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Erickson Senior Housing Commercial

It won’t be a surprise when , one of the pioneers in developing Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), enters Minnesota. They have a lot of appealing features that people would dig here.Check out this Erickson Retirement Communities commercial. It hits directly at what a lot of what people are thinking, … they want something different. What are your thoughts on the commercial?[youtube][/youtube]

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Hospitality Lessons from a Funeral Home

We hear a lot about how people don’t want to move to nursing homes and we’re all familiar with the stereotypes. Funeral homes are another place that aren’t high on people’s priority lists. And they, too, have plenty of stereotypes that aren’t too uplifting. It’s interesting, though, how things can change when you look at things differently. Jim Bradshaw, who founded and runs a number of funeral homes in the Twin Cities, set out to change the perception of funeral homes. He called it setting out to "create a new conversation." He sought to create the IT we talk about, to reposition, to innovate, to create hospitable places and experiences that leave no doubt that you are "WELCOME." When you walk into the Bradshaw Funeral Home in Stillwater, it is bright, airy, there are big windows that look out upon soothing birchtree gardens, there are children’s play rooms, everything is so clean and fresh … people actually get married there. The Bradshaw tagline is: Creating Meaningful Events That Celebrate Life (don’t we do that a lot in senior housing and long-term care?) . And they have a number of interesting "Promises We Keep" that could be tailored for the senior housing and long-term care profession also. Here they are:

  • When you walk through the doors, we promise to welcome you.
  • We promise to make your concerns our priority.
  • We promise to clear explanations and thoughtful answers to your questions.
  • We promise to be generous with our time.
  • We promise to anticipate your needs.
  • If it’s never been done before, we’ll find a away.
  • We promise to follow through on what we offer you.
  • We promise to treat the deceased with dignity and compassionate professionalism.
  • We depend on each other for good ideas and thoughtful solutions. You can too.
  • We promise the value you receive will be greater than the bill you pay.

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Welcome to North Branch’s New Neighborhood

At Left, Leah-Killian Smith, leader at The Villages of North Branch is warmly greeted by resident Edna Holmgren during one of the last days of a former county nursing home in North Branch, Minn. Photo by Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune. "This is going to be so different. My new room will be nice. But the rest of the place is so interesting that I don’t think I’ll be spending much time in my room anymore." The above quote by Carole Feakes, who is moving today from Green Acres Country Care Center in North Branch to the new Ecumen community of The Villages of North Branch, really outlines a big difference between the the yesterday and today in our profession. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has a very interesting story about The Villages of North Branch, a new senior housing development that will open today. The All-Important IT Factor While The Villages of North Branch is brand new and beautiful, The Villages' success is going to be driven by the team members who create and nurture ITFind out more about IT in this discussion launched by Debbie Manthey. Share your thoughts. IT is what makes the beautiful interior design of bricks and mortar come to life. The IT is what you’ll find today as The Villages team members and community volunteers welcome 68 people to their brand new homes. The IT is IT. Before and After Photos Here are some of the before and after photos from North Branch. One photo you’ll notice is a collage of historic photos from North Branch. The Villages of North Branch feature a number of photos from the Historical Society. What will be particularly neat is that there will be story tellers who live at The Villages who will be able to to share the stories that these photos represent.

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The Graying of the Suburbs

If you get a second, listen to the Minnesota Public Radio MidMorning Show entitled: The Graying Suburbs.

The guests are William Frey, demographer at The Brookings Institute, and Joel Kotkin, author of 'The City: A Global History.'

The show is based on a new study by the Brookings Institution called 'Mapping the Growth of Older America: Seniors and Boomers in the 21st Century.'

One of the many interesting findings we found in our study of Minnesota Baby Boomers is that most boomers want to live their senior years in suburbia or rural Minnesota. The Brookings Institution study parallels a number of these findings.

It also talks about how boomers want to live in their own homes as they age. That underscores the opportunity for aging services providers to expand outside of their own bricks and mortar.

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A Pastor’s Vision and Senior Housing Development

Pastor David Olson of the First Lutheran Church in Sandpoint is someone with vision. Here in a Finance and Commerce article by Brian Johnson, he talks about his and his congregation’s foray into senior housing development:

David Olson will never forget his first pastoral visit to a nursing home.

