After a tumultuous time at another facility, Heather Bittner has nothing but gratitude that she discovered Birchwood Care Center for her 76-year-old mother, Carol.
Heather’s journey to find the perfect situation started after some ER visits. Due to insurance requirements, Carol was mandated to a nearby facility for post-hospital care.
“Mom was there for 16 days which were absolutely miserable and I knew immediately that she was not staying there as they did not care about her in the least,” reveals Heather. “At that point I reached out to Hillandale and started working with Kelli Gescuk to see about space, finances and such. Originally there was no space available, but Kelli was so nice and kept in constant contact with me until there was an open room and Mom could be moved.”
That was April 2019 and since then, Carol has thrived. While she is no longer able to craft or decorate cakes that thrilled her entire hometown, Carol has what she needs most: a caring environment.
Heather has no hesitation pointing out the three things she loves about her mother’s life at Birchwood Care Center:
- “How caring the staff is about her and they let her be her and understand that she has an illness that causes her to be difficult at times. (The place she was in previously did not understand this).”
- “Everyone at Birchwood gives her attention and they don’t just put her in a corner and leave her alone. On one of my last visits there I was tearful because not being able to spend time with her has been really hard. Tina told me that Mom is just like family and they all care about her. This made me feel good that she is OK and even though I can’t see her regularly, she is alright and cared about.”
- “When something happens I am notified right away and don’t hear about it days/weeks later.”
As with all residents, the Birchwood staff knows much about Carol. They are aware that Carol was married for 49 years until her husband passed away in 2016. The couple had two children whom they raised in East Palestine, Ohio. Always on the go, Carol worked for Rite Aid for several years. The position enabled her to travel throughout the country, setting up, resetting and closing stores as needed. She enjoys recalling her wondrous travels to the staff.
As the holidays approach, Heather’s only regret is that she has none of her mother’s recipes. “She was a good cook and sadly never wrote recipes down. She’d start throwing things together and they just tasted amazing even though she could never quite remember what went in it to replicate it over and over again.”
But for Heather, just knowing that her mother is loved like family is enough to get through COVID-19 and the holiday season with a smile.