Sunwest Management - Service Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

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Sunwest Management staff protects its residents and their families during the largest ice storm to hit Oklahoma. Sunwest Cares.

Welcome home, we love you

Oklahama. Eleven senior living facilities, 740 residents and the worst ice storm in the state's history. In the dead of winter have you ever lost power in your home? Did your mind begin to race to decide how you could feed your family and keep them warm? Imagine the decision-making process when your home houses 50-100 people and their average age is 80. These are the circumstances the Sunwest administrators faced beginning on Monday December 10, 2007 at 1:20 am, that's when the first phone call from an Oklahoma City property that had lost power. At 6:00 am the second call came from Cedar Ridge in Broken Arrow with the news that it, too, was without power. Then the Statesman Club in Oklahoma City called to say they had lost power to half of their facility.

What did Sunwest Management do? Our regional manager made calls to all other facilities in the grasp of this ice storm to find that all administrators were searching for generators. Then the administrators were searching for electricians to install the generators. At the same time those administrators were communicating with state regulators, the corporate home office, families of the residents and staff of the facility.

The administrators watched the temperature in their buildings. Some facilities had gas stoves so the staff cooked breakfast and made coffee. Other facilities had a gas fireplace in the living and dining room and where all the residents gathered. All residents were kept calm and warm. The administrators were in regular communication with the corporate office in Salem, Oregon.

By mid-afternoon there was still no power. The administrators began to make arrangements to move all the Memory Care residents. Hotels throughout the area were booked and many of them were without electricity. One facility had a maintenance man who had previously driven a school bus for many years. He was the best driver to take our residents to one of our facilities that had not lost services. The resident aids on duty got blankets, pillows and extra clothing for the residents. The medicine cart and all necessary medical items were loaded on the bus.

The administrator at the receiving facility, who just three days before had lost her brother, is there to receive the bus load of guests with an open door and an open heart. She did whatever it took to settle the guests for the duration of the storm.

Several administrators spent the night with their residents. Our facilities also sheltered our employees and their families who were without power. One administrator with 155 residents didn't leave her building for three days and nights. She kept her residents in the area with heat and organized parties! Our staff members didn't miss a single shift, regardless of where their residents were located and they did what needed to be done to keep their residents needs met and comfortable. This effort included emergency runs to stores that were open for more towels, shampoo and deodorant.

Our fire department came by to see if we needed help. That is when our staff discovered that the fire department had responded to 40-50 fires a night and their fire station was without power. Our staff cooked a pot of hot soup and cornbread and took it to the fire stations.

By Wednesday afternoon all residents were able to return home to warm buildings and a hot meal. When the storm had passed our residents were moved back home. There were tears of joy, as the residents got off the bus and passed through a line of hugs from staff saying "Welcome home, we love you"!

Sunwest Management worked as a team to protect our residents in the face of this natural disaster. Our facility administrators praised our home office for the support and problem-solving assistance they received. Our home office praised our administrators for their care of our residents.

Sunwest Management, Inc. is a Salem, Oregon based company founded in 1991 to provide professional management services for assisted living, retirement and memory care communities throughout North America. As a national leader in senior housing, Sunwest Management has a commitment to honor our senior residents with a comfortable, quality living experience. To contact Sunwest Management, call (503) 375-9016 or visit our web site at http://www.SunwestManagement.com

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Tim Timmons
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