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2000 Best Practice Awards

Best of the Best Winner: Alaska

Best Practice: Development of Marrulut Eniit (Grandma’s House) Assisted Living Facility

Assisted Living Facility in Remote Alaska Enables Elders to Stay Close to Family

Dillingham, Alaska. The Marrulut Eniit (Grandma’s House) assisted living facility is the first state-licensed assisted living facility in remote Alaska. The facility consists of 10 accessibly equipped housing units and an apartment for a full-time manager. The Bristol Bay Housing Authority, through collaboration with the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Bristol Bay Health Corporation, HUD, and the Cordes Development of Sunset Beach, California, developed the Marrulut Eniit Assisted Living Facility.

Each unit is equipped with a living area, bedroom and small kitchen. Common areas in the facility include a dining and multipurpose living area, kitchen facilities for group dining, separate storage area for each tenant, general storage area, a common laundry, common whirlpool and a large fenced courtyard overlooking Nushagak Bay.

“Grandma’s House is a very important contribution in that it preserves the wisdom of the elders,” says Dave McClure, executive director of Grandma’s House “and it allows for interactions between youths and elders. It is a demonstration of what can happen when agencies collaborate for a common goal.”

Prior to the completion of the project, elders from the region were forced to leave their families and culture to live in assisted care facilities in Anchorage, Alaska. Many never returned to the Bristol Bay region alive, and the transition to Anchorage accelerated their demise.

In the Yupic Eskimo and Aleut cultures, elders are the most important cultural resource. The completion of the Grandma’s House facility enables the elders to remain in the local area and continue to interact with their families, young people and the community as a whole, while living in quality accommodations under the supervision of licensed caretakers 24 hours per day. In the Yupik Eskimo and Aleut cultures, the wisdom, knowledge and life experiences of the elderly are appreciated and acknowledged by the younger generation. According to McClure, “Bringing back the elders enables the community to preserve its cultural heritage and also provides assisted living to those in need.”

Contact: Dave McClure, Phone: (907) 842-5956
Tracking Number: 160
Winning Category: Program (Office of Native American Programs)


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Content Archived: April 20, 2011

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