National Assisted Living Week Honors the Special Relationship Between Those Giving and Receiving Care

Ecumen assisted living communities join other providers around the country this week in celebration of National Assisted Living Week – a time to honor the deep connections between staff and residents. 

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Ecumen Celebrates National Assisted Living Week

This is National Assisted Living Week, and Ecumen is proud to honor our assisted living residents and their caregivers at our 32 communities as we celebrate this special week.

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Senior man and woman having coffee at table seen through window

10 Key Questions To Ask When Comparing Assisted Living Communities

Thinking about an assisted living for yourself or a loved one?  It’s a major decision requiring lots of due diligence. We take pride in helping you find the right solution for you, regardless of whether you chose one of our communities. 

To help you start the process, below are 10 questions to get you thinking as you start to shop and compare.  It’s just a sampling.  There are many more questions you need to ask.  For a more complete list go to’s Resource section under assisted living.

1.  Is the community attractive, inviting, and in a safe area close to important amenities?

2.  Do the employees and residents appear happy and engaged?

3.  Is this site easy to navigate, well-lit, comfortable and clean?

4.  Does the site make it easy for me to talk with/interview other residents to get their insights on living there?

5.  Can I see myself enjoying living here and doing the things that I enjoy most?

6.  Is the staff accommodating and friendly?

7.  What type of training do the staff members receive?

8.  What types of amenities are available (i.e. media center, beauty/barber salon, library, exercise equipment, computer, convenience shop, deli, etc.).

9.  Are dining areas convenient to the living spaces, and are there choices for dining times and menu items?

10. How much could my costs increase if I need more services?

See more questions to ask at this link.  Or call one of our Ecumen locations to talk one-on-one about your specific needs.

Opening This Summer and Now Taking Reservations: Rose Senior Living— Clinton Township, Mich., Managed by Ecumen

Ecumen’s second senior living development project in partnership with Edward Rose & Sons is well underway in Clinton Township, Mich., and is on schedule for a mid-summer 2014 opening.

 Ecumen is providing development services and has the management contract to operate the property when it opens.  Ecumen and Edward Rose & Sons currently are working together at Heritage at Irene Woods in Memphis, Tenn., which opened in August 2013.  Ecumen manages that property for Edward Rose.

 Rose Senior Living-Clinton Township, adjacent to the Partridge Creek Mall, is more than 188,000 square feet and offers 178 units of senior living apartment homes including independent living, assisted living and secure memory care.  The community will be connected to outdoor gardens and walking trails with easy access to Partridge Creek Mall and other local amenities.

 Other features of the new community include three dining venues, concierge services, an arboretum, library and media room, club lounge, fitness and wellness studio, movie theater and chapel.

 Building construction is mostly complete, and interior work is progressing on schedule.  About 100 full- and part-time new jobs will be created in the area when Rose Senior Living is open.   

 Edward Rose & Sons, headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., entered the senior housing market with the Heritage at Irene Woods development. The company also owns and operates non-age restricted apartments in Alabama, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin, including The Harbours, also located in Clinton Township.

 This is Ecumen’s first managed community in Michigan.  Ecumen, based in Shoreview, Minn., is one of the nation’s top 20 largest non-profit providers of senior housing and aging services. Ecumen operates in 37 cities in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Idaho and Tennessee, providing a variety of senior housing options and services including independent living, assisted living and long-term care communities as well as at-home and community-based services.

 Rose Senior Living — Clinton Township is now taking reservations.  For more information, go to the Rose Senior Living website or call 855-856-3819 or email




Ecumen Centennial House Honored in Readers Choice Awards

Ecumen Centennial House in Apple Valley, Minn., was named “best assisted living” community in Sun Thisweek newspaper’s Readers Choice Awards.

The results were published January 24, 2014, based on a total of about 15,000 reader votes cast both from in-paper ballots and online.

