A special week for special people
RIFLE – Tears well up in Ruthie Swanson’s eyes when she talks about life at the E. Dene Moore Nursing Home on East Fifth Street and how much she appreciates the staff.On Friday, the residents of the nursing home celebrated National Nursing Home Week with this year’s theme being “Treasure Our Elders.”The week-long celebration began on Mother’s Day, May 13, and runs through today. The staff coordinated a number of events throughout the week culminating with a barbecue of hamburger and hot dogs on Friday afternoon.In keeping with the theme, a treasure hunt was organized on Thursday and along with the barbecue on Friday, each resident was given a small, gold-painted “treasure” chest, decorated with faux jewels and coins and inside it contained several pieces of candy and a message attached.”The smallest act of kindness can make a lifetime of difference for anyone,” it said. “Thank you for making a difference.”Residents were also instructed to open the box to see E. Dene Moore’s greatest treasure of all – a mirror which reflected their face.
Also included in the chest was a story about a starfish.”As a young boy and girl walked along a beach at dawn, they noticed an old man ahead of them picking up starfish and tossing them into the sea,” the story reads. “Catching up with the man, the girl asked why he was doing this. The old man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun. ‘But the beach goes on for miles and there are thousands of starfish,’ exclaimed the girl. ‘How can you alone make any difference?’ The old man looked at the starfish in his hand and then tossed it safely into the waves. He turned to them, smiled and said, ‘I made a difference to that one.'”And according to Swanson, who is the youngest resident at 59, the caregivers at E. Dene Moore make a difference to them as well.”I came here in October 2004 and coming here was an emotional time, but it has been a godsend,” Swanson said. “I used to work as an aide at a nursing home and I know what they’ve been through.”Swanson moved to Rifle in 1994 from Lakewood, Colo., at the urging of family members. She became ill in June 2004 and lived in the senior housing complex before coming to the nursing home.”I’d been here a couple of times for rehabilitation, but I wanted to come here – this is home,” she said. “I wanted to visit with my friends. And they take us to Wal-Mart, out to lunch, to church and on picnics.”The staff at E. Dene Moore has made this past week especially fun for the residents with a scavenger hunt, a treasure hunt and more.
“This week has been awesome,” Swanson said. “They’ve done so much and they put a lot of work into this. They’re very, very dedicated to their jobs.”The week’s events were coordinated by activities director Tammy Fasold and her activities assistants, Alethea Stephens and Brenda King.One activity included trying to guess who a resident was by their baby picture, while another asked questions to test their knowledge of the other residents around them.One person worked for NASA when U.S. astronauts first landed on the moon; another survived the Holocaust; one worked at the Pentagon; one was good friends with Nancy Sinatra; one woman rode a Harley Davidson motorcycle in the U.S. Army and another was a model.”It was kind of a test of how well you know those around you,” Fasold said. “They loved it. They’ve had a great week.”A letter from President Bush and an honorary proclamation by Gov. Bill Ritter were also read to the residents.
“In communities across our country, nursing home physicians, nurses, staff and volunteers work hard to provide a place of comfort for senior citizens and people with disabilities,” Bush’s letter said. “By treating our senior citizens with the dignity and respect they have earned, Americans can honor the legacy and contributions of our greatest generation.”The week will end today with the showing of the movie “Treasure Island.”The E. Dene Moore Nursing Home provides 24-hour care for its residents. There are currently 54 residents, the oldest being 96.”This is where they come when they cannot take care of themselves any longer,” Fasold explained.But it seems a nice place to be.Swanson’s eyes fill with tears when she describes it.”This is the best nursing home God ever had,” she said.
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Hanging Lake will once again be taking visitors starting May 1.