|August 12, 2013 • VOL. 51, NO. 14 • Oakland, CA|
| Mercy Center provides
a home for a lifetime
When residents move into Oakland's Mercy Retirement and Care Center, they feel that they are moving into their last home.
On the other hand, others might require costlier care — additional levels of service, or a move to the care center — which would reduce their resources at an accelerated rate.
For longtime residents, the generosity of others makes it possible for Mercy to continue to be their last home.
When a resident's resources run dry, charitable care kicks in.
"If long-term residents run out of money, we keep them," says Anne Dolan, development director, and the person tasked with making sure enough money is raised to pay for that care.
This year, Dolan needs to raise about half a million dollars. Some years, the number can be twice that.
When a resident moves to charitable care, Dolan said, the quality of care he or she receives is no different from anyone else.
Information on which residents receive charitable care is confidential, Dolan said.
"They think everybody knows," she said, but very few staff people need that information.
There are few funding sources for charitable care, Dolan said, pointing out that many foundations do not support it. Mercy's greatest sources of charitable care funding are through bequests and individual contributions.
Charitable care will be the recipient of proceeds from the Mercy Gala, to be held March 1, 2014 at the Oakland Rotunda.
At the gala, the Heart of Mercy Award will be presented to three longtime shining lights to Mercy and its residents. One is director Sister Patty Creedon, who has just completed 16 years as chief administrator of Mercy Retirement and Care Center. She had previously served as administrator of Salem Lutheran Home, another Elder Care Alliance property. Before those leadership roles, the member of the Sisters of Mercy first came to the Oakland home as a novice 30 years before.
Rev. Michael Norkett, a retired priest of the Diocese of Oakland, is also a longtime friend of Mercy. His mother lived at Mercy in Oakland.
The third recipient is Dorothy Lee, the longtime first-grade teacher at Corpus Christi School in Piedmont. For many years, Dolan said, Lee has brought her costumed students to visit the center at Halloween. They return for a festive visit during the Christmas season.
Lee also teaches violin. On Christmas Day, she and her students — some now adults — play the violin with her as residents gather for their holiday dinner.
Previous Heart of Mercy award recipients have included the Most Rev. John S. Cummins, the bishop emeritus of Oakland, and the Knights and Dames of Malta, whose devotion to Mercy and its residents has spanned decades.
Stan Bunger of KCBS radio will emcee the Mercy Gala, which will include dinner, winetasting and gift baskets. Tickets, at $150 each, will be available through the development office at Mercy Retirement and Care Center. Sponsorship opportunities are also available, through the development office.
On a visit to Mercy, one might hear a clarinetist entertaining at happy hour; or see a vibrant gathering at drummer's circle; or simply see residents enjoying a quiet visit with family in the garden.
Having all levels of care in one place is a blessing, Dolan said, noting that for some couples, it is a way to stay together, even if one needs more care than the other. Sometimes, one person will need to move to the care center, while the spouse is able to stay in the retirement center.
But that separation is eased by proximity.
"They can visit every day," Dolan said.
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