“We’re so pleased by this vote of confidence we have received from the community,” said Janis Rivers, housing manager at Ecumen Centennial House.  “We pride ourselves on the care we provide, and it’s an honor to be recognized in this way.”

Ecumen Centennial House provides assisted living, memory care and home care.  For more information go to

An Unshaggy Dog Story Unfolds at Ecumen Lakeview Commons

Fred had hit bottom.  He was homeless and malnourished, living in a godforsaken shelter somewhere in Arkansas.  His body was covered in sores, and his teeth were falling out.  But even in this depth of despair, there was something about his spirit.

You could look through his eyes right into his beautiful soul.  And that’s what saved his life. A stranger saw who he was on the inside and rescued him from certain death.

Now things are getting back to normal.  Fred came to Minnesota and found a home with a woman who loves him dearly, and he is ready to give back to others who need support.

Today he went to visit a resident at Ecumen Lakeview Commons in Maplewood, Minn., who is in the last days of her life.  He crawled up on the bed and let her know he was there for her.

Fred is an 11-pound, 8-year-old hairy albino Japanese Chin — a breed of dog cultivated by Japanese and Chinese nobility — specifically to live in the lap of luxury.  He’s come a long way on his three-month journey from misery to bliss, and now has his own page on Facebook:  [Furless Fred a Happy Tail].

Back in October, a rescuer from the Midwest Animal Rescue & Services had gone to a high-kill shelter in Arkansas to pick up a load of larger dogs and bring them back to Minnesota for adoption.  As she was leaving, she saw Fred.  He was wretched.  He had mange, a yeast infection, a bacterial infection, an ear infection and bad teeth.

But that face… She just couldn’t leave him behind.

When Fred got to Minnesota, he settled into a foster home and was put up for adoption. The Facebook page was created to raise money for his considerable medical bills and to find him a home.  He got plenty of attention, and people started donating doggie clothes to protect his ravaged body from the Minnesota cold.  Fred, who by now was nicknamed “Furless Fred,” loved his new wardrobe and shamelessly mugged for the camera on his Facebook page.

Glory Hill, the housing manager at Ecumen Lakeview Commons, heard about him and went to take an in-person look.  “When I first saw him, I fell in love with his face,” she recalls. At that point, he was a hairless, disease-ridden mess. But there was something about him.

That face.  “I just couldn’t get him out of my mind,” Glory says.  She didn’t adopt him on the spot.  She wanted to think about it.  And it was all she could think about until she went back and signed the papers.

Now Fred comes to work with Glory and has a good job at the Ecumen assisted living and memory care community.  He’s totally off the meds, and his hair is growing back nicely— except on his tail.

Fred’s main job is to make people happy, and he is exceptionally good at it.  He’s a champion snuggler. Residents often pop into Glory’s office and say things like: “If it’s OK, I’m going to watch Fred today while you’re at lunch.”

Chins are bred to be easy-going companion dogs.  Glory speculates that Fred was somebody’s very special dog before he fell on hard times.  He definitely has companionship down.  Only a truly evil person could walk away and leave him, so maybe he was stolen and then abandoned.   

Whatever happened in the past, it’s surely behind him. Everybody is his friend, and nothing much upsets him.  He enjoys going out in the lobby and sitting with all the folks who want to hold him.  When Glory picks up his special blanket — the one he was wrapped in after his rescue — he knows it’s time to go to work.

But there is one little complication — another dog at Ecumen Lakeview Commons, named Bauer, who was here first. 

Bauer, also a rescue dog, is a Border Collie-Australian Shepard mix, who belongs to Jen Rassmussen, the recreation therapy director.  Bauer has his routine of walking around to visit his special friends.  Maybe he’ll crawl in bed with someone and take a nap, or maybe he’ll chase a ball if somebody wants to throw it.

Bauer is a herding dog with lots of energy.  Sometimes too much.  Today he got kicked out of exercise class for being too rowdy.  Whatever.  He just went to memory care, where the recreational therapy group was falling asleep.  Bauer lit up the room.

