Open Forum: Another black eye

Posted: March 29, 2014

This correspondence is to inform you, and the public, of another black eye regarding the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging (SAAA). Our Place of Clarke County, a respite center for caregivers, lost a remarkable lady last week. She was terminated from her position as a respite coordinator after working there 51/2 years, without the grace of a warning I may add.

This termination has been very difficult on this very devoted lady as she gave her heart and soul to the Alzheimer’s participants who attended this respite center. The participants will most assured be affected as the center was closed a week ago Friday, March 21, and they will have to adjust to all new personnel when the center reopens. Change can be difficult on Alzheimer’s patients.

My father attended Our Place for about four years. Dad attended twice a week, but would have gone every day if Our Place was open. He enjoyed attending so much, loved the activities, and the people. I was my father's caregiver, but I also worked full-time. Our Place was a blessing for me and him. It was the only facility like it in Clarke.

This wonderful lady (coordinator) would call me during the evening hours to check on me when she knew I was having a hard time. She also never forgot her participants who were sometimes hospitalized, as she would go and visit them on her own time.

My father passed away last year. My father’s funeral was in another state on a very cold January day. In attendance was this very special lady who had traveled on her own time to be with me and my family during this very difficult time. I will never forget that gesture.

I feel the individual(s) who instigated this termination should have considered how much this lady provided at Our Place. Most of the time she used her own funds to ensure the participants had everything they needed to play games, to make crafts, to make pizza and desserts, to provide a vegetable and flower garden etc. My father was a recipient of some fine lettuce grown in the vegetable garden.

I feel that this is an injustice to our small community and request that the individuals who instigated this termination be questioned as to why a warning discussion or memo wasn’t provided first. Maybe a meeting involving the board should be considered.

Edwina R. Crowe is a resident of Clarke County.