Story Feature

Jean Hendrickson, a resident at Life Care Center of the San Juan Islands in Friday Harbor, Washington, is a published author.


There’s a story behind her book, “Joy, Living in a Nursing Home.”


Hendrickson self-published the book in 2011, when she had been living at the facility for five years (she’s now a 10-year resident), to answer the concerns that friends and family members had expressed when they found out she was living in a skilled nursing facility.


When people would say they were sorry to hear that, she would tell them, “Why are you sorry? I live in a great place with amazing people that take great care of me. The food is great, the service is great and there’s a fantastic sense of community at Life Care.”


The book addresses common questions about nursing centers, including the aspects of care, routines and services.


“What I was writing about was very precious and important to me,” said Hendrickson, “so it felt wonderful to be able to share with other people. I wanted to help open doors for people because so many wonderful people have opened doors for me.


“When a person, for physical reasons, has to live in a care center, it doesn’t mean the door has closed,” Hendrickson added. “It’s just changed. And from my experience, many opportunities present themselves.”


Over the past five years, Hendrickson has given away many copies of the book to new residents and their families to help them adjust to their new environment and look for the positives in their situation. She has also given copies to associates at the facility.


When she was asked for her advice for other people who might be interested in writing a book, Hendrickson said, “You have to really want to write a book. It has to be very important to you, and you have to be enthusiastic.”


Hendrickson didn’t always like writing. She worked as a legal secretary before she got married, and it was after she got married and started raising kids that she started to warm up to the craft. Much of that was due to her involvement in the Civil Rights movement, which she advocated for. She went on to become a counselor and ordained minister, and her experience relating to others throughout the years informs much of her book.


Shortly before Hendrickson came to Life Care Center of the San Juan Islands, she published her memoir, “We All Have a Purpose for Being Here.”


“Life has always been an adventure,” Hendrickson said. “New ideas and opportunities have always opened up to me. I’m very grateful.”


If you are interested in a copy of “Joy, Living in a Nursing Home,” please call Life Care Center of the San Juan Islands at (360) 378-2117.


Story Tagged: Skilled Nursing

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