Thanks to DeWaard & Bode

Recently the old washing machine at the Lynden Community Center finally wore out to the point of not being worth fixing.

The Community Center offers a $6 hot and healthy noon meal for seniors served at the center and also delivered the same day to those who are homebound — fresh, hot and ready to eat. Preparing these meals creates a pile of dirty laundry of dishrags, towels and aprons on a daily basis.

The center works hard to keep the price of these meals low and affordable, but the direct expenses always exceed the income, never mind having to purchase a new washing machine.

Thankfully, there are still local businesses that continue to be community conscious. DeWaard & Bode is one such business that really came through for us in our time of need. Last week, DeWaard & Bode generously donated (and delivered) a brand-new washing machine that will serve us well for many years to come. Thank you, thank you, DeWaard & Bode!

Let’s not forget, during this holiday season, how vital these community-minded businesses are. Please remember to shop local and support these merchants.

— Cathi LeCocq, Lynden Community Center manager

On the benefits of a partnership

PeaceHealth Medical Group has taken demonstrable steps to increase awareness about the benefits of advance care planning for the thousands of people in its service areas. This year, PeaceHealth hired staff ACP program facilitators, expanded access to outpatient palliative care, and informed populations about the merits of addressing end-of-life decisions before crisis mode.

Because PeaceHealth is the largest employer in Whatcom, Clark and Lane counties in Washington and Oregon, greater awareness could be more quickly achieved if they partnered with county health departments to position ACP as a public health concern. This partnering could upstream ACP into health promotion activities. ACP is not about dying; it is about living better. A public health campaign would help normalize conversations and reshape how we make decisions about our life’s last chapters.

Public health is meant to improve the health of broad populations with investments not ordinarily considered “health care” — such as wearing helmets, seatbelts, exercising more, quitting smoking, efforts to improve nutrition or the quality of drinking water and air for everyone. Many public health interventions have been hugely successful, saving more money than they’ve cost.

Understanding the linkage between advocacy for advance care planning policies and its adoption and actual practice is crucial to the success and sustainability of the ACP effort.

If PeaceHealth and county health departments mounted a vigorous engagement program to mobilize family, community and workplace to learn more about the technical complexities of living and dying in medical contexts, it could foster change in social attitudes about mortality. This partnership could build on existing health education and community engagement strategies, which would improve quality of life for patients, families and professional care providers. A win-win!

— Micki Jackson, Bellingham