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NW Senior Resources has new leader, same direction

Julie Ouellette succeeds Nancy Raske as director of 'mission'

REVIEW, TIDINGS PHOTO: CLIFF NEWELL - Julie Ouellette, left, will be backed by plenty of outstanding support at NW Senior Resources from Nancy Raske, center, and Sarah Harwood.

Nancy Raske had a pretty long workday as the founder and director of NW Senior Resources: 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

So, when she decided to bring in her successor she wanted to have someone who brought the same dedication to helping senior citizens of the Lake Oswego area find the right living situation. So Raske sold her business to an “angel.”

That is what Raske calls Julie Ouellette, who has been her assistant for the past three years, and is very much in the Raske mold: a tireless worker of great compassion and skill.

“Julie is the ultimate people skills person,” Raske said. “I couldn’t be happier that she is taking over.”

Ouellette has a rich and diverse background in helping senior citizens and picked up a real education assisting Raske, who anticipates a smooth transition.

“Nancy is an amazing mentor,” Ouellette said. “I get such satisfaction from helping people in the midst of a crisis and its uncharted territory. I want to help them navigate the right path and educate them.”

It is not like Ouellette is going to be the Lone Ranger of NW Senior Resources. Raske is not going away by any means. After handling hundreds of cases over the past eight years she just wanted to reduce her workload.

“It’s time for me to take a lesser role,” Raske said. “I have so many things I want to do, like play with my new grandchild. I’ll still be visiting clients, just not 24/7.”

The addition of Sarah Harwood should make NW Senior Resources stronger than ever. Raske and Ouellette had their eyes on Harwood for some time as an excellent person to join their team, but Harwood turned down Ouellette when she first approached her about taking a job as a consultant six months ago. She soon changed her mind.

“Sarah is such a good fit for us,” Raske said. “She’s been in the senior living field for six years in Seaside, Woodburn and Portland. She has grasped the opportunity offered here and has been thrilled. I have always been impressed with Sarah’s thoughtfulness, clarity, and her ability to ask good questions.”

With a trio such as this, it is business as usual to help a family desperate to find the best living situation for a senior loved one.

“There are options out there, like adult foster homes and assisted living,” Ouellette said. “One assisted living situation can be vastly different from another one.”

A key to finding the right place for a senior citizen is simply asking them.

“Sometimes folks recently placed don’t want to upset their kids,” Ouellette said. “With someone else they’re more open to talk about it.”

“Julie has become an expert on reading people and how to draw them out,” Raske said.

Skill and experience are crucial to such work, and so is hard work.

“We’ll still do secret shopping and make drop-in visits,” Ouellette said.

“We also visit rehab centers,” Raske said.

The formula for finding the right place includes discovering geographic desires, care needs, social and emotional factors, and budget requirements.

Despite a change in leadership, NW Senior Resources should be better than ever in its new incarnation.

“This is a ministry first and foremost,” Raske said.

For more information, go to nwseniorresources.com.

Contact Cliff Newell at 503-636-1281 ext. 105 or cnewell@lakeoswegoreview.com.


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