Tag Archives: Vista Prairie at Monarch Meadows

Trust

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During their 70-year marriage and then some, Shirley and Ken have trusted each other in their most important decisions. They placed their trust in their daughter three years ago when they moved into Vista Prairie at Monarch Meadows in North Mankato, MN. Now 92, they look back on a life raising two girls and two boys, who have reciprocated with 14 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren, one of whom just entered college.

Most of Shirley and Ken’s working lives were spent operating a fourth-generation dairy farm in Nicollet County, where they milked 50 cows, raised chickens, and tended a variety of crops. Shirley says she particularly enjoyed raising 1,000 chickens and working in the fields. When it was time to slow down and hand over the farm to younger operators they decided to move to an apartment, where they lived for 12 years. Then came the decision to seek out assisted living.

“We decided to move ourselves,” Shirley says, “then our daughter started looking around and she thought this sounded good.” That was four months before the pandemic struck. While they stayed in touch by phone, Ken and Shirley agree it was a difficult time not seeing their family.

In hindsight, they’re happy they made the move when they did, including giving up their car, which they were still driving when they moved to Monarch Meadows.

Now, visiting is back in full swing. And when there’s no active COVID-19 outbreak to stifle, the community offers a well subscribed menu of activities from outings to the ever-popular bingo, Shirley’s favorite. Ken says he likes everything about the regular exercise program that Monarch Meadows provides, “It’s helping me with my balance,” he says.

The ultimate in trust for Ken and Shirley is their faith in God. Shirley describes her faith as part of her purpose now, “We’re supposed to talk about it to other people,” she says, “that the Lord is good.”

Thanks, Shirley and Ken for living your purpose, through trust.

Vista Prairie at Monarch Meadows offers 87 one-and-two-bedroom assisted living apartments and 11 care suites. We also provide two respite suites, for short-term care when home caregivers need a break. Call (507) 933-4681 to book a tour.

Dazzling bouquets

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The brilliant dahlia next to Shari Rich is just one of the dazzling bouquets gracing dining tables at Vista Prairie at Monarch Meadows in North Mankato, MN. As the community’s activities manager, Shari recently collaborated with area gardener Sharon Chader on a joy-filled event.

“She has a huge garden full of flowers,” Shari explained. “She calls it ‘Lessons from the Garden.’ She donates all these flowers, and she doesn’t want to take anything home with her. She gives a little lesson as she’s putting bouquets together, and then she turns it over to the residents.”

Click here to see the result on Facebook. It’s Sharon’s ministry of beauty. It’s Shari’s way to help residents thrive.

“It was so much fun,” Shari says, beaming. “The joy on their faces… people who don’t usually smile… ‘just look at what I have,’” they say.

Events like this are just one of many ways Shari helps residents find their smiles and joy. She and her activities assistants conduct daily exercise for better physical health. And she’s an entertainer as well, with an unusual talent. Twenty-five years ago, she and her late husband got involved in puppet ministry in their church.

“We took our puppet team to a festival in the Twin Cities,” Shari remembers. “I saw someone do ventriloquism and I was hooked.”

These days, Shari uses her menagerie of puppets for her ventriloquist routines, “Mine are all animals, except for a pink girl, one of three main puppets,” she says. “There’s also a skunk; her name is Daisy. She’s fabulous. And then my alligator, the residents are going to meet this month.”

Shari concludes that when Monarch Meadows residents thrive, they are the dazzling bouquets for her.

“I like to find out what interests them, what their past interests were,” Shari explains. “Seeing their faces light up when they see you, that is just amazing. It’s about making a difference in their lives. I love it.”

One of our largest communities, Vista Prairie at Monarch Meadows offers 87 one-and-two-bedroom assisted living apartments and 11 care suites. We also provide two respite suites, for short-term care when home caregivers need a break. Call Maddy at (507) 933-4681 to book a tour.

Perfect harmony

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Rev. Norman Madson found harmony through the friends he’s made and from his singing. Until his health took a turn for the worse, you’d often find him singing hymns in the front living room of Vista Prairie at Monarch