Closing the Pioneer Home: A fractional gain for an immeasurable loss

Raise your hand if you already have, currently are, or soon will be, the responsible adult child taking care of your aging parents.


That stressful process includes life changing decisions, coping with transition and navigating a complicated role reversal between child and parent. The long and winding road of doing what is best for mom and dad has many heartfelt concerns and mixed emotions. With the currently proposed state budget cuts, your decision will become even more complicated.

For many years, Alaskans facing their “Golden Years” have had a safe harbor option in the Pioneer Homes and Veteran Homes. Each provides an enriched “like living at home” environment. Their specialized attention to each resident fosters peace of mind, ensures quality medical care and yields immeasurable blessings of relief for residents and their families.

Many of Alaska’s most influential, productive, hard-working and respected citizens have lived in or are currently residents of the Alaska Pioneer and Veteran Homes. These facilities have cared for an encyclopedia of Alaska’s Pioneers including educators, architects, doctors, top level government officials, veterinarians, Alaskan Native elders, commercial fishermen, librarians, soldiers, first responders, carpenters, homemakers, artists, builders and many more grandpa and grandmas blessed with long, rewarding lives. Individually, these elders are anxious to speak about Alaska’s rich history, are willing to share valuable insights, seek to offer words of wisdom and deliver a bounty of stories not to be forgotten.

By shutting down the Veterans and Pioneer Homes of Alaska our state will, “as a snapshot in time” secure a modest budgetary gain. But once those doors close, the many of you faced with, “What are we going to about Mom and Dad?” will lose a valuable hometown resource and our seniors will be left with a dry brush to finish painting the canvas of their life.

Charlie Ellis



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