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Families of assisted living residents in Anchorage organize celebration for workers

Toni Dunbar (right) waves and holds a "Thank You" sign at Aspen Creek Senior Living. Dunbar's mother lives in Aspen Creek. (Anne Raup / ADN)

Nearly a dozen family members of Aspen Creek Senior Living residents in Anchorage gathered Wednesday to say thank you to staff members for caring for their loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic. Staff members, including frontline caregivers, have gone to great lengths to keep residents safe while managing their own personal life disruptions — including single parents struggling to figure out child care — during the pandemic.

“We just can’t have any risks,” said Beth Rhoden, executive director. “The staff — they have been champs.”

“I was here every day visiting my mom,” said Mary Brewer. “Because I could be. Now they are hugging her for me. And it’s really hard.” Brewer’s mom, who is 94, is a resident of the center.

Aspen Creek employee Tim Pirot talks with Mary Brewer at Aspen Creek Senior Living. Brewer's mother, Evelyn, lives in Aspen Creek. (Anne Raup / ADN)

Richard Tweet’s mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, is a resident of the home. He and his wife, Michelle McCarten, decided to organize an appreciation for the staff because of what he described as their heroic work caring for residents in the high-risk environment of an assisted living home while managing the stresses of the pandemic in their own lives. “We just thought they ought to have some recognition for what they’re doing and that’s kind of why we’re here,” he said. “It’s all about them.”

Pheng Scott takes a photo of caretakers and other staff at the Aspen Creek Senior Living facility Wednesday. (Anne Raup / ADN)
Beth Rhoden, executive director at Aspen Creek Senior Living is moved to tears when family members of people who live there brought a banner and other thank you signs to celebrate the staff. (Anne Raup / ADN)

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