The Card Home was founded in 1914 through the generosity of a Trust bequeathed for this purpose by Dr. David Card, a Willimantic physician, and his wife, Hannah. The doors opened in 1918 with the mission to “provide a safe, healthful and happy home to elders in the Willimantic area who could no longer maintain a residence of their own. There would be no more Poor House – the elderly will have a good home with good care at a minimal cost.”
Today, after 100 years of caring for the elderly, The Card Home provides a unique alternative to nursing homes or assisted living facilities for independent residents. Despite the fact that we are often described as “The best kept secret in Willimantic,” we often have had a waiting list for admission.
“Elders” today looks very different from 1918. Now, people are living longer, healthier and more independent lives, and The Card Home helps them make the most of their retirement years. We invite you to read the article from the Hartford Courant, “Card Home Celebrates 100 Years of Care.”
As people get older, they often find their social networks change, with friends and family perhaps not being as accessible. The Card Home helps them develop a new lifestyle, making interesting, new friends, and having new types of activities available to them. This requires a dedicated team, committed to helping our residents thrive as they get older:
Johanne Philbrick, President of The Card Home, is a Doctor of Gerontology who has taught multiple aspects and phases of growing older to both undergraduate and graduate students in the field of aging. Johanne is also the primary author of a major program, Managing for Success, that is used to train managers and staff in the kindest and most healthful methods and procedures in residential care.
Susan Humes, Administrator of The Card Home, has worked more than fifteen years in the field of aging and management in residential care of the elderly. Her tenure during her years at the Card Home has been exemplary to the point that she was honored by the City of Willimantic as the Most Outstanding Citizen with the Ray of Sunshine award. Among her many good deeds, she was cited thus in the award:
“On a daily basis, Sue manages the non-profit Card Home on Pleasant Street. While this is a paid position, the care, attention, love, and service she gives to these residents is phenomenal. She works multiple hours beyond those for which she is paid to do anything to make the lives of Card Home residents happier and more comfortable.”
Dawn Bakke, Assistant Administrator of The Card Home, actually began her work at The Card home about 25 years ago in the kitchen! After raising her family, she worked in individual, one-to-one care of the elderly before returning to the Card Home. She plans nutritious meals, various activities such as “toss across,” Trivial Pursuit, duck races and movie nights, just to name just a few – she is always looking for interesting things to do with the residents! Dawn takes classes at Eastern Connecticut State University to further her education; she involves the residents with her studies, which they love!
Robin Pavliscsak, one of three Certified Cooks at The Card Home, is one of the most important people – they are the ones that keep everyone fed! And it’s more than just the 3 meals a day – it’s wonderful, yummy things during the morning or afternoon coffee breaks, or something special for holidays or birthdays.
So, all told it takes 16 people to keep up this beautiful home and take care of our remarkable residents, everyone pitching in to help whenever it is needed. After all, this is a home, and everyone here is treated like family.