'I was greeted with the words, 'Pastor, I am being held against my will and I need your help to escape,'' recalled Olson, a Lutheran minister with Minnesota connections who now has a congregation in Idaho.

'That is the nightmare of senior care for people: that they will end up essentially being housed against their will. '

Olson’s experience was part of the inspiration for a senior housing project that’s about to break ground in Sandpoint, Idaho.

His congregation, First Lutheran Church at Sandpoint, is developing the $14 million, 87-unit facility with help from Ecumen, a Shoreview-based nonprofit that manages and develops senior housing.

When it’s completed next year, the project will offer 60 units of 'catered living' for seniors and 27 units of 'memory care and enhanced assisted living' in a structure that will be physically attached to the church and spiritually attached to the greater community.

Olson said the goal is to create senior housing that 'avoids being an elder ghetto and provides positive, stimulating environments in which people will choose to live, as opposed to consenting to being placed there. '

Ecumen, which is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), will manage the Idaho facility after it opens.

The Shoreview firm believes the project could become a model for other churches that have land for development. It sees senior housing projects developed with faith communities as a national 'growth area. '

'We are getting calls all the time from would-be clients who want to talk with us,' noted Steve Ordahl, Ecumen’s senior vice president of business development services.

Ecumen is counting on a recently announced partnership with two other major senior housing players - St. Louis Park-based general contractor Adolfson & Peterson and St. Paul-based design firm Pope Associates - to help those projects move forward.

Other church-connected senior housing projects are popping up closer to home.

In Minneapolis, for example, Spirit of the Lakes Church plans to create 41 units of senior housing on church-owned property at 1238 E. Lake St. Its development partner is Powderhorn Residents Group.

Hennepin County recently approved a $37,150 grant for the project, which could begin this fall.

And in Prior Lake, Presbyterian Homes is partnering with Shepherd of the Lake Church to create 156 units of senior housing (82 independent living, 56 assisted living, and 18 memory care) on the church’s 80-acre campus.

Adolfson & Peterson and Pope Associates are part of that project team, as well. It’s nearing completion after a year of construction, and the first residents are expected to move in by mid-July.

The campus includes short-stay apartments for homeless teenagers, and a 'town center' with a restaurant, a convenience store, a gift shop, a book store, barber and beauty shops, exercise and dining areas, and a 120-seat theater.

Future phases will bring an 80-bed skilled nursing home and 45 apartments for people 55 and older. The nursing home will be attached to the church, and the apartments will be in a series of five unattached brownstone buildings.

Construction will start next spring on a YMCA, also attached to the church.

Kermit Mahlum is the chief operating office for the Prior Lake development, known as Shepherds Path.

During his 10 years of planning the project, Mahlum spoke with other large churches in the metro area.

'I believe this is going to be the next wave of church facilities, where they do campus settings,' he said. 'We are hopefully on the leading edge. There are two or three other campuses like this around the Twin Cities, but this is the first we are aware of where the senior facility and a YMCA are both attached to the church. '

Eric Schubert, Ecumen’s director of communications, said the senior housing industry is 'just touching the cuff' of innovative development, including projects that link 55-and-older housing with college campuses.

'It’s a new way of looking at senior housing,' Schubert said. 'It really fits in with larger community development, as communities look to use space well and connect resources rather than just isolate seniors on the fringe of town. '

Olson said the faith community has the resources and knowledge to become a leader in senior housing development. The Lutheran church, for example, has been involved in senior care for more than 100 years, he noted.

First Lutheran in Sandpoint sowed the seeds for its project back in 1960, when the church purchased its current 6-acre site. At the time, the site was on the outskirts of town, but it’s now in the center of activity.

As Sandpoint became a hot spot for retirees, developers pressured the church to sell its 4 acres or so of developable land.

Rather than sell to a third party, Olson and the congregation opted to do their own development. He said there’s sufficient collateral in the land and in the existing church building to do the project without raising additional funds from the congregation.

Residents in the new development won’t have to be members of First Lutheran or any other church, Olson emphasized.

But he does see the project as an opportunity for the church to extend its ministry.

'We view it as a ministry and an extension of the congregation, offering not only housing, but a Christ-centered community open to all, caring for the spiritual needs of our residents as well as physical and emotional needs.

