When a resident passes away at the Arizona Pioneers’ Home, the Home typically receives a thank you letter from their family. Following are excerpts from a few of the many letters on file.
January 2011 A resident's son wrote:
To my dearest friends at the Arizona Pioneers’ Home:
I never expressed my gratitude enough to you when my mom was alive, so I hope this tells you how I feel.
To just say “thank you” for all you did for my mom and me would not even come close to what I feel when I think of you guys. From cleaning her glasses, combing her hair, clipping her nails, feeding her, and the countless other things that you did to keep her comfortable, happy, clean, healthy and dignified, I will forever be grateful. For over 14 years, you guys took care of her and were kind and compassionate to her. You were also her friend. I knew that if I couldn’t make it in to see her, she would still be taken care of. You never made me feel guilty. You didn’t just do the necessary things, but went the extra measure. You give your heart and soul to make everyone there feel not like an elderly person just waiting to die, but you give them respect and dignity. Your patience and love to her and the rest of the residents are evident in everything you say and do. I thought I knew something about compassion and love, but I think Mother Theresa could take lessons from you guys. You not only were nice to her, but you treated her sometimes (?) grumpy and demanding family just as nice. I saw it all, and I am thankful.
From the nurses and CNA’s to the kitchen personnel, to the staff who clean everything, the administrative, maintenance, and laundry workers, and the rest of the workers, I salute you all. You keep the Home a clean, safe, friendly and healthy place to live, a true “home,” a place to call their own, a place to find refuge and friendship and warmth. I know your jobs aren’t easy, but you make it seem that way. You help each other without hesitation, do your jobs with an energy that reflects the true love you have in your heart, treat your co-workers and residents with consideration and compassion.
I have never seen so many good people concentrated in one place, all with genuine smiles, friendliness and cooperation. Your sense of humor is tested daily. The ability to laugh at yourself and joke with others is one of the most endearing qualities.
Without the Home and you guys to take care of them, many of the residents would have passed a long time ago from loneliness or neglect, accidents or despair, or from just plain old sadness.
I could go on and on, but this should give you an idea of how I feel. It’s all you and you’re all great, and you have one of the most important jobs in the world. You are all friends.
This note is too short to express my true gratitude for such a long time of you guys treating my mom like your own, and putting up with my occasional short visits and eccentricities. I learned a lot by observing the goodness in all of you. Hugs to all of you. Mom would smile sweetly and just say, “thank you.”
February 2007 A resident's daughter wrote:
This letter is way over-due. Almost 7 years ago I sat for the first time with Dale and my mother in his office. Mom had been accepted into the home (she had been living with me). I thought she probably wouldn't live another year. I felt extremely guilty. I cried for 2 weeks after I left her there. My mother is happy (her kids don't visit like they should). She's made many good friends but I think most of her good friends are you. You take great care of her. You're kind and sincere. She loves you and raves about most of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
A special thanks to mom's "Shining Stars" -- Jessica (Physical Therapist) and Betty (Nurse). But she loves all of you from the maintenance crew on up! If anyone ever has doubts about putting their parents in your home, have them read this!
February 14, 2006
(Directed to Governor Janet Napolitano) My Father, a retired Arizona miner, has been a resident of the Pioneers’ Home in Prescott for the past year and a half. Last week, he died there at the age of 92.
My brother and I have found the Pioneers’ Home to be an outstanding facility for the care of elderly Arizonans. When Dad entered the home, his health was good enough that he enjoyed a great deal of independence. Since we live reasonably close to Prescott, my husband and I would visit him on a regular basis, take him out to lunch or to a store if he needed to buy something, and then return him to the Home. He was always glad to get away for an hour or two, but he was also always happy to return. He had a real comfort level there. In November, his health began to deteriorate; and he was moved to an area of the home where he could have round the clock assistance based on his needs.
My husband and I have had some experience with retirement homes over the years, mainly as a result of the elderly people in his family. We’ve been to many of them, and the experience hasn’t always been positive. Some don’t smell good; the employees seem disinterested; the food is substandard; and the residents aren’t well cared for. That is not the case at the Pioneers’ Home. The employees there really seemed to love Dad; and he wasn’t always a loveable person. We’ve never noticed offensive odors at the home. Despite the fact it is an old facility, it is unbelievably clean. The management and staff are undeniably dedicated to the care of the residents.
As an Arizona native, I am very proud of this jewel in the crown of our social services for the elderly; and we are thankful to our Arizona State Government for maintaining the Pioneers’ Home.
February 7, 2005 (Directed to Linda Fischer, Director of Nursing) We would like to commend you for the excellent management of the nursing staff at Arizona Pioneers’ Home. We know that your position entails an awesome responsibility. We would like to thank you for all that you and your staff do for the residents.
On my visits to APH, I always see a nurse and/or assistant putting forth extra effort and going out of their way to make a resident feel better about themselves or just to say a kind word or display a tender touch. This is such a rare happening in our day. Yet, it is an every day occurrence at APH.
The Home is always spotless and the residents are so fortunate to have such professional and caring nurses and CNAs to care for them.
We appreciate the continuity of care the stable staff provides to the residents. It is so comfortable to call to speak to a nurse, assistant or office staff. They know the person they are speaking with and really know the resident we are inquiring about.
It is our understanding in talking with Dad, that he is at ease and comfortable with the staff working with him at this time. We wanted you to know how deeply we appreciate you and everyone at APH. It is truly a blessing to know that we do not have to ever worry about Dad and that he is in such capable and caring hands. Thank you for your time, hard work and expertise!
March 2, 2004
Moving to the Pioneers’ Home was a dream for my father. His mother lived there until her death in 1976. He knew that he wanted to live out his years there. My mom did not share his excitement at first. She reluctantly came, but soon it became home. She fell in love with the staff and they fell in love with her. Of course that wasn’t hard to do. I know that we had mom around many extra years because of the care that she received from all of you. Even when she fell and broke her hip she was surrounded by staff that she loved so much. You were my arms, holding and comforting her. Thank you so much for being there.
When Dad first came to the Pioneers’ Home he was a grumpy man. The staff didn’t care, they loved him anyway. He enjoyed woodworking , which you so graciously accommodated. Because of this, Dad became a different man. He was happy and content. Thank you for your part in that. I will always be grateful to everyone at the Arizona Pioneers’ Home. You provided a loving, safe home for Mom and Dad. You were more than a staff to them, you were family.
Thank you for going the extra mile! We appreciate everything you did for our Mother.
May 2002 You gave my father the greatest gift of all by honoring his last wishes. Your understanding and support are truly appreciated.