Therapist Earns Expert Certification



Lucy Dahl, a Physical Therapist based at Columbia Basin Care, recently earned a rare distinction: Certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults. She’s one of just 1,000 physical therapists in the nation to earn this credential from the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy.

The process to attain the credential required completion of intensive and interactive education, participation in supervised and mentored skills development, three written exams, and one practical exam.

Dahl holds undergraduate degrees in Exercise Physiology and Psychology from Hope College in Michigan, and a doctorate in Physical Therapy from Temple University in Pennsylvania. She is employed by Consonus Healthcare, which partners with Columbia Basin Care to offer a team of highly skilled and licensed Physical, Speech and Occupational therapists.

Dahl blends patience with persistence.

“When patients say ‘I’m too old to exercise,’ that’s not true,” she says. “Whether it’s aerobic, balance or resistance training, it’s important to understand how to find a balance in how much you can push while still be safe. In reality, at any age you will get some gains if you train at an appropriate level.”

Giving Thanks


WITH LOVE: Youngsters from Head Start visit each week, bringing us great joy.


SHARING: Young and old get to know each other.


TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS: A hug a day keeps the blues away.

In this season of thanks, we are grateful for visitors who brighten our days. We appreciate the dedicated volunters who entertain us with music, help us with bingo games, and breeze in with flowers and good cheer.

Thank you for giving of your time and your heart. Thank you for caring.


Hello “Grandpas and Grandmas”!


delores-and-aubree-beading-weblaura-w-andrew-and-santiago-webA sudden burst of giggles and chatter fills the hall. At Columbia Basin Care, the elderly residents perk up with anticipation as youngsters rush in to greet the “grandpas and grandmas.”

Columbia Basin Care has partnered with the local Head Start preschool program to encourage socialization across generations. Each week youngsters join residents for arts, crafts, hugs and hellos. These visits from children, ages 3 to 5, brighten the day for the elderly residents.

“They love coming to visit,” Misty Ferres, Head Start teacher, says as smiles and hugs are shared.  “This is a great opportunity for the kids to interact with the community. It makes the kids happy and the grandpas and grandmas happy.”

Columbia Basin Care, located in The Dalles, is the region’s only community-owned, not-for-profit skilled nursing facility. Founded in 1964, Columbia Basin Care is home to about 60 residents and employs over 80 people. Head Start is a national program formed in 1965 to provide early childhood education, health and nutrition to low-income children. The local program is managed by the Mid-Columbia Children’s Council.

georgeann-with-evelyn-left-and-america-web“Everyone loves the kids,” says Alesia O’Brien, Columbia Basin’s activity director. She looks for ways to entertain and engage residents, many of whom rarely see family or friends. “The children are adorable, and the residents are excited to be around the preschoolers and their energy.”

By 2030, one in every five people will be 65 or older, according to the U.S. Administration on Aging. With the changing demographic, sociologists and psychologists note that interactions between young and old are more important than ever.  Much is to be gained from intergenerational interaction, they say, most notably a decrease in loneliness among the elderly and an increase in empathy among youngsters.

Boredom and loneliness is a challenge in any long-term care facility, particularly if residents are frail, have limited physical ability, and require significant assistance. Numerous studies have linked social interaction with decreased loneliness, delayed mental decline, and lower blood pressure in the elderly. Socializing across generations has also been shown to boost mood and increase conversation among older adults.

In turn, research shows children who have early contact with older people are less likely to have a negative view of the elderly. Intergenerational interactions also enhance children’s social and personal development.

At Columbia Basin Care the weekly visits bring happy noise and activity. “They kids love beading and coloring,” notes Ferres, “and looking for Skippy (the house cat).”

Betty Blackwell, 90, is all smiles and awe. “Well, they’re cute!” she says of the swarm of youngsters, and a moment later young J’Haylee leans in for a hug.


An Apple Bounty


FIRST CHOICE: Bernice rediscovered the joy of eating apples.


APPLE PICKERS: Georgann assists Jill, Kitchen Manager, in picking apples for a pie.


ONWARD! Ready for adventure.


ON BOARD: Residents and staff join in the fun.

“I never knew there were so many kinds of apples,” Bernice said as she surveyed the bounty at Kiyokawa Family Orchards in Parkdale.

Residents recently took a field trip to the 105 year-old family-owned and operated farm that offers over 100 different varieties of apples and pears. Bernice was delighted to take home a “banana-apple” — a fruit with a mild crunch that’s easy to digest. “It was so good! I hadn’t had one in years.”

Meanwhile our Dietary Kitchen Manager, Jill, was thrilled to gather apples that she turned into apple pie for residents to enjoy during the weekly Happy Hour.