'We feel that for many of the residents, that is a central ingredient in terms of what they look for in quality of life. '

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Ecumen’s Lakeview Commons Wins Awards

Above are just a few of the team members at Ecumen’s Lakeview Commons who have helped Lakeview Commons be recognized by the readers of the Maplewood/Ramsey County Review newspaper as the Maplewood community’s top assisted living and senior retirement community for 2007. This is the third year in a row that the team at Lakeview Commons has received this honor. Congratulations!

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A July 4th Wish for the Minneapolis Veterans Home

July 4th , of course, celebrates our country’s independence. Many of the people we and our colleagues serve around the country in assisted living and nursing homes are the ones who put their lives on the line to ensure that we have that independence.Last week I sat in on testimony given by family members and others before Governor Pawlenty’s Veterans Home commission, which has been charged to come up with recommendations on how to fix what has been a debacle at the Minneapolis Veterans Home. (Ecumen leader Kathryn Roberts is a member of the commission.)I was saddened and horrified to hear one vet’s daughter share of how her father who lives there doesn’t always get water when he needs it. I heard a husband share how he’d like to leave his wife at a nursing home he loves, but soon he won’t be able to afford her care there and so he has her on a waiting list for the Vets Home. (How incredibly stressful it must be to hear about the problems at the Vets Home when you are considering putting the person you love the most there.) Then there was the story of the veteran who is depressed living in a crummy nursing home and wants to be put in the Mpls. Vets Home, so he can be with other vets. He has made his cousin promise him that he will make that wish come true.I also heard testimony from members of AFSCME, one of the unions at the Vets Home. Caregivers at the Vets Home have taken some lumps. They could have used this forum to tee off on the administration. Those from AFSCME who testified that day were long-time caregivers at the Vets Home. And they were absolutely excellent. What was so clear and so genuine in their voices is how much they care about the people at the Vets Home and that they want solutions. In fact, everyone who testified there that day underscored that the status quo won’t cut it.My hope is that the work of this task force doesn’t simply become a set of recommendations that then gathers dust on a shelf somewhere. What a complete waste and charade that would be. But that’s exactly what happened to the last task force that met about 20 years ago on problems at the Minneapolis Veterans Home. We’re all well aware of finely tuned, innovative long-term care settings where the people who are served and the people who provide that care find their experience extremely rewarding and nourishing. My hope this July 4th is that there are recommendations that help innovation replace dysfunction at the Veterans Home and that Governor Pawlenty then sees that those recommendations move from ink on paper to reality.In Minnesota, we’ve already been down the road called status quo,' … it doesn’t work.Eric Schubert, director of communications

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Ecumen’s Kathryn Roberts Named to AAHSA Board

Ecumen CEO Kathryn RobertsEcumen CEO Kathryn Roberts has been named to the board of directors of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA). AAHSA is a national trade association that represents nearly 6,000 non-profit senior housing and services organizations.Kathryn will serve a three-year term on the board of directors. AAHSA’s board of directors is responsible for the governance of the association, providing strategic direction, fiduciary oversight and policy development.'I am extremely honored to be joining the AAHSA board of directors and I look forward to joining others from across the United States in the work of transformation and helping shape our country’s and profession’s future,' said Kathryn.

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AgeWell - Great Name, Cool Approach

Several of us went to a great event last evening at the Minnesota History Center sponsored by AgeWell. They are doing a number of interesting things with their focus being on 'the best retirement home is your own.' They provide home care, but they really look at it as 'life care management.' When they meet with a client they develop a 'lifecare plan' in conjunction with the customer. The plan gathers the customers' insights and feedback in a number of areas, including:Fun/passionSocialHealthCognitiveSpiritualFinancialEnvironmental (home/surroundings)What this does is look at aging and serving a customer in a much more holistic way, not simply medically. It is all about the person. This type of holistic approach is a great opportunity for senior housing and long-term care professionals looking to make their expertise mobile. Like Detroit Lakes' Emmanuel Community is doing.

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Changing Aging

Yvonne Severson, director of nursing at Clarkfield Care Center, sent this video clip. She said in her email, 'Maybe if you start skating now, you’ll be this good when you get to be 81.' RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT. Not a Chance. Check out the video . This person shows that age is simply a number.