Category Archives: Aging Resources

Pamela Rubis is Leading Safe Care in Fairmont

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Pamela Rubis at Goldfinch Estates in Fairmont

Vista Prairie Communities (VPC) has named Pamela Rubis as the Executive Director of its Goldfinch Estates Senior Living Community in Fairmont. She is responsible for all operations, contact with residents, staff and the community — in short, assuring Safe Care at Goldfinch Estates.

A veteran human service executive, Pamela brings 20 years of experience in leadership and marketing positions with senior care, a nursing home and homes for people with developmental disabilities. Her experience includes service in care communities in Adrian, Hutchinson, Lakefield, Luverne and Worthington, Minnesota. She assumes leadership of VPC’s largest community, with 92 one and two bedroom assisted living apartments and 41 memory care suites.

“We welcome Pamela to the Vista Prairie family of senior living communities,” said VPC Chief Operating Officer Kim Webster. “Pamela is known for her high quality care and her excellent communication, customer relations and interpersonal skills.”

Pamela obtained her Human Services certificate from Rochester Technical & Community College in Rochester and completed additional training in Project Management from the United States Geological Survey’s Data Center for Earth Resources Observation & Science in Sioux Falls, SD.

The Builders

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Roger and Arlyne (2)

For the 70 years they’ve been married, Roger and Arlyne Burghuis have been building something – highways in central Minnesota, a successful business, and a loving family. Roger grew up on a farm so he knew what hard work is all about. They were married shortly before he shipped off for Army duty in Korea. When he got back, he found work building roads with a Chippewa County contractor.

“We would improve roads mainly,” Roger recalls, “In later years, when they started the Interstate, we built 85 to 90 percent of Interstate 94 from Fargo to Minneapolis.” Roger operated those big earth movers during the ‘70s, and later managed the crew that prepared the road-bed for paving.

Roger and Arlyne’s next building project established their own Ski-Doo snowmobile dealership, in their home town of Clara City. It was a family affair. Arlyne kept the books, and their three kids helped with the business along with Roger’s brother. “If I remember right, I think I had about 500 sleds out,” Roger says.

Roger and Arlyne say they love Copperleaf, since it became home two years ago. “The people are friendly and they take good care of you,” Roger replies.

Copperleaf senior living community offers 55 one-and-two-bedroom Assisted Living apartments, seven Care Suites, providing 24-hour continuous senior care, and 20 Memory Care Suites, designed to awaken the senses and provide support.

Always a Teacher

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Aggie Skelton - resize

Aggie may have retired many years ago as an elementary school educator but that hasn’t slowed her life-long purpose to teach and to learn. Now 92, she’s pictured here behind an enormous photo of her late husband Clarence as they disembarked from a travel adventure.

On her dining table in her Vista Prairie studio apartment is Aggie’s latest Spanish vocabulary lesson, courtesy of Eddie, the River Heights maintenance manager. She reciprocates with an English phrase to broaden Eddie’s command of the language.

Aggie recounts her years teaching at Highland Elementary School in St. Paul. One year she was asked to teach a whole class of first graders from another school that had suffered a fire and was in a disadvantaged part of town.  

“I worked so hard with those kids and it really paid off,” she remembers. “At the end of the year, they had more than 60 schools in the St. Paul area and my kids made the top. I was so proud of those kids and they were from families with nothing, but they worked hard.” 

Aggie gave up her 35-year teaching career to care for Clarence when he became ill. After he passed away, Aggie went back to teaching on a voluntary basis. She eventually sold her condo about two years ago and moved into River Heights, where she had previously volunteered.  

Vista Prairie at River Heights is a warm and welcoming community in a quiet residential neighborhood in South St Paul. River Heights has the feel of being home, offering assisted living in 44 cozy studio, one- and two-bedroom senior apartments, as well as 16 memory care suites.

Generations

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Goldfinch Grandparents Day

Four generations were routine last week for Vista Prairie at Goldfinch Estates, in Fairmont, MN. That’s resident Rose Banks on the left, holding her great granddaughter, Plum, with granddaughter Kate smiling beside them.

They were among 30 family members who participated in the first ever Grandparents Day – a chance to honor the love and legacy represented in more than 100 Goldfinch residents. Rose is 103 and has called Goldfinch home for nearly nine years.

“It was a wonderful day; so many family members coming in and enjoying the day with their grandparents,” says Lead Care Coordinator Lori Cummins. “The smiles on all of the faces tell us how important this day was, so we will make this an annual event.”

Memory care resident Leona Lehman took the family tree honors, with five generations present.

Want to learn more about Goldfinch Estates? Call Mary Larson at 507-235-9405, ext. 10.

Live 2 B Healthy

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Florence and Mary Lou for web

Florence and Mary Lou are two of the early adopters, joining an exercise program started July 1 at Vista Prairie’s Windmill Ponds community in Alexandria. It’s one of the latest locations for Live 2 B Healthy – where a certified instructor brings vitality to seniors, three days a week.

“I’ve always exercised,” says Florence who is 90, but she says this program is more comprehensive. “They go all over your whole body, your arms and your legs and your shoulders.” The innovative program starts with a professional assessment, uses low-impact resistance bands rather than weights, and includes regular progress checks.

Ten to fifteen participants are already program regulars and benefiting in general wellness. “The residents have worked hard their whole lives,” reflects program founder Cory Czepa. “We believe it’s now time for them to enjoy life. Working side by side with each and every resident, Live 2 B Healthy® helps improve balance, coordination, flexibility, muscularity, stamina. As the body becomes healthier the spirit can soar.”

Mary Lou, 87, signed up with the encouragement of her daughter who is an RN. “She was so happy when they started this new program,” Mary Lou recounts. “She said that’s just what you need.”

The program is free to Windmill Ponds residents, but plans are to share the program with the community, starting in September.

“We’re inviting the public to join us at Windmill Ponds to participate, for a small monthly fee,” said Windmill Ponds Executive Director Chris Carter. Even before that, community members are invited to stop by and check it out. Dates and times for sessions are posted in the Windmill Ponds newsletter — and on the Live 2 B Healthy website.

Mary Lou sums it all up, “Once we’re through with a session, I can feel my muscles have had a workout.”