Loss of Assisted Living a bad deal for everyone

I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more comments on this page in the coming weeks, but the closing of the NVH Assisted Living facility in Tonasket is going to be hard on all of us.

But mostly it will be hard on residents as they search, hopefully with the aid of family and friends, for a new place to live. It will also be hard on folks who are nearing the age when they’d like to move from a big home with lots to take care of to a place like the assisted living, which for many simplifies things. Back when the assisted living was still in the planning stages, that’s how it was sold to the people. Assisted living was going to be part of a transition from being on ones own, to being where some care and help was available, but one could still maintain most of their independence. For some it was a way to stay out of the nursing home, especially for those who did not need that level of 24-hour care.

It might be too late to play the blame game, but it took many of us by surprise to learn that apparently the assisted living never did break even. It seems like North Valley Hospital District has been going from one crisis or another almost as far back as the time it was St. Martin’s Hospital and still run by the Catholic sisters.

The warrants need to be paid down and we can’t continue to run any division of the hospital district at a loss, but promises that were made to the voters who approved funding for the various projects over the years apparently take a back seat to what is delivered. We voted to fund an assisted living facility, now it’s going away. We voted for a renovated hospital with new, larger rooms and better emergency rooms, but also with a new surgery. We’re still waiting for that new surgery – from personal experience I can tell you the surgery still in use is reminiscent of, well pick an era – the forties, fifties, maybe the 1930s.

I guess no miracle is going to save the Assisted Living. Serving on the Oroville Housing Authority board I can say we are working on trying to build assisted living using the Green House concept. These are homes for six residents that are easier to finance and actually seem more homey than a big facility like the one in Tonasket. There are two in the Methow and when we toured them they were talking about building a third. That would be room for 18 residents. The Oroville Housing Authority already has the land they would like to use and is investigating financing. To work though, we need a combination of private and public pay residents which the two homes in the Methow don’t seem to have a problem finding. This doesn’t do anything to help North Valley’s displaced right now, but we are working for a future where our elders, those that have contributed so much to our communities, can live without the threat of finding themselves homeless.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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