I moved to the Peninsula about a year and half ago. I am a retired nurse of 38 years, and came here to be with my daughter after her husband suffered a stroke. First of all, let me say I know this is a rural area, so the medical care is not always adequate, and people are forced to travel to get the help that is needed.

My greatest concern is for the elderly living in this community who seem to be forgotten and very few people who care. I am speaking about health care facilities that are so needed. I know that Golden Sands is here, and it’s a wonderful place for seniors, but not all people can afford to be there — and in this type of facility you can only be there if you can afford it, and if you meet the criteria of being able to mostly care for yourself.

At one time there were two local nursing facilities for people. They were both turned into rehab centers for drug and alcohol treatments. (One of them closed down a short time ago.) I am not sure of the statistics of the success of these places, but from what I see, most patients return to their drug use.

I am not opposed to helping these people, but maybe a better system is needed. Meantime, we have the elderly who need a place to go when there is no family to help.

Yes, there are care agencies who send caregivers but again it becomes a matter of their income as to how many hours of help they receive. Even just with Social Security, the only income for many, they still may be over the amount to get more than a few hours a week of help.

The closest nursing home is in Raymond and I would not recommend it, based on the personal experience of a family member. Needless to say, I feel really bad for anyone to have to be there. But again, what is the choice for people here unless they go to Longview or Portland?

It seems like a very sad thing to me for most of these seniors who have lived here most all of their life. They helped to build up this community and are now totally forgotten. I wonder how many are alone in their homes, maybe needing care themselves or having to care for a spouse without help. Sometimes they have no children or their children live too far away.

There could be a lot of different scenarios but the bottom line is: Why doesn't the city council step up and start taking notice? Were it not for a lot of these seniors, you probably wouldn't have a town.

I assume that having drug rehab gets a bigger grant from the state as opposed to health care companies being paid by Social Security and Medicaid. I don't know the reasons why there are no nursing facilities here, but I do see that the most interest is in trying to rehabilitate the younger generation so they might be productive individuals in society. I hope that will work, but so far I don’t think it is being too successful. Remember — the seniors are the ones who have already been productive individuals that have contributed their part.

I appreciate the many kind people I’ve met here, and there are some wonderful seniors here as well as some really good young people that work hard trying to raise their families. My prayers for this little community is that the seniors, as well as the young people that really try to find work, will be given as much help and encouragement on changing their lifestyle — as much as those who don't want to change.

JOANN VAWTER

Long Beach

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