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Family First Newsletter

March 2021

A note from Chris and Julie:


Hello to all,


At the time of writing this, we are more than a year into the pandemic and slowly beginning to inch toward post-covid life. Despite this encouraging news, we must pause and remember the more than 535,000 individuals lost during this tragic time. These individuals were parents, spouses and siblings. They were family and friends to those we know and those we don’t know, and our deepest sympathies go out to anyone who was personally affected.


It goes without saying, but 2020 was a challenging year with many ups and downs. When COVID-19 first arrived in the United States, I like many others was concerned about the virus, yet at the same time confident in Family First’s ability to provide high-quality care to those considered most vulnerable.


As we have since the beginning of the pandemic, our approach was grounded in recommendations put forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local health officials. That guidance, as well as the diligent support of all Family First staff, was crucial to keeping all Family First residents COVID-free throughout the pandemic.

I would like to extend a special thanks to all Family First staff for their commitment and care for our residents during this hard time. I would also like to recognize Becky Lester, HR/Operations Manager, as the lead person who spent many hours keeping us updated through countless webinars, emails and multiple calls to health officials, and Tiffany Lamont, Resident Care Manager, for her ongoing commitment to helping our house managers carry out state health mandates.


Becky and Tiffany’s efforts were crucial to keeping our residents safe and our entire staff apprised of the latest changes so that we could provide the best possible care to all who placed their trust in us.


Lastly, a huge thank you to all first responders and frontline workers, and a special thank you to Dr. Darshana Chadda, our in-home doctor who closely monitored all family first residents’ physical and mental health throughout the pandemic, and Dr. Kathy Polo and Dr. Judy Rueben who helped to administer the vaccine to Family First residents and staff very early in the rollout. We are humbled by their contributions to our community and more specifically, to our elderly population.


As the year progresses and restrictions ease, we are looking forward to the day when our residents can begin visiting with families again. The next round of tears will be for joy, not emptiness or sorrow. They will be for happiness – and most importantly – for hugs, not iPads.


Thank you again for trusting in us and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.


In gratitude and health,


Chris and Julie Thomson

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Gig Harbor Living Local Awards

Family First was honored to win the Gig Harbor Living Local’s Finest Award for the 4th year in a row! It is a privilege to serve our community and we are grateful for this recognition.

Expert's Corner

A note from Dr. Chadda on COVID-19

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Dr. Chadda, our trusted in-home physician, with an update on COVID-19:

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted our lives over the last year. Feelings of isolation and loneliness have caused increased stress and anxiety for many people—especially for those in the elderly community. If you’re like others I’ve spoken to, you’re likely wondering how you can help them during these difficult times. Thankfully the answer is simple: When you’re eligible to receive one of the three FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines (Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson), make sure you sign up to do so. Getting vaccinated will not only help protect you from COVID, but will help keep you and your community healthy and help us reach herd immunity, which is an important step towards life returning to normal.


Until then, continue to wear your masks (over your mouth and nose), wash your hands, avoid crowded indoor spaces or spaces that are not properly ventilated, and stay home if you are sick. With continued vigilance on our parts and widespread administration of the vaccine, we can be confident that normal life will soon return if we do our part to keep everyone safe.

Caregiver Spotlight

New Manager Hire: Welcome Kayla Washington!

Kayla was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. She moved to Washington in 2019 and has been in the healthcare field off and on for the past ten years. Before her time at Family First, she served in the army as an interior electrician for four years. Outside of work she enjoys yoga, attending church, and exploring the outdoors. She also values time with family has been learning to play the guitar. When asked what she likes about Family First, she responded, “Everyone is so welcoming and willing to help. And of course, I enjoy my residents! They each have their own unique qualities guaranteed to make me smile.”


Caregiver Spotlight

Congratulations to Jessey Speaker on her
promotion to Manager!

Jessey grew up in the Kent area and has been caregiving since 2018. Before making the decision to try a different career path, Jessey worked as a server in the hospitality industry. When she began doing in-home care, the feeling she had from making a resident’s life a little easier was one she could not explain. “It is a honor to help them have a better day just by giving them assistance with their activities of daily living,” she says. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with loved ones, going on drives and being on the water. During the summer, she enjoys horse back riding and camping.


Keeping residents engaged during Covid

Though our residents may not have been able to hug their love ones this past year, we have found other ways to keep them engaged during this time. From iPad family interactions and window dates, to outside visits from Santa or Sweet Mary playing the guitar, these activities helped keep our residents and staff engaged during lockdown.

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Our 2021 Alzheimer's Research Fundraiser

The Family First Fighting Angels are back and looking forward to building a great team to help raise funds for this important cause. This year we will be creating and selling a fabulous cook book with all our residents’ and staffs’ favorite recipes. Here is a sneak peak.

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Our Team

Pierce County All-Star Caregiver Awards

While we consider all of our amazing caregivers winners at Family First, we were honored to have seven caregivers nominated for Pierce County’s All-Star Caregiver Award and two winners! Congratulations to Christina and Brittany for being awarded this amazing accomplishment out of more than 80 nominees. Here is what some of our residents’ families had to say:

“Michelle is an excellent house manager! During my tour of the home, I met Michelle and my first impression was very positive because of how warm and friendly she was. She is professional and very supportive. She loves my mom with deep affection.”

-Karen, Daughter of a resident


"There is absolutely no doubt that Christina truly cares about my mom and her wellbeing. She always has her best interest in mind and keeps me informed. She is approachable and willing to listen. Christina makes sure my mom has a purpose and feels valued. She involves her in daily tasks she can help with. and has brought something to my mom's life that is invaluable. Christina, in my eyes, is an angel.”

-Pamela, Daughter of a resident


"Brittany always has a smile on her face. She engages the residents with activities and gets to know each resident's preferences. My mom loves sweet rolls and pastries, and she makes sure she gets these every few days. She goes above and beyond making sure mom can FaceTime with us and that her room is always organized just how she likes it so she can find things easily. These little things make such a difference!”

-Nancy, Daughter of a resident

“Theresa cared for both my mother and father-in-law. What stood out to me was how she treated them both like they were her own family. Even on her days off she would check in. My mom had dementia and she treated her with so much respect. She is a thoughtful and caring manager and is is one in a million.”

-Elizabeth, Daughter and in-law of residents

"Ruth is a person who radiates extraordinary kindness! I will never forget how Ruth surrounded my dad with her prayers and friendship. I am very thankful for her presence and compassion."

-Kira, Daughter of a resident

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