News: Washington Veterans Home in Retsil, Wash., cares for those who served
Story by Staff Sgt. Teresa Adams
RETSIL, Wash. - For more than 100 years, the Washington Veterans Home has cared for its service members on a 31-acre bluff overlooking the Puget Sound near Port Orchard, Wash. Over time, the facility has been upgraded with new “Neighborhoods” that are designed to maximize views of the Sinclair Inlet and the facility’s Town Square, which has several support services.
The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs manages three veterans homes located in Orting, Spokane and Retsil, Wash. All three facilities have the same goal, to provide responsive medical and supportive care to veterans who can no longer provide for themselves.
The three facilities are Medicaid and Medicare certified, and provide its residents with 24-hour nursing care. The residents receive quality medical and pharmacy services along with physical and occupational therapies.
“The people who live in our home range in ages from 40 to 102,” said Tami N. Reuter, the activities director and volunteer coordinator at the Retsil home. “It’s an ever changing population as people are waiting much longer prior to seeking live-in skilled nursing care.”
Residents may require long-term care or stay short-term with the expectation of returning to their communities.
A veteran’s eligibility requirements for admission include; having served any branch of the United States Armed Forces, residing in Wash., or being the spouse or widow of an eligible veteran. Residents must have a medical need to live there.
Don Veverka, a native of Port Orchard, Wash., and the superintendent of the Restil home, says that what they do best is take care of veterans by respecting the service they provided to our country.
“We staff generously,” said Veverka. “We maximize each veteran’s benefits, either through the state, Medicare and Medicaid, or the Federal Veterans Administration.”
It isn’t the building that makes this place a home to the residents; it is the quality medical care, the volunteers that come to visit the veterans and the overall feeling of community provided to the 260 residents who reside within its walls.
Arthur Granstrom, a 96-year-old veteran who served as a mess sergeant from 1940 to 1945 during World War II, is comfortable living at the Retsil home.
“I retired, I used up all my finances and finally wound up here,” Granstrom said. “It’s home for me. Given my age, I chose it as a final place to live.”
At the home there is an overwhelming feeling of enthusiasm and care directed toward the residents. The volunteers take great pride in the care that they provide to the veterans and their spouses.
Julie M. Graham, a native of Manchester, Wash., has volunteered at the Veterans home for over 25 years.
“When I started coming here, this big beautiful building wasn’t here,” says Graham. “Very few Veterans had family visiting them and they were alone. It’s important for them to have companionship and know that people care, that‘s why I am here.”