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.”

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.

Pumpkin Fun!


Why bother with the mess of carving pumpkins? We prefer pumpkin decorating, using paper, glue, tape and imagination. Residents of Columbia Basin Care went wild with their gourds, creating a cast of scary and silly characters.

betty-gray-w-pumpkin pumpkin-carving-group janet-w-pumpkinpumpkin-decorated



Road Trip: Alpacas!


alpaca-babyterri-and-alpacabeautiful-day-on-the-alpaca-farm Because fresh air and an occasional change of scenery is good for body and soul, each month we fill up the Columbia Basin Care bus and head out on a mission to clear our minds and stretch our imaginations.

Recently residents enjoyed a beautiful fall day at Foothills Yarn & Fiber, a farm just off the Fruit Loop near Hood River.

There, we got up-close and personal with gentle alpacas and their babies — and enjoyed stunning views, too.