So Bauer and Fred are slowly checking each other out, literally circling each other when they are together.  The staff is committed to making sure that both of these guys fit in.

They both have defined responsibilities, commensurate with their skills.  Fred is an accomplished lap dog with superior cuddling ability, and Bauer is an expert on fun with an exceptional talent for frolicking. 

It works: two rescue dogs, pleased to be working here at Ecumen Lakeview Commons, taking care of their people.


Heritage at Irene Woods in Memphis Hosts Official Dedication

Heritage at Irene Woods, a new Ecumen-managed senior living community near Memphis, Tenn., hosted its official dedication ceremony January 10, 2014, welcoming about 100 local officials, business owners and health care professionals for tours and lunch.

The dedication festivities included a program featuring Warren Rose, CEO of Edward Rose & Sons, the owner and developer of Heritage at Irene Woods and Julie Murray, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and New Business Development at Ecumen, along with local dignitaries.

Mark Luttrell, Mayor of Shelby County, sent a proclamation officially welcoming Heritage at Irene Woods to the community.

Heritage at Irene Woods recently opened with independent living, assisted living and memory care units. This is Ecumen’s first managed community in Tennessee and with partner Edward Rose & Sons, headquartered in Michigan.  In the summer of 2014, Ecumen will begin managing another Edward Rose community in Clinton Township, Mich. 

Heritage at Irene Woods provides 140 private apartments to people age 65+ all available on a monthly rental basis with no entrance fees. The community, totaling more than 165,000 square feet, has multiple common areas for the use of residents including three dining venues, a chapel, theater, pub, library, yoga/wellness center, salon and day spa, children’s area, Arboretum sun room, outdoor patios and garden areas. A team of licensed care staff are on-site 24-hours a day, for residents who need or require assistance.

The 150-acre Heritage campus, between Germantown and Collierville, will become a multi-generational neighborhood over the next five years that not only has a broad spectrum of senior living services, but also an adjacent multi-family apartment development sharing the amenities. The campus currently includes a three-story independent and assisted living building and a one-level memory care community with connected outdoor gardens and views overlooking Irene Woods.

For more information call 901-737-4735 or visit

Ecumen Meadows Is Part of Worthington’s 85-Year-Old Christmas Tradition

 In the late 1920s, the Worthington, Minn., community came together to make sure the poorest of the poor in Nobles County had food and gifts for Christmas.  Bushel baskets were filled with home-canned foods and delivered to the poor.  The program continued, year after year, getting bigger and better.  The bushel baskets are now shopping carts, filled with a wide range of food, clothes and toys.

Last week staff and assisted living residents from Ecumen Meadows were part of the volunteer team filling the baskets with donations.  Earlier, Ecumen Meadows Activities Director Cheryl Dinsmore had already made three trips to the church collection site with boxes of donations from Ecumen Meadows.

“This is a phenomenal community project,” says Nancy Garvin, housing manager at Ecumen Meadows.  “Everybody pulls together.”

School children conduct drives.  High school students sell treats to raise money. Churches appeal for donations, and musicians hold benefit concerts.  It’s an all-volunteer community effort, with no paid staff or government funds.

The American Reformed Church serves as the distribution center.  This year volunteers filled 65 baskets for delivery to those who could not come to the church.  And another 180 families come to the church to pick out what they need.  Families eligible for the program are identified by social workers and clergy.

“It’s just fantastic to be a part of this,” Nancy says.  “It’s an incredible event.”

It’s National Flu Vaccination Week: Seniors Especially Need the Shot

This is National Influenza Vaccination Week, serving as a reminder that there is still time to get your flu shot and be protected for the holidays.  It’s especially important for seniors— adults 65 and older— to get vaccinated because they are more susceptible to the flu due to weaker immune systems.

For seniors, the seasonal flu can be very serious, even deadly. Ninety percent of flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people age 65 and older.

