Krypto. My husband was one of them. There’s the Pearl Harbor Survivor that was interviewed recently for the local news. There’s the mechanic, the legal secretary, the waitress, the preacher, the physical therapy aide, the postmaster, the rancher and the structural engineer. Their stories fill the walls of their rooms. Looking at pictures and into their eyes you see a lifetime of history and a person who has seen the successes and challenges of our world.
They all have a story to tell and we could all learn something from them. Their experiences leave ours with something to be desired.
Their average age is 81, but there are forty-six of them over the age of 85, including one proud 100 year old. Most of them were born in the 1920’s and 30’s. They are a generation that knew what it was like to have nothing and work for everything. They are a generation that has worked diligently their entire life. They have old-fashioned and well-grounded morals and standards. They know what it means to make a deal with a handshake. They know what it means to keep their word and take care of those around them.
They went through the Great Depression and World War II. They have lived to see the changes in culture, society and technology…not all good changes. Writing letters and sitting down for a cup of coffee is how they communicate; not emails, texting and through the internet. Somewhere in the middle of all of that, the government has forgotten their responsibility in taking care of these individuals on which our foundation is built.
This group includes ten veterans. Eight men and two women that served our country to give us the freedoms we have today.
These precious people have lived their lives and have contributed to society and have been a vital part to their respective communities. It is their time in life to be taken care of and they have found that care in a rural healthcare facility’s skilled nursing home. These are the 76 residents in the Mayers Memorial Hospital facilities in Burney and Fall River Mills. These residents and their homes are being threatened by pending cuts for Medi-Cal to healthcare facilities as determined by AB97.
The harsh reality of the state’s effort to balance a budget by saving quarters to spend dollars is going to have the largest effect on the seniors that established a home in this small healthcare setting. These residents have spent an average of 3 years in the facility. One resident has spent over 15 years in her long term care home.
The loggers, truck drivers, waitresses, bookkeepers, millworkers and many other hardworking individuals that have contributed more than their fair share to society will be the ones to pay the price because the state cannot pay their fair share.
It is important to recognize that these 76 people are very simply, at home. They have their own space, own belongings, personal decorations and pictures. They have their own schedule, their favorite food, staff member and activity. They play bingo, go to church service, get their hair done and sing songs. They watch television, read books and crochet. They are in their comfort zone. Eva says, “We do a lot to keep us occupied here. This is a nice place to be.”
They even fall in love. Anita Kuhns and Elbert Glover, both 89 years young, have found that it is never too late for love. They will be married on February 9th.
What part of this home does the government not understand? Why would it be okay to displace one of the hardest working generations? Why should this group give of themselves for a lifetime and not have society give back. They were there for us; we need to be there for them.
Eva Reed says, “If the hospital nursing home were to close, it would have great impact on our community, people would have to move away to find work and it would have a great impact on the businesses here. It would hurt our already hurting schools that took a hard hit after logging mills closed a while back. I would be forced to move hundreds of miles away and it would cost the state more in the long run to take care of me elsewhere.”
Janet feels much the same way. “There is no other place I could go that would care for me and give me the support I have here. All of my treasures are close by, the cattle ranch we worked, my kids and grandkids…I wouldn’t want to move away from them.”
To make this issue even bigger, the 76 residents at Mayers Skilled Nursing Facility are not the only ones that will be affected. There are many other facilities in the state of California facing the same fate. It is a disservice to even imagine that one of the hardest working generations left, will be put out in the cold because our government cannot get their priorities straight.
For more information see www.mayersmemorial.com
Friday, February 1, 2013
Save Long Term Care
To Sign the petition, click link below.
To Sign the petition, click link below.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Graduates - #70 - Alex "Mo" Moses and #73 - Nicco Salvador
One of my favorites things about our son being in college is that fact that we have got to meet so many great people! Our trips to Nebraska have been some of the best times I have ever had. Not only is our son in college and playing football, he has made some great friends.
Over the last three years, his friends have become like "other kids" to us. We have had the privilege of getting to know them and their families. So today, I wish I was in Nebraska watching my other sons, Alex and Nicco graduating from Midland University.
Congratulations Alex "Mo" and Nicco! As you graduate and head into your teaching careers I know you will do great. It has been a privilege to get to known you both and see your successes! Enjoy your day...you deserve it!
To their wonderful parents...you have great sons and it has been equally a blessing to meet all of you and become such great friends. To my "other sister" Wanda...well, as they say, I guess we may have been separated at birth! Hug your boy (and mine too!) Enjoy!
Friday, May 25, 2012
It's the time of year my "worry gear" kicks into overdrive. There is so much going on, especially with our young people, that I just worry. I know that worrying doesn't help...but I do it anyway.
So today I ask in earnest prayer that God will protect you in all you do
That He will guide you and comfort you in each experience, old and new.
That He opens your eyes, your heart and mind
That you will see the things He wants you to find
I pray that you know He has big plans in store
For today, tomorrow and so much more
Approach each day with care and grace
Enjoy the moments and in each thing see God's face.
You are loved beyond any measure
You are a gift and a person to treasure
I ask the God watches over you with care
Whether you are here, away or anywhere
Be safe and know that you are loved, cherished from all of us and God above.