New head of VCC says local support will help sustain the center

Janelle Ansell replaced Susan Tuller as administrator of Vashon Community Care. - Susan Riemer/Staff Photo
Janelle Ansell replaced Susan Tuller as administrator of Vashon Community Care.
— image credit: Susan Riemer/Staff Photo

Vashon Community Care’s new administrator Janelle Ansell is in her second week at the helm of the Island’s nursing home and assisted living facility. With just a few days on the job, her impressions are positive.

“Everyone is so warm and welcoming — staff, residents and families. I have this amazing sense of community,” she said.

Ansell has been working in nursing homes since 1998 and received her administrator’s license in 2005. She served for 11 years at The Kenney and most recently one year at Sea Mar Community Care Center, both in West Seattle. Prior to that, she ran a Boys and Girls Club.

“I have always been interested in empowering people, supporting people,” she said.

When she applied to VCC, she was looking to be part of a community — something she believes she has already found both on the Island and in her new role.

As she settles in, she is looking forward to strengthening Island connections. Ansell has replaced Susan Tuller, who left VCC to become the executive director of Providence ElderPlace.

“We want to be part of honoring Island life, but our seniors in particular,” Ansell said.

What that will mean exactly, she does not know yet, but it will unfold according to what feels right to the residents, families, staff and the larger Island community, she said.

Ansell also noted that she is impressed by the Island support of VCC and wants to continue to nurture and expand it. That support — be it people donating time or money — will be necessary to accommodate the needs of elders and fiscal constraints.

“The number of seniors is growing, growing, growing,” she said. “Funding is declining, declining, declining. That is even more reason we need community support.”

In recent years, VCC has felt the pinch from government funding cuts, and there will be financial challenges ahead for VCC, Ansell noted. More cuts to government funding are in the works, but the process is a complicated one, and it is not clear yet just how VCC will be affected.

She countered those concerns, though, with praise for the staff who will help see the center through whatever lies ahead.

“I am very impressed with the management team here. ... They are very present in their work,” she said.

Ansell, 38, is a mother of a 2-year-old daughter and commutes from her home in West Seattle.

“It is OK,” she said about the commute. “I am really excited to be here.”

Labor of Love

The annual online auction to benefit Vashon Community Care begins later this month. Islanders wishing to donate a service or item should visit www.laboroflove or call VCC at 567-4421.

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