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From the West Coast to the Midwest and Back with Special Care

An Iowa CNA escorts her resident to a care center in California

Michelle Van’t Hof has been a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) for over 17 years. In 2015 she became part of the caregiving team in Pheasant Run Cottage at Prairie Ridge Care Center in Orange City. Prairie Ridge Care Center – on Orange City Area Health System’s Senior Care Campus – practices “consistent staffing,” meaning that staff (nurses, CNAs, host/esses, environmental services) work solely in one of the four cottages – or cross-train to the adjoining cottage. This promotes stronger relationships between residents and staff and enhances personalized care. Jane Garnett moved to Iowa from California in 2008. Her granddaughter, Laurie Furlong, is a professor at Northwestern College in Orange City. Laurie’s mom and her husband, Pat and Mike Callagy, had transplanted themselves from southern California to Orange City and then brought Pat’s mom Jane, who moved into Landsmeer Ridge Retirement Community, also on the health system’s Senior Care Campus. “Life here in Iowa is so different due to the climate and also due to my age and physical limitations,” remarked Jane upon moving to the Midwest. I can’t do what I used to and I need to remind myself of this.  But I felt when I moved to Orange City that the people were friendly and open.” In January, 2018 Jane became a resident of Prairie Ridge Care Center and Michelle became her primary caregiver In Pheasant Run Cottage. Like for many of our seniors, Jane’s transition to a care center from a retirement community was an adjustment. “The most difficult thing about being in a care center is losing my independence over time, missing the freedom to go and do what I want to do such as drive my car and go where I want to go,” she recalls. Over time Jane and Michelle built a strong relationship, enjoying each other’s company.  Jane said, “Michelle is always pleasant and so helpful!” Michelle commented, “Our conversations range from hilarious, to interesting, to some that are very thought provoking. I have learned –  by caring for her – to enjoy life every day. To go with the flow. And, to love your family!” Sadly, Jane’s daughter Pat passed away in the winter of 2019. And after the death of his wife, Jane’s son-in-law Mike moved back to California, where he has located a care center for Jane.  On November 17, 2020, Michelle will fly with Jane to California and pass her care over to the hands of the staff at The Point at Summit Hills in Bakersfield. When asked how it feels to think of handing over Jane’s care, Michelle responded, “I am nervous to have someone else care for her but I am happy for her that she is moving back to California to her son-in-law whom she misses so much.” When asked what she’ll miss about living at Prairie Ridge, Jane replied, “The good care I have received and the really nice people here.”