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Thursday, January 21, 2021


Holiday parade brings cheer to Care Center

By Matt Shortall - co-editor

Kristen Woods and her horse Lady Grace (on left) were joined by Katherine Wilkinson and Bailey to bring some smiles to the faces of Care Center residents and employees watching from the windows inside.
Family members and supporters of residents of the Care Center at Sunset Lake gathered outside the facility this past Sunday, as they've done several times over the past few months. This time it was to bring some holiday cheer to all those inside.
Dressed in festive costumes and carrying signs of support, they waved to those watching from the windows inside the facility, which has been closed to visitors in order to protect residents and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We wanted to show our support for the staff and the residents,” said Andrea Billig, whose mother has been a resident at the Care Center for five years.
“My mom really didn't feel well enough to come to the window, but she knows I'm here,” Billig said. “I just don't want her to feel like she's abandoned because we haven't seen her in months.
They're not alone, even though we can't see them.”
The Care Center has been the subject of a fierce debate between those who want to keep the facility county-owned and some legislators who want to turn over administration of the facility to a private management company.
Family members of residents and employees say that COVID-19 has only added to feelings of uncertainty.
“It's been hard for the residents to be basically on lockdown, not to mention the people who come tirelessly to work and have to work multiple shifts sometimes,” said Devan Young, whose father is a resident at the facility and her sister, Crystal, is employed as a caseworker.
Lou Setren, vice president of the Family Care Council, said that Care Center staff have set twice-weekly Zoom meetings between residents and their families.
“I know my mother very much looks forward to having those conversations,” Setren said. “Every little bit helps and the residents have almost become second families to the staff members who are working here.”

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