To the Editor:
This is a copy of a letter sent to Joe Woodin at Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
I was horrified to read in this morning’s Vineyard Gazette that the trustees have decided to shutter the independent living unit at Windemere. I have always been reassured to think that there would be a place for my 86-year-old mother on the Island, if and when she becomes too frail to live alone. I know that there are only three residents at Wildflower Court at the moment, and I am also aware of how very arduous and difficult the process has been to get an elder relative admitted to the unit. Two friends of mine have tried. One gave up and took her mother to Falmouth instead, and the other family prevailed after about nine months of struggle. It seems needlessly difficult, especially given the empty beds at the unit.
I appreciate the technical and political tight spot that the trustees are in, trying to limit the hemorrhage of money while pressing for appropriate reimbursement. But closing the unit will leave our vulnerable Island seniors with nowhere to go that is close to their family and friends. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you how essential social contact is for the elderly.
Another perspective on this question is the homeless population on the Island. I suspect that there are people who for one reason or another are not in the system yet, but they could and should be. All of this is just to say that more beds could be filled. The Island truly values this wonderful resource. Please don’t pull the plug on the independent living unit without exploring alternatives.
Thank you very much!
Petra Lent McCarron