Even on her 100th birthday, longtime Phinney resident Johnnie Greer was ready with a joke.
"It's terrible," Greer said, responding to a question about how it feels to turn 100. "Terribly good."
Greer came to Seattle in the 1930s. She lived in Ballard in the 40s and 50s before moving to Magnolia. Greer has been a resident at the Norse Home on Phinney Avenue North since 1984.
She said she credits her longevity to the two wonderful sons she raised.
Family came from as far away from Oregon to celebrate Greer's birthday May 8 with a party at the Norse Home, which Greer said was wonderful.
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Residents and employees at Ballard Care and Rehabilitation Center came together May 7 to speak our against budget cuts to nursing homes at the state and national level and to sign a petition urging Washington's congressional delegation to fight against further cuts.
Gary Weeks, president and CEO of the Washington Health Care Association, said nursing homes were hit hard in the latest legislative sessions, with $15 million being cut to Medicaid at the state level and $14.5 billion being cut to Medicare at the national level.
There are 10,200 residents in nursing homes in the state, and that number is growing, Weeks said. He said the money being cut is needed to keep a great staff, up-to-date facilities and a high-quality of life for residents.
Sabine von Prevss-Friedman, long-term care medical director at Ballard Care, said margins are not large for nursing homes – any budget cuts are cuts in staff and necessary services.
Ballard Care administrator Angie Davis called the cuts dangerous and unacceptable.
Chef Colleen Steele, award winning chocolatier is the star of Dessert Extravaganza! an event set for Sunday April, 25 at Bridge Park Retirement Community 3204 S.W. Morgan Street.
Steele, who trained in Europe, is the Head Chef at Bridge Park and is preparing an incredible array of dessert treats for the event.
"We will have used 166 pounds of Callebaut Dark Chocolate, 33 pounds of white chocolate, 360 handmade praline cups, 250 patechoux and more," Steele said.
All the ingredients come from Switzerland, from Albert Uster.
"We're going to be doing chocolates with 'transfer sheets'," Steele continued which are food grade images that can be transferred from a sheet to the outside of chocolates to give them any appearance the artist chooses. Many are wildly colorful, others are subtle sophisticated patterns. "The chocolate has to be perfectly tempered," she said, "and we've got all the avant garde patterns." Some will be decorated with 24k gold leaf, which is edible. "Gold is actually good for arthritis," Steele said. These special chocolates will be used for a "Golden Ticket" chocolate that will be hidden around the room. Those that find them will win a special prize.
The CEO of Ballard's A Helping Hand, which provides personalized care management for seniors, has been donating his time and expertise pro bono to cases that would otherwise be neglected.
Several weeks ago, Steven Jungk gave 40 to 50 hours of his time, normally charged at a rate of $100 an hour, to a case which involved an elderly woman living alone with multiple sclerosis and a 2007 hip replacement.
The woman, who Jungk said is fiercely independent and initially resisted hospitalization, was wheelchair bound and had exhausted her family support system.
A Helping Hand was notified of the woman’s case and stepped in to offer support free of charge.
She was eventually admitted to Swedish Hospital then discharged to a skilled nursing facility.
A Helping Hand is continuing to assist her with developing a power of attorney, a living will and an application for Medicaid.
Jungk said the advantage of working with A Helping Hand was the woman’s ability to truly collaborate in choosing her course of care, rather than being involuntarily admitted to a hospital, a course of action he said would have gone poorly.
Ruth Nelson, who moved to Ballard after World War II and lived in her Sunset Hill home for six decades, lived a life of adventure that took her all over the globe. But at the end of the day, she found there is simply no place like Ballard.
Nelson grew up in a family of Kansas farmers. She said life there was far different than one in Ballard.
"We have no trees in Kansas," she said. "But, it has its beauty."
Nelson was a teacher during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. She said she remembers sweeping dirt and snakes out of the classroom every morning before the students arrived.
During World War II, Nelson worked in a Denver factory making bullets. President Roosevelt personally visited the factory one day to thank the workers for their help, she said.
"They brought him in on a big flatbed," Nelson said. "There sat Roosevelt with his hat on and his cloak with his cigarette in his hand and his little dog."
After the war, Nelson headed west for adventure, settling in Ballard, she said.
When she arrived in Ballard, it was almost entirely Scandinavian, she said.
"It was a delightful village," Nelson said. "I called it a village."