Given the many great eldercare options in Washington State, it's hard to choose the "Best of the Best." So I won't try. But I will give you three of my favorites, based on my 16-plus years in this field.
The following three rate an A-plus not because they're the most luxurious or have the best food or even the best location. They're excellent because they succeed at their mission: providing an abundant life for the seniors in their care, and encouraging their employees to do their best every day.
Warm Beach Senior Community, Stanwood--Started in 1967 as a ministry of the Free Methodist Church, this community has housing that ranges from very independent manufactured homes and cottages to smaller apartments, assisted living and skilled nursing. Besides the continuing care, a huge plus is the scenic setting, amidst cedars and Douglas firs, next door to Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center. Eagles fly overhead, and deer scamper across the lawns. Residents are active here, and their volunteer efforts include running a thrift shop, hosting an annual bazaar, plus visiting the sick. I visited there on the community's 45th anniversary last month, and found many employees who had worked there for well over a decade. Best of all, residents were all smiles.
Foss Home and Village--Located in North Seattle, this Lutheran-sponsored nursing home and assisted living has weathered the test of time, in operation since 1929. Foss is known for excellence and innovation. An example is Foss Home's Village, one of North Seattle's earliest assisted living programs which opened in the early 1990s. Today the organization can be proud of a rehab program that is recognized by doctors, therapists and others as one of the best around, and a volunteer program and development efforts that enrich the lives of residents. During the time I worked at Foss in 2008, my best memories were of staff and management enjoying their work. Today of 370 employees, 100 have served a decade or more. There is a fun, upbeat atmosphere at Foss, and the residents see and hear it: through jokes, smiles, and banter that make the day happier.
Providence Mount St. Vincent--West Seattle--The Sisters of Providence founded Providence Mount St. Vincent in 1924. Through the years, it has been much more than a place to care for the aged, offering nursing home and assisted living care. Their health care center was one of the first in Washington State to create smaller neighborhoods, where residents could forge friendships, celebrate birthdays and decorate the halls. Mount St. Vincent has also been at the forefront of programs including Person Directed Care, which looks at every area of nursing home life to ask, "Is this what the residents want?" Another plus about Providence Mount St. Vincent is its intergenerational program, allowing children and elders to enjoy each other every day.
Do you have experience with any of these eldercare facilities? Or do you have another favorite, and if so, tell us why?