Tag Archives: Monarch Meadows

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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Meet Stacy Wihlm, Executive Director of Monarch Meadows Senior Living Community

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Stacy Wihlm of Monarch Meadows Senior Living in North Mankato

Stacy Wihlm, LNHA, LSW is the executive director of Monarch Meadows Assisted Living in North Mankato. She began her journey with Vista Prairie Communities in October 2011 and has loved every minute of it. Winner of the 2011 Distinguished Service Award from Care Providers of Minnesota, Stacy is devoted to her community. “It was such an honor to be nominated. I was on vacation with my family and we were eating dinner at a restaurant along the North Shore when I received the call that I was chosen,” Stacy remembers. “I began crying and I think my mom cried too! Everyone at the restaurant probably thought we were crazy.”

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