Both the Westminster Shores and Towers retirement facilities front upon Wares Creek. This places them in flood zone A. When the mandatory evacuation order was issued preceding Hurricane Irma’s arrival, it involved relocating 300 elderly residents to safer locations.
Many were bed patients or required wheelchairs or walkers to move about. They must continue to be fed and receive assistance with their Individual needs. What a mind-boggling logistical problem this presented.
Fortunately, Westminster executives anticipated that such a situation could occur and had plans in place. Those of us in independent living quarters were urged to seek refuge with friends or relatives in the area if possible. Some chose to leave the storm’s path by auto, while others found lodging in local hotels. Those unable to provide for their personal safety were transported to a community shelter.
Health Center patients who receive 24-hour skilled nursing care were transferred to Westminster’s sister facility, the Bradenton Manor. Westminster Courtyard on Main Street housed assisted living residents in less than ideal conditions yet they were made comfortable, safe and well-cared for. The transition was smooth and efficient. Once the danger passed, everyone was expeditiously restored their own living quarters.
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Executive director Tom Sutton and his loyal staff deserve high praise and thanks for a job well done. By remaining on site throughout the emergency, they demonstrated their concern for the residents’ well-being. The residents, too, are to be congratulated for accepting this disruption of their routine in good spirit. They realized it was a temporary inconvenience and that they remained in good and caring hands.