Tag Archives: Monarch Meadows

Teacher’s pet

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At the age of 95, Lorraine’s life is defined by teaching. Her cat, Pretty Lady, is her constant companion at Vista Prairie at Monarch Meadows in North Mankato, MN.

“She was a cat that they threw out on the street and the Humane Society ended up with her,” Lorraine remembers. “I had just put down my cat that I had for 18 years and I swore I would never get another one. But here’s this little cat that they figured was eight then. I’ve had her for nine years.”

Inspired by a childhood teacher, Lorraine started her own career in the classroom, in Morrison County’s Cushing, MN when she was just 19, after less than a year of teacher training. She loved it, amid its challenges.

“They tested me every inch of the way,” Lorraine recalls, with a twinkle in her eye. “Some days I’d go to school and I’d have a nest of frogs in my desk.” The school was located on top of a hill with a little pond below, a perfect habitat for frogs — and mischief. “Oh, we have a new science project today,” she’d reply. “The trick was to stay ahead of them.”

Lorraine and her husband raised six kids. He was a mechanic, who died when he was just 60. She later went back to what is now Minnesota State in Mankato to get her teaching degree and graduated the same year her oldest son graduated from high school. With her new diploma, she taught sixth grade in Garden City, MN, eventually becoming the principal of that school. Nobody in her family had ever gone past the seventh grade.

Later in her career, Lorraine took on some additional training and switched to teaching adults to read. Her first client was John, a 45-year-old auto body mechanic. “I asked him why he wanted to learn to read, ‘Well my daughter’s going to go to school and it would be awful if I can’t read back to her,’” she recounts.

John and Lorraine are still in touch. Soon after she moved into Monarch Meadows three years ago, John came to visit her and Pretty Lady. She also loves it, of course, when her kids and grandkids come to visit. You’ll find her in the dining room, now that residents can eat together again, welcoming new people when they move in.

Monarch Meadows, located in North Mankato, MN is one of our largest communities, with 86 one-and-two-bedroom assisted living apartments and 12 care suites. Call Nancy at 507-386-2451 to book a tour.

Vote for Vista Prairie

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With more than nine years of appetizing service for Vista Prairie at Monarch Meadows, Chef Barry Ahl is the senior Culinary Manager among all his peers at our eight communities. While he’s not running for office, his involvement in the Mankato area has earned wide community support.

Among Monarch’s unique features, Chef Barry and Executive Director Andrea Rupe have a virtual culinary demonstration on the drawing board, where residents, family members and the public can get help in preparing favorite holiday dishes. They’re planning the first installment this month.

“I can show them how really basic and easy it is to make a traditional Thanksgiving meal, right down to the homemade cranberries and giblet gravy,” says Chef Barry. “You know, some people don’t even know how to dress a turkey.”

The Monarch dining room recently opened for residents to have their meals, spaced one person per table, after a summer where all meals were delivered to each apartment – to ensure healthy nutrition.

“We made sure that we were taking care of every resident, one by one, going into their apartment, making sure that they ate three meals a day and a snack.”

Now that the dining room is reopened, the residents are delighted to see more of each other.

“One lady come up to me and said – ‘This is the best meal I’ve had nine years.’ Everybody’s walking around and smiling so I’m kind of like Santa Claus, because every day I get to cook really good meals,” Barry reflects. “That puts a smile on their face. That’s what joy basically is — with a smile or getting a compliment or getting a wink.”

Can we count your vote for Vista Prairie at Monarch Meadows? Call 507-386-2451 to book a tour. Monarch Meadows, located in North Mankato, MN is one of our largest communities, with 86 one-and-two-bedroom assisted living apartments and 12 care suites.

A passion for painting

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While painting was never Jan’s profession, it’s been her passion since she was a little girl. For about a year, Jan has been painting as a resident of Monarch Meadows in North Mankato, the last four months under coronavirus control conditions.

Jan devoted her career to health care, as a registered nurse and nursing supervisor. In addition to her own profession she married a physician, her high school sweetheart, in Ottumwa, Iowa. His death prompted her two daughters to find Monarch Meadows and move her in. While the transition was hard, Jan says she was impressed with Monarch’s cleanliness.

As Monarch became her home, she returned to painting.

“I’ve always loved art,” Jan reflects. “It began watching my dad sketch. My grandfather was a professional artist. I grew up hearing about his art and seeing his artwork.”

Jan, now 81, inherited her grandfather’s love of oil painting, which is also her favorite medium. She’s pictured here with her latest work, a still-life that was in her imagination before she created it on canvas.

“The pillow started it,” Jan explains about her most recent inspiration. “The fabric fascinated me. My last painting is always my favorite.”

Jan was no less passionate about her life-long career in healthcare, which she says influenced the adult art classes she taught later, educating students about the toxicity of paint. “I tried to encourage people who thought they had nothing to do with art to become personally involved with it.”

In the future, Jan may have another opportunity to pass along her passion. There’s talk of setting up an in-house art gallery where Jan and other Monarch artists can display their work. Please call for a visit to Monarch Meadows, located in North Mankato, MN. It’s one of our largest communities, with 86 one-and-two-bedroom assisted living apartments and 12 care suites.

Find a Senior Living Community for You or a Loved One

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At Vista Prairie Communities, we are dedicated to serve those who entrust us with their lives, health and well-being. We transform lives by providing compassionate care and joy-filled environments in the communities we serve.

If you or someone you know is looking for assisted living apartments specifically for seniors, take a look at the different communities we have located around Minnesota.

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Chef Barry’s Wild Rice Chicken Salad

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Chef Barry of Vista Prairie at Monarch Meadows Senior Living Community is at it again! Try his delicious and easy wild rice chicken salad recipe below to help you get started on your path to wellness. Did we mention this recipe is the perfect dish to bring to gatherings and events? You’re sure to impress your friends and family with it.

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