At some care centers death may be a forbidden topic. If residents die, they and their belongings may simply disappear, leaving an empty room behind.
But at Horizons Health Care Center residents who die are not forgotten. Since 1972, when Horizons opened its doors as part of the national Volunteers of America program, residents and staff have gathered to honor the memory of their friends and neighbors who have passed away. The center's goal is to provide kind and compassionate care to residents and the staff strives to enrich the lives of individuals in their care.
Every October, staff members dress up and join with residents to welcome trick-or-treating children to the care facility. And this Halloween residents took part in another special activity thanks to the work of Myriam Rubio and Kathy Meehan. Rubio serves as the center's life enrichment director and Meehan is her assistant. The pair worked with residents to build a colorful floor-to-ceiling altar to celebrate the traditional Mexican "Day of the Dead." The altar honors the memory of residents who have passed away. As part of the celebration, residents watched the recent Disney movie "Coco" which depicts a young boy's journey into the Land of the Dead to visit his ancestor.
Rubio reports that the residents enjoyed the movie which helped them understand the purpose of the altar. "They wanted to be part of the celebration of life," she said.
Rubio is excited to work with residents to share her culture. She has worked at Horizons for 10 years since arriving from Mexico. She began as a certified nurse assistant before moving into her current role as life enrichment director. She and her husband, Shaun Gibson, live in Eckert. Shaun works as design editor for the Montrose Press newspaper.
Horizons Care Center serves individuals with chronic diseases as well as those recovering from injury or illness. They serve short-term rehabilitation guests with the goal of returning them to their homes as soon as possible and they operate a memory support neighborhood to provide long-term care for individuals with Alzheimer's and other dementia-related illnesses.
The nonprofit center is located at 11411 Hwy 65 in Eckert. The center encourages donations and welcomes volunteers. Call 970-835-2600 for information.