Category Archives: Uncategorized

We’re Good

Posted on
Welcome plant - blog

Listening plays a big role in the selection of a senior living community, as a Twin Cities East Metro resident learned when she visited Vista Prairie at River Heights in South St. Paul.

We’ll call her “Mary.” After that initial visit, the family decided to leave a deposit on an apartment. When her River Heights hosts asked if she wanted to sample some other potential locations before making a commitment, Mary responded, “No, we’re good.”

Was it the quiet neighborhood, or the friendly staff that convinced her so quickly? While those probably contributed, it was more likely two other factors –

– this flowerpot that the staff had prepared for Mary to take with her. During an initial phone interview, Mary had commented that she’s an avid gardener.

– that her cat (and best friend) Toby could move in with her.

“She is pretty sad about the transition as she misses her screened in porch where she and Toby shared time together,” reflected River Heights’ Danielle Lloyd. “Well, Toby is now welcome here at River Heights. We’re a pet friendly community.”

Well done, Vista Prairie staff and congratulations, Mary, on your good discernment skills! The gardens at River Heights and several fellow gardeners welcomed you when you moved in recently. We think River Heights will fill you with joy, in addition to Toby, who sits right beside you on the terrace, watching the leaves change color.

Want to learn more about River Heights? Call Danielle at 651-326-6501.

Why We Do What We Do

Posted on
vpc-June-Why-We-Do-What-We-Do

Two phrases stand out in the Vista Prairie Communities mission statement, “compassionate care and joy filled environments.” A family member recently sent a letter to our staff at Fieldcrest Senior Living Community, which remarkably defines what we mean with those words.

“There have been so many times when Fieldcrest staff have gone above and beyond our expectations in the one and a half years our parents have resided in this assisted living,” reads the letter.

The letter was from the daughter of one of our residents who passed away in March. Before her death, staff members in Fieldcrest’s Memory Care unit cared for her briefly.  Her husband, LeRoy, still resides in one of Fieldcrests’s assisted living apartments. The letter was addressed to Fieldcrest Director of Health Services Jennifer Anderson, who is pictured here reading the letter to LeRoy.

The kind words, hugs, prayers, and support for Dad and our family throughout Mom’s journey –”  That’s just one of the specific points the letter makes to illustrate “compassion and joy.” There are twelve more.

Fieldcrest Executive Director Cal Diekmann reflected on the letter, “This is why we do what we do! There were many tears and heartfelt times with the family.” Cal described how the whole Fieldcrest crew went above and beyond. “We love what we do!” Cal exclaimed. While she was a favorite of many staff members, Cal also confirms that the quality of care for her was not all that rare.

“Everyone treated Mom with love and respect from the day she arrived to the very end, for that we will be forever grateful!” the letter concluded. “You are lovely people who do amazing work for the residents of Fieldcrestl You will always hold a very special place in our hearts.”

Purpose Does Not Equal Perfection

Posted on
Connie Platz

Connie’s life purpose is to help people, even though she’s not living out that purpose as a nurse, like she planned. In the early ‘80s when she and her twin sister were in nursing school in St. Cloud, there was scant information about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a condition they were later diagnosed to have.

“When we read about it in our abnormal psychology nursing books, there wasn’t much written about OCD,” Connie recalls. “In school we were told that OCD was caused by ‘an overanxious family environment.’ We’ve come full circle, because OCD is now understood as a biological chemical imbalance in the brain.”

At the relatively young age of 55, after losing her marriage, leaving the nursing profession and the frustrations of cycling through job after job, Connie’s mother suggested moving into an assisted living community. Vista Prairie at Monarch Meadows in North Mankato has become a significant part of her OCD therapy, funded through government disability payments.  She had tried almost all the different medications for OCD. She did months of in-patient behavior therapy and underwent deep brain stimulation surgery, which uses a brain implant. Nothing worked long-term.

Since her move in March, Connie has high hopes that Monarch Meadows is the answer she has sought for more than 30 years. She describes the resident assistants as her “coaches and cheerleaders,” all at the same time, “Since I moved here, there’s quite a difference. When my mother asks how I’m doing, I say ‘I’m doing good mom!’”

Connie’s OCD will never go away, but she can cope much better now, with the friendships she has and 24-hour support. “I still worry about making mistakes,” she says. “It’s like having a battle in your brain all of the time.”

Connie stays in close contact with her sister, who lives in New Ulm. The two turned their disability into service, offering workshops for health care professionals titled, “Double the Trouble, the Troubling Effects of OCD.”

“We wanted to speak at schools but at the time the schools were saying, ‘how can you talk about a mental illness when you’re mentally ill yourself.’ The reason we wanted to approach schools is because OCD can hit at a young age. If you can catch it early, while their brains are still developing, they can get help quicker,” Connie explains.

Connie’s most recent workshop about the complexities of OCD was for the Monarch Meadows staff.  “We like to get the word out and educate people about OCD, so that there isn’t so much stigma.”

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Know the Facts

Posted on
Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Know the Facts

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer risks, the importance of early detection through screening, and treatment options available. An estimated 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, with rates of breast cancer increasing in women over age 70.

The best way to protect yourself against breast cancer is to understand the facts and be aware of the warning signs. Read on to learn some of the essential facts you should know about breast cancer detection, risk factors, and outlook.

Continue reading “Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Know the Facts” »

Jim Bettendorf, Vista Prairie CEO, Named to LeadingAge’s 50 for Next 50 List

Posted on
Jim Bettendorf 50 For the Next 50

LeadingAge Minnesota recently recognized 50 professionals in Minnesota who are innovative and influential leaders within the senior living realm, during their celebration at their 50th Anniversary Dinner last Thursday.

Continue reading “Jim Bettendorf, Vista Prairie CEO, Named to LeadingAge’s 50 for Next 50 List” »