Seniors have two options for vaccination: the regular dose flu shot and the high-dose shot that prompts a stronger immune response. Talk to your health care provider to decide which one is right for you.

To get your shot, check with your health care provider or visit and click on “Vaccine Clinic Look-Up” to find an influenza vaccination clinic near you.

Health officials recommend that everyone six months of age and older be vaccinated for the flu.  Influenza vaccinations are recommended for all Minnesotans over age 6 months, but they are especially important for young children 6 months to 5 years old, seniors, people of any age with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, people living with or caring for those at high risk for complications from influenza, and health care workers.

Vaccination costs will vary by site but are free to those with Medicare Part B. Residents are reminded to bring their Medicare and health insurance cards to the clinic. Also, wearing short sleeves (under a sweater if it’s cold) makes it easier to get vaccinated. For those who don’t like shots, a nasal spray is also available at many clinics for healthy people ages 2 through 49.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory infection affecting the nose, throat and lungs that can lead to serious complications for some people. (It is not the “stomach flu.”) The annual vaccination is the best way to reduce risk of serious illness.

Seniors who develop flu-like symptoms should contact their health care providers immediately. Since seniors are at high risk for flu-related complications, health care providers may prescribe antiviral medications to help make symptoms less severe and speed recovery.

The Minnesota Department of Health has a special flu website at providing more information on the illness.  Also the federal government has more information at and a special section on seniors and the flu at

Ecumen CEO Kathryn Roberts and Roger Bock

Heritage at Irene Woods, an Ecumen-Managed Community, Rolls Out Its New Approach to Senior Living Near Memphis

Heritage at Irene Woods near Memphis, Tenn., recently welcomed its first independent-living residents and the assisted living and memory care units will open October 1. The senior living community, located at Forest Hill Irene Road and Bill Morris Parkway near I-385, is in the first phase of a long-term development plan that includes multi-family housing.

“This is the only senior living community of its kind in this area-- offering exceptional value and a completely new and different approach,” said Charlotte Curtis, marketing manager for the development. “These apartment homes are definitely larger and less costly than many of the other newer communities near here. Plus, we are in a beautiful setting in an ideal location, with superior services and amenities.  No detail has been overlooked.”

This is Ecumen’s first managed community in Tennessee and with partner Edward Rose & Sons, headquartered in Michigan.  In the summer of 2014, Ecumen will begin managing another Edward Rose community in Clinton Township, Mich. 

 The 150-acre Heritage campus, between Germantown and Collierville, will become a multi-generational neighborhood over the next five years that not only has a broad spectrum of senior living services but also an adjacent multi-family apartment development sharing the amenities. “This will be a community for all ages,” Charlotte said. “It will truly fulfill Ecumen’s belief that growing older, no matter what the age or phase, is all about living.  Residents will have the freedom, choice and flexibility to enjoy the way of life they love with all the familiar comforts and traditions and the opportunity to pursue new experiences and connections.” 

The Heritage community is in a rural setting with small-town ambiance with towering live oak trees, deep woods and fields, yet is only minutes away from retail services, restaurants, shopping, Memphis International Airport, places of worship, golf courses and hospitals and clinics. 

The campus includes a three-story independent and assisted living building and a one-level memory care community with connected outdoor gardens and views overlooking Irene Woods. The entire community totals over 165,000 square feet and offer 140 units of senior living apartments,all available on a monthly rental basis with no entrance fees. 

“As residents’ needs change,” Charlotte said, “they will have access to all the benefits of a complete retirement community lifestyle, yet pay only for what they need, when they need it.”

Among the amenities at Heritage are three dining venues, concierge services, an arboretum, library and media room, club lounge and game room, on-site bank, general store, barber/beauty shop and spa, fitness and wellness studio, movie theater and chapel, outdoor courtyards, patios and walking paths, and indoor gardening.

For a tour or more information contact Charlotte Curtis at (901) 318-3886 or or visit