The Recipe for Good Health



We’ve got the recipe for good health: knowledge + nutrition.

And with our team of certified professionals, we’ve got the tools to really cook!

Jill Lindstrand, Food Service Director, recently achieved top status as a state and national Certified Dietary Manager / Certified Food Protection Professional. To earn this certification, Lindstrand completed over 250 hours in the Nutrition and Foodservice Professional Training Program before passing a comprehensive half-day exam.

With this achievement, Lindstrand has earned the highest level of professional competency in her field. Certified Dietary Manager / Certified Food Protection Professionals are nationally recognized experts at managing dietary operations and are trained and qualified in menu management, food purchase, food preparation, nutrition principles, food safety, team management, and more.

Columbia Basin Care is now cooking with double-power, offering the expertise of a Certified Dietary Manager and a Registered Dietician. Jennifer Zimmerman, RD, works closely with Lindstrand to ensure the diet and nutrition needs of each resident. She has a degree in Food and Nutrition Dietetics, and has worked with Columbia Basin for 17 years.

Meal preparation for a senior population is a complex endeavor and having seasoned professionals is critical to success. Health challenges can limit ordinary meals. Those who’ve had a stroke, for example, may have difficulty swallowing making pureed foods a necessity. Others may have salt or sugar limitations or food allergies. Not consuming adequate calories and nutrients can lead to unhealthy weight loss – a very real concern among the elderly – and put residents at greater risk for a range of health issues.

In addition, age and medication can alter the taste of food for older individuals, making it less appealing, and often more difficult to satisfy dietary desires. “For some people, food just doesn’t taste the way it used to taste,” explains Lindstrand. “We work hard to make residents happy, and keep them healthy too. “

“Combining my hands-on experience with our dietician’s knowledge reaps rewards for everyone,” says Lindstrand who has worked 20 years in the food industry, as a cook, caterer, and kitchen manager. She joined Columbia Basin Care in 2015. “With our strong team of professionals, good health is a part of every meal.”


Pretty, please


maria-manicure lee-gets-a-buff-1-web alesia-bernice-manicure-webSometimes it takes so little to lift the spirits. Our weekly, free manicures keep us looking good and feeling good. Whether it’s a buff, a polish, or just time to chat and laugh, Beauty Tuesdays brighten our days!

A Success Story



Who is that on the magazine cover?

It’s Aubree Olmstead, our executive director! The latest issue of Oregon Stater, the magazine of the Oregon State University Alumni Association, features Olmstead and her swift rise to success.

The story, “Seeking a Higher Degree of Success,” in the Spring 2017 issue, highlights Olmstead’s unique professional achievement — from college student, to intern, to executive director, in less than a year.

Olmstead grew up in Hood River and is a graduate of Oregon State University where she earned a degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Management and Policy, and a minor in Business.

osu-aubree-magazine-spread-copyShe was a just over halfway through her internship at Columbia Basin Care — the region’s only non-profit, community-owned, skilled rehabilitation and nursing facilitywhen she was offered 960 more hours of supervised training, with the understanding that she would become an administrator after completion. In May 2016, at the age of 22, she became executive director of the facility, managing 100 employees and overseeing the health and care of over 60 elderly residents.

“My roles tie directly into what I studied while at Oregon State,” she told the magazine. “I truly believe my education and degree gave me a competitive advantage and the knowledge I need to ensure I am successful as I move throughout my career.”

A strong but reserved leader, Olmstead doesn’t reach for the spotlight. It was her husband who, unbeknownst to her, contacted the magazine to share his wife’s success story.

“Over the course of eight months,” Zack Schreiner told the magazine, “she went from being an unpaid intern who had not yet received her diploma to the executive director of a facility with over 100 employees, and is responsible for the care of 50-plus residents. At this time she was only 22 years old. She attributes a lot of her success to the skills and education that she gained while at Oregon State.”

Olmstead’s advice for college students also echoes her leadership style: “Look outside your comfort zone, explore options, set goals, value your time, identify a role model or mentor and take chances, but most of all respect yourself and those around you.”

To read the story, go here or here.


Easter: Young Hearts, Able Hands


easter-eggs-bernice easter-eggs-georgeann easter-eggs paint-day-agnes-and-bernice paint-day-bunny-blue paint-day-bunny-pink tootsie-bunny paint-day-georgeEaster is for all ages!  We’ve enjoyed a full week of crafts and activities — from painting to egg decorating (with whip cream color!) to Tootsie Pop Bunnies and more.

Each of these fun and creative efforts are proof the heart is young and the hands are able. Residents enjoy the small actions that trigger memories — Remember penny candy, asks one woman. Yes, says another, and how about those Easter dresses?

And between the memories and joyful recollections, is the best part of the holiday: fresh laughter and new joy.



Furry Friends Boost Health & Happiness


wilma-with-dog_300sandra-laura-and-beagle-300A stroke left Wilma without words but a friendly dog speaks the language of a wagging tale. The best medicine, it turns out, isn’t a pill or procedure, but Bomber, Belle, Snowball and other furry friends.

Thanks to partnerships with Home at Last Humane Society and Heart of Hospice, residents of Columbia Basin Care are enjoying weekly boosts of comfort, joy and good health — in the form of visiting cats and dogs.

