October 25, 2019
Yesterday we broke ground on VCC’s new memory support “neighborhood.” About 40 people attended, including many passionate supporters. It was a happy day for all involved because it marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in VCC’s history.
Why is this an important milestone? Because–from assisted living and respite care to memory support–VCC can now provide a better continuum of care with a wide range of services to meet the diverse needs of the island’s fastest growing population: people over 65. It’s a new model, one that allows us to customize care for individual residents as they age. What’s different than before? When we closed our skilled nursing unit last summer, we simultaneously acquired a new license that allows us to provide many of the same services as skilled nursing, as well as some we were not providing before. This “heavier care” is available no matter where residents reside, either in assisted living or memory support. Working with families and outside support services, we can fill gaps, like physical therapy and hospice, so that residents can live out their lives here.
The memory support neighborhood–a renovation of VCC’s old skilled nursing wing–is scheduled to open early in 2020. We call it a neighborhood because it’s part of our community which includes both assisted living and memory support. There are already five people on the wait list for memory support, and we haven’t even started marketing it yet! Funded in large part by generous donations from Vashon residents, the renovated wing will be bright and homey—with 16 comfortable studio apartments, cozy communal spaces (see images above), and a lovely garden space—for people who struggle with significant memory loss. Memory support is different than assisted living in that it focuses on each resident in the moment as their attentions demand. With a smaller ratio of residents to nursing assistants, residents will get individualized attention from caregivers.
And there’s more good news coming down the pike. In November we will join Vashon Maury Land Trust to celebrate the new All Ages trail located in the meadow adjacent to VCC and the Shinglemill Trailhead off 156th St. This compact, flat trail will be accessible for wheelchairs, walkers and strollers so that explorers from one to 100-plus can enjoy the natural surroundings. We’ll take advantage of the celebration that day to also invite volunteers for a pre-winter grounds cleanup at VCC. Stay tuned for more information on that and other exciting developments at VCC.
With gratitude for our residents and this community,
Anne Atwell is the community relations and development director at VCC. A Vashonite for 20 years, Anne is proud to say that her first non-profit volunteer board experience was on that of the Vashon Community Care Center way back in the late 90’s. She is so pleased to be coming full circle to work again for VCC and its wonderful residents.