Have you ever read the book "Wacky Wednesday?"
That’s sort of how 2020 felt every day — “It all began with a shoe on the wall. A shoe on the wall shouldn’t be there at all.”
In our case, it began with a plan to paint a flower on the wall at the west end of the Garden Terrace building to celebrate 50 years serving seniors in 2021.
And then the year spiraled out of control. In February, I attended an active shooter seminar. In March, news of a pandemic began to get serious. In April, I attended five COVID-19 Zoom calls. By May, we were delivering meals to the residents in their apartments. In June, we were using words like volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.
In July, we began filming the Garden Terrace 50th anniversary video but had to get super creative because of masks and social distancing. (Hard to show a tight-knit, active community when masked and 6 feet apart.) In August, we began planning our fall gala. In September, we canceled our fall Gala. In October, it looked like we could lease some ground to expand our parking lot. In November, the lease was rejected.
And then December — first case of the coronavirus in the building exactly 10 days after Thanksgiving. And so the Health Department tested everyone in our building and we had 10 positives. Now we are battling to keep it at that number as well as keep our staff and families safe.
Throw into the mix politics, the economy, record forest fires and widespread cabin fever and you have got yourself one wacky year.
But it hasn’t all been doom and gloom. Several local grants have helped pay for the extra packaging materials needed to transport meals to resident apartments. Our donors have stepped up like never before to make sure we can purchase all the personal protective gear and masks we need. Our donors have also allowed us to hire extra people to clean and sanitize our common areas. Thank you so-o-o-o much.
And earlier this year, we were able to set up a Garden Terrace Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation that will help support Garden Terrace in perpetuity.
Oh yes, we plan to be here making senior moments bright for the next 50 years, wacky or not.
Ken Neher is executive director at Garden Terrace Senior Living in Wenatchee.