The nonprofit care facility, located in The Dalles, is home to over 60 senior citizens, many with acute health challenges who respond to the love and attention of a friendly animal.

Increasingly, research shows happiness is a warm puppy, just as cartoonist Charles Schulz told us years ago. Studies show as little as 15 minutes of bonding with an animal sets off a chemical chain reaction in the brain, lowering levels of the fight-or-flight hormone cortisol and increasing production of the feel-good hormone serotonin. The result: heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels immediately drop. Over the long term, pet and human interactions can lower cholesterol levels, fight depression and may even help protect against heart disease and stroke.

Using animals to offset emotional and physical problems and improve quality of life is especially helpful for seniors, who with the loss of mobility and independence commonly experience loneliness and depression.

Each week Rheva Wren, with Heart of Hospice, brings her dog, Joki the Goldendoodle, to Columbia Basin Care. The results are often profound.

“Sometimes it is a dramatic moment where someone just snuggles up to him and doesn’t want to let go,” she says. “Other times it’s a quieter moment where someone who never participates in activities reaches out to him.”

And often, she adds, it’s the caregivers who appreciate a snuggle.

emily-belle-and-gordon-5x7The pet visits also stir happy memories. For 102-year-old Gordon, a visiting Corgi recently reminded him of his beloved childhood pet, a German Shepherd. “He was a good dog,” he recalls. “I loved him.”

Columbia Basin requires pet visitors that are calm, friendly and obedient, with certification of immunizations.

And while seniors enjoy the licks and wags, they aren’t the only ones benefitting.

“We have a great time visiting with the residents,” says Geanna, a Home at Last volunteer who enjoys sharing the shelter animals. “It is so great seeing the smiles on their faces.”



Columbia Basin Care Is A ‘Success Story’


caleb-spread-1 caleb-coverFor “cooking up success,” Columbia Basin Care is prominently featured in the 2016 Annual Report for the Oregon State Rehabilitation Council.

The report documents the status of the Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Program and highlights success stories throughout the state. In a two-page magazine spread, Columbia Basin Care is lauded for its partnership with the local Youth Transition Program.

The program prepares youth with disabilities for employment or career-related education. Working with YTP, Columbia Basin Care created a special position for Caleb Weiss, 22, to work as a kitchen assistant. For over a year, Kitchen Manager Jill Lindstrand has worked closely with Caleb, offering hands-on instruction and guidance.

“The program is incredibly successful thanks to such strong support from the community and places like Columbia Basin Care,” says Yvonne Wheeler, YTP specialist for North Wasco County School District. Each time a business owner says yes to this program, she says, “they are doing more than just providing a great position. They’re giving them an opportunity that changes lives.”

Winner! Customer Experience Award



Columbia Basin Care has earned the 2017 Pinnacle Customer Experience Award, achieving a Best in Class distinction.

Serving the community for over 50 years, Columbia Basin Care places strong emphasis on meeting the needs of every resident. In achieving the Pinnacle Customer Experience Award, Columbia Basin Care has met the rigorous demand of scoring in the top 15 percent of the nation across a 12-month average. The Customer Experience Award is given to care providers who have achieved best-in-class customer satisfaction standards.

The award is granted by Pinnacle Quality Insight, a national customer satisfaction firm that regularly conducts interviews with residents of Columbia Basin Care regarding their satisfaction levels.

Every month, Columbia Basin Care reviews these survey results in order to gain a better understanding of resident needs and make improvements when necessary.

“We work hard to provide excellent care for our residents,” says Aubree Olmstead, executive director. “This award is a great affirmation of the dedication and skill of our team.”

Columbia Basin Care, located in The Dalles, is the region’s only non-profit, community-owned, skilled rehabilitation and nursing facility. CBC offers the area’s only in-house geriatric nurse practitioner, along with a team of licensed physical, occupational and speech therapists who provide comprehensive rehabilitation and restorative services.


Making Music


IN TUNE: Hardshell Harmony always draws a big crowd for its concerts.


CLASS ACT: Renowned pianist Rule Beasely joins friend and singer Lloyd Walworth.


MELODY MAKER: Tom Graf always brings his guitar, and a smile.

From a one-man show to a four-piece band, we’ve got music thrumming through our halls.

“I love music, and everyone really responds to a live performance,” says Activity Director Alesia O’Brien, who organizes the concert schedule. “It moves you. It’s soothing, celebrating, and music really connects and engages the residents.”

By providing an uplifting mood and energetic sounds, local musicians brighten our days with a range of live concerts. These programs provide an essential social component that ensures residents maintain a sense of independence, dignity — and fun!

Want to share your musical talent with our residents? We welcome musicians of all kinds and we’d like to hear from you! Call Alesia O’Brien, Activity Director, 541-296-2156.

Make Art!


bernice-painting-web john-painting-web georgeannn-painting-web danya-and-marlene-artists-webWant to stretch the mind, boost the brain, and soothe the soul?

Make art!

Columbia Basin Care holds “class” nearly every month. In these guided sessions — we call them “Paint Days” — staff and residents work together to create artful expression. It’s feel-good fun for all abilities.

Want to join us? We welcome volunteer helpers. To join in the fun, call Alesia O’Brien, Activity Director, 541-296-2156.

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.”