Caring for our aging community

By Lynnette Hoffman


Caring for our aging community

Left to right - back row: Betty Kitchen and Tami Kitchen; Front row: caregivers Elaine Buss and Hannah Twidwell

A Place for Mom and Dad is a newer group home for Seniors here in Winlock. Betty Kitchen is the owner and with the help of her family and caregivers, she is taking care of seniors in need in her home and in their homes as well through Caregivers for Mom and Dad. Betty has come to Winlock to help aging seniors and their families.

"I have come to know and better understand that working with the older population, specifically those struggling with memory loss, then Dementia and Alzheimer's is absolutely my 'calling,' and then this must never become a job or I am in the wrong place, rather a calling from the heart to love others to share a heart of a servant's." Betty said. "Mother Teresa once said, 'The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted.'"
She continued, "As I watched the elders in my own life I became overwhelmed, I began to see that the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease in the older population was a tragedy unmatched in any other age group. This may sound 'corny' but that small voice began to say 'who will go?' Those were powerful words. With my heart full of excitement and my knees knocking, there I went."

Betty and her husband decided on Winlock, we wanted to know why. Betty stated, "My husband, Mike and I looked for maybe 3 years for a home that would be just the right place to retire into our next phase, we have invited, currently, three ladies to join us in our 'Independent Living - A Place 4 Mom and Dad' where each resident is 'Home.' Mike and I are so very happy we found our place here in Winlock. This is it, the very first look at the house and property we both knew this was it."

There are rewards with caring for seniors, Betty continued, "The smiles, the long talks about their lives and their adventures, some are so amazing, to be able to stop the world and sit with each individual and spend the time (shut-up and listen to them) then comes the tears. As I shared a passage from Mother Teresa in part 'the feeling of being unwanted' it's being alone. When each individual can feel they have purpose in life, I feel I have received 'A Blessed Reward.'

They do their best to help everyone. "I want the community to know that whatever they might be going through we are here to serve," said Betty. "We may not be able to resolve every situation that arises but we will try and help look for resources. Our best comes when we reach out to someone. We specialize in elder care and all that goes with that; we are not afraid of memory loss, Dementia or Alzheimer's, we are changing this experience in a positive way. We are teaching by example ways to respect and cherish, and even bring joy to the life of the slowly diminishing person."

They are trying to set up a non profit to help those who do not have the resources, Betty stated, "I have call after call from typically a wife right here in our community that has been unable to receive services for a husband, I have spent time going over and over their circumstances to find out as a couple they may be literally a few dollars over getting help. One local lady, crying, tells me she was willing to divorce her husband after 50 years so he could get help. We just cannot allow this to happen. Anyone that feels they are at a place to help someone else can donate to an account at Timberland Bank."

If you or someone you know needs help with a caregiver, please reach out to Betty at 360-880-8749 or via email at caregivers4mom.dad@gmail.com.