Category Archives: For the Family

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.

Freedom

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Ginna-Calvin-promotes-Trio-Bike-at-Copperleaf

A trishaw bike is a three-wheeled vehicle for two passengers, pedaled from behind.  Ginna Calvin, left, is the Staff Development Nurse at Vista Prairie’s Copperleaf Community in Willmar, MN. The picture within the picture shows Ginna giving a ride to residents Barb and Thea on a loaned trishaw bike. At a recent Copperleaf open house, Ginna was enthusiastically raising funds for Copperleaf to get its very own “Cycling Without Age” trishaw.  Why?  Freedom.

“We want our residents to experience, again, the freedom of being on a bike, like when they were kids,” Ginna explains. “Copperleaf is just across the road from a trail system that serves Destination Playground and Robbins Island Park. It’s Willmar’s central park and connects to one of the largest fully accessible recreational areas in the country.”

You’re invited to help make Copperleaf’s dream a reality! Please click here to contribute to the cause at Copperleaf. Designate your gift to “Cycling Without Age.”

We appreciate Ginna’s dedicated service and that of Staff Development Nurses in most Vista Prairie communities.  They work with residents to complete health assessments, provide employee orientation and training, conduct on-going education to existing staff, and offer great bike rides!

Compassion and Joy Without Walls

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Hands

Sorta like getting a sample at the ice cream shop, to learn if you like a flavor before you order two scoops. Wouldn’t it be great if you or a loved-one could do that with assisted living? Now you can, in two of our Minnesota communities.

Garnette Gardens in Redwood Falls and Monarch Meadows in North Mankato are piloting an innovative new service providing a low-cost preview of life as a resident. In both communities the service goes under the name “Senior Social Club.”

“We wanted to give folks a taste of what it might be like to live with us,” said Sales and Community Marketing Manager Colleen Marcus from Garnette Gardens.

Click on the two links above for details. Here are some of the common features in the two communities:

  • Transportation two days each week
  • A monthly meal plan with up to 10 meals per month
  • Participation in scheduled events at the community
  • Monthly home check-ins from a senior service professional
  • Seasonal “Wellness Gift Basket” for program participant

“The aging population is at risk for social isolation or loneliness,” says Monarch Meadows Executive Director Rachael Evers. “This is our way to provide an active and engaged lifestyle to those who are a part of our greater community.”

Interested?  Learn more online or on the communities’ Facebook pages or call (507) 644-8500 in Redwood Falls or (507) 344-0059 in North Mankato.

The service is the brainchild of Redwood Falls Executive Director Natalie Seehausen. “We know the decision to move from a long-time home is overwhelming and emotional,” Natalie reflects. “As we heard over and over … ‘I am just not ready.’ These programs will cultivate relationships with other residents that will change the decision from a NEED to move, to a WANT to move.”