While Josie Olander’s service helps awaken the senses of Copperleaf residents, she didn’t expect it to include painting a mural on one of the memory care unit’s walls. Executive Director Jennie Marcus had the idea, and Josie, who joined the staff a little over a year ago, made it happen. She painted a couple hours at night, starting around Thanksgiving and going into early December — after her regular evening shift ended.
“A farm scene came to mind,” Josie says about the process. “I come from a family of farmers; my grandpa was a farmer and my uncle still is, in Renville County.”
Several memory care residents chatted as Josie created during the three-week sketching and painting process. She remembers one who had especially valuable advice. “He raised horses and his information flowed out as he stepped back into that role. It was just awesome,” she remembers. “He also taught architectural drafting… so when I was drawing the barn, he had some legitimate pointers on my perspective.” And perhaps the ultimate affirmation for an artist – “the resident said the mural brings a lot of life to the place.”
Josie’s resident assistant role takes her to all three Copperleaf choices: assisted living, care suites and memory care. “I just want to help out where needed,” she explains. Variety in her work is a theme. During the day she’s a para-professional at Dream Technical Academy in Willmar, providing an opportunity to practice her professional skills with high school youth as well.
Josie also responded to some self-imposed pressure – completing the mural in time for the annual Copperleaf holiday party. “I stayed that night until about two in the morning, but I got it done!”
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.