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For the week of November 21 - 27, 2001

  News

Blaine Manor celebrates anniversary

ĎGood things are starting to happení


By TRAVIS PURSER
Express Staff Writer

"It was a nice party," says Blaine Manor director Gail Goglia.

Blaine Manor celebrated its first year under new management last week. The home has had a rough ride, both financially and politically, since it separated from St. Lukeís Wood River Medical Center last year.

Spend even a small amount of time at Blaine Manor and you are likely to hear about the importance of maintaining a connection with the larger community. A party Thursday at the Hailey home helped with getting out the message. Express photos by David N. Seelig

County-owned and privately run by the Hailey Medical Clinic, it has defended itself from critics of the public subsidies it requires. And the Hailey facility has fought off schemes that would make it profitable, yet unable to continue caring for some of its frailest residents.

Against the odds, perhaps, Blaine Manor keeps on truckiní.

More than a hundred boosters, residents, friends and relatives gathered Thursday afternoon in the homeís dining room to revel in that fact.

Pianist Jim Watkinson regaled the crowd with an effortless medley of showtunes. Red and white wine flowed, and a colorful buffet offered a impressive array of healthy hors díoeuvres.

"It was very nice," said Golda Grove, 89, who expertly maneuvered the crowd in her wheelchair with a blanket in her lap. "I have to tell you, itís a nice place."

Grove, like other residents, was eager to talk about her long life.

Margarete Young, 82, said she volunteered 1,500 hours at Blaine Manor before becoming a resident there three years ago. Express photos by David N. Seelig

She was born in Fresno, Calif., and worked for many years at the juvenile hall in Northern Californiaís Butte County, where the Sierra and Cascade mountains meet.

"Iíve been single for over 14 years, now," she said. But about three months ago, "my son said, come on, Mother, letís go for a ride, and I ended up here. But I can take care of myself.

"My kids always say, Nana, youíre either awfully healthy or awfully good."

Margarete Young is 82. Sheís been living in Blaine Manor for three years.

"How can you really say that you like this after your home and everything, but Iím grateful to have a place to come to," she said.

And the food in general?

"You put me on the spot," she said sheepishly. Then, after careful consideration, she whispered, "It isnít gourmet."

Young worked in the hotel and bar supply business in Southern California, and then in the interior decorating business. Her husband worked in the sound department of a Hollywood film studio. She came to Idaho because she has a brother who lives in Sun Valley.

She also volunteered many hours at Blaine Manor before moving into it, she said.

"Iíve had a busy life," she said. "My husband passed away in 1970, and Iím a little proud that Iíve made it this long."

Spend even a small amount of time at Blaine Manor and you are likely to hear the word "continuum" and hear about the importance of maintaining a connection with the larger community.

Dorothy Ann Outzs, who goes by "D.A.," was her motherís connection to the larger community until recently. D.A. moved back to Hailey, her home town, from Bellevue, Wash., in 1991 after her mother broke a hip, and began spending more and more time in the home. D.A. said she has no immediate plans of moving back to Washington, even though her mother, who helped found the Blaine County Museum in 1962, died almost two years ago at 99.

"Itís very highly possible," that she herself could live at Blaine Manor one day, said D.A., 79. If there was no Blaine Manor, the only home in the county that offers skilled nursing, "then you would have to go to Twin Falls or somewhere else."

When you get so old that you canít take care of yourself, "you want to be in a place where nobody (who isnít a medical professional) has the 24-hour responsibility for you," she said. But itís still important to be close to family, too. "Older people arenít as much a part of a family as they should be."

Thatís one reason D.A., and a group of other citizens, helped form the Blaine Manor Foundation just a few months ago.

New plans are still in the brainstorming phase, but the group is hoping to play up the quality of Blaine Manor to pull in residents from outside the county, to step up fundraising activities, and maybe to contribute to a plan that would expand the home without displacing any of its current residents.

Without offering specifics, the foundationís director of development, Faus Geiger, said simply, "good things are starting to happen."

 


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.