Category Archives: For the Family

Trudy’s Treat

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Judy-Trudy (1)

The Iowa corn harvest was in for the most part. Time for Activities Director Judy Wallace to relive some good times with her friend Trudy Woudstra at Fieldcrest Senior Living in Sheldon. At 87, Trudy has earned a reputation as a resident cheerleader during her more than four years at Fieldcrest. Judy appreciates the moral support, as does the rest of the staff.

“It’s the socializing after breakfast that gets folks going in the morning,” says Judy. And Trudy owns up to a mealtime maneuver that has helped her diet. “I’ve been putting my dessert in a man’s scooter basket, and I think he likes it,” Trudy confesses. “I have a family wedding coming up in May and I hope my dress still fits me.”

Trudy has six kids, 18 grandchildren and a whole lot of great grandchildren. It’s a granddaughter getting married. While her recovery from a fall contributed to the initial decision to move to Fieldcrest, Trudy didn’t resist.

“My kids thought it was best that I move here,” Trudy says, recalling the time after her hospitalization and therapy. “And they thought I should give up my car too.”  But she doesn’t feel isolated, since Fieldcrest has a bus that provides transportation just about anywhere.

She’s also glad that Fieldcrest offers weekly church services in which she participates. In fact, Trudy says, the recipient of her re-appropriated dessert gifts often does devotions, “and he does a good job,” she says.  

Fieldcrest Assisted Living offers 69 one and two bedroom apartments for seniors who value a variety of ways to spread joy, and want access to personal care and supportive services. We also offer 12 memory care suites that provide a long term option for seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.

Sibling Nomads, Bonded by Humor

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Leonard & Juanita blog and FB

Laughter comes easy for Garnette Gardens residents Juanita Horn and her younger brother Leonard Eller, especially considering the life challenges they’ve experienced. She is 92 and he’s 88, born near Redwood Falls on the Lower Sioux Reservation, to a mother who was half Native American and a father who had immigrated from Germany. There were seven kids in the family.

All those facts contributed to the challenge, growing up in the aftermath of the Great Depression. During the lead-up to World War II, cultural distrust also was present. Juanita recounts stories of tension and discrimination because of her German-born father, who came to the U.S. when he was three. It was enough to compel her to leave the reservation.

Leonard and his wife Catie moved to Garnette Gardens in 2006. She died last March, in memory care, at the age of 100. “There couldn’t be a better place to be,” Leonard says of his 12 years at Garnette Gardens. That follows a nomadic pattern in earlier years, where he and Catie lived in Fairbanks, Alaska and several Minnesota locations.

Juanita also had multiple moves, to Texas, Arizona, Oregon and Florida before she and her late husband Dick settled back to Minnesota. Before his retirement he was a merchant sea captain. Juanita would occasionally accompany him on voyages to exotic destinations, as an honorary member of the crew. Juanita eventually rented her own Garnette Gardens apartment last May, on the other side of the building from Leonard. In addition to his companionship, Garnette’s shuttle bus was a selling point in Juanita making the move. “Besides, this is a beautiful place,” Juanita says.

With twinkles in their eyes, the siblings agree that humor has been a constant companion in their colorful lives. “I’ve always had humor,” remarks Juanita. “It’s been part of me all my life. I’ve never been really down.”

“We’ve been through some tough stuff you know?” says Leonard. “But you try to keep your humor and your common sense above everything else.”

Assisted Living at Garnette Gardens makes a lot of common sense. The community offers 61 one and two bedroom apartments for seniors who value their independence, but want access to personal care and supportive services. We also offer 16 memory care suites that provide a long term option for seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Care Suites round out the options, offering a temporary option for people recovering from surgery or illness or where enhanced assisted living services are necessary.

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 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.