The Lost Remedies of Broken Love by Jim Klobuchar

Ecumen blooger Jim Klobuchar takes a tongue-in-cheek trip down memory lane, longing for the days when music captured good old fashioned despair in ways that could make you laugh and cry at the same time.

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Senior man and woman having coffee at table seen through window

Ecumen Bethany Community To Receive Top Business Award

For its impact on the Alexandria, Minn., area, the Ecumen Bethany Community will receive the 2014 Business and Industrial Appreciation Day (BIAD) Award from the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission and Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. See the Echo Press’s story: Ecumen Bethany Receives 2014 BIAD Award

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Shelley Kendrick, Vice President of Operations <img>

The Minnesota Boychoir Brings Early Mother’s Day Joy To the Residents at Ecumen Lakeview Commons

The Minnesota Boychoir performed an early Mother’s Day concert at Ecumen Lakeview Commons on Saturday, May 3, to a packed house of residents, guests and caregivers.

The Cantar and Cantando ensembles performed “Why We Sing,” including “Pie Jesu” and “Wynken, Blynken and Nod,” and closing with “I’ll Make the Difference.” The choir members handed out gerbera daisies to the women in the audience following their performance.

“My grandma left with two daisies and the biggest smile on her face!” said Amy Williams, who is Ecumen’s major gifts officer. “The residents had a fantastic time.  There was plenty of toe-tapping, clapping, and even some shouts of encouragement from the audience. The choirs were really fantastic and the flowers they gave at the end of the program were lovely and meaningful.” 

Jen Rasmussen, the activity director at Ecumen Lakeview Commons, said residents are still talking about how great the boys could sing at such a young age and how cute they all are.  “We had 70 boys in our lobby for almost three hours and every single one of them was a class act,” Jen said. “They were so very polite, quiet and sweet to the residents.”

The Boychoir “welcomes and embraces members of diverse faiths, races, and social and economic backgrounds.” Boys ages 7 to 18 come from communities throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area and perform in one of three ensemble groups – Cantar, Cantabile or Allegro – and are led by artistic director Mark S. Johnson.

“This is a good place to be for a lot of boys. Lots of kids search for a place to be – to belong. Here, boys with a common interest in singing can hang out, become friends and grow together, both as singers and as young men,” said Johnson, who was quoted in the Boychoir’s program.

The choir, founded in 1962, is celebrating its 50th anniversary season of providing choral music training, education and performance opportunities. Upcoming free concerts will be held in St. Paul on Saturday, May 31, and Minneapolis on Sunday, June 8. Visit for more information.

Ecumen Lakeview Commons in Maplewood, Minn., offers enriching activities and performances for residents and their families every week. To learn more about upcoming events or how to volunteer, please call 651-770-1111 or visit

Shelley Kendrick, Vice President of Operations <img>

Changing Aging Video: Ashley, LPN at Ecumen Bethany Community

"It's a good variety. A lot of people think nursing can be the same thing every day when you work in a nursing home. But it's completely different. You have different challenges every day and you definately need to stay on the ball. It's just great - I love it!"

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Ecumen Bethany Awards Scholarships for Long-Term Care Education

Seven staff members at Ecumen Bethany Community in Alexandria, Minn., received spring semester scholarships totaling almost $7,000 to continue their educational goals in the long-term care career field.  An Alexandria Echo Press story highlights the program.

Ecumen Bethany Community’s Rehabilitation and Outpatient Therapy Gets Chuck Back in the Boat

Chuck woke up one morning paralyzed by a rare nervous system disorder that required long hospitalization, followed by in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation at Ecumen Bethany Community in Alexandria, Minn. Chuck recalls how Ecumen therapy staff supportively pushed him toward his goal of being able to climb into a boat and go fishing.  “If the staff wasn’t so good,” he says, “the result wouldn’t be so good.”

Chuck tells his story in the video below: 



Gingerbread House Tradition Thrives at Ecumen Communities

When building a house that you want to be warm and inviting around the holidays, clearly the best material is gingerbread.  Gingerbread is timeless, sturdy, traditional and pleasing to the eye — and nose and mouth.  

At Ecumen Lakeview Commons in Maplewood, Minn., and Ecumen Bethany Community in Alexandria, Minn., residents, their families and staff are feasting their eyes on elaborate gingerbread displays and probably harboring naughty temptations to eat a roof or a door.

For the last eleven years, Glen Glancy, foodservices director at Ecumen Lakeview Commons has volunteered his time to build gingerbread displays.  For him, it’s an art form he takes very seriously.  He starts with his imagination and makes scale drawings to guide his work.  Then he makes all the gingerbread and royal icing from scratch.  Displays have ranged from castles and cathedrals to a fire station street scene.  This year’s display is a farmhouse and barn and Santa in his sleigh.

At Ecumen Bethany, clients in the day services program built a gingerbread village under the supervision of Geralyn Anderson, who is a day services assistant.  She baked all the pieces for the buildings from scratch and brought them in for clients to assemble and decorate.

Geralyn volunteered her time and supplies to assist clients in constructing the village, which is mostly edible. 

“It was so much fun hearing the clients reminisce and laugh as they glued, embellished and frosted,” said Randee Hall, the Ecumen Bethany director of community services and marketing.  “We caught a few nibblers in the act, too.”

Randee says Geralyn is always willing to lend a helping hand.  “She is so patient and will latch onto a client that may need extra assistance so they don’t get discouraged.”

The tradition of building holiday gingerbread houses has survived for 200 years — longer than a lot of brick and mortar.  Some gingerbread historians say the first houses were built in Germany in the early 1800s, inspired by Grimm’s fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.”

America's Seniors Report Feeling Much Less Tired Than People in their 20s and Teens

For years a stereotype of aging is that you get tired as you grow older.  But new research analysis is putting that stereotype to rest.

Laura Kurdna is a researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Science who recently analyzed answers from the 2010 American Time Use Survey, a national survey sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  This particular survey was the first to ask people about their energy levels.  Each person in the study kept a daily journal of what they did the previous day, how they felt about those activities and how tired they were while doing them.

Americans ages 65 and older reported being less tired than older teens and young 20-somethings.  Interestingly, tiredness dropped off after age 40 and continued decreasing with age.  Read more in this L.A. Times article, and here's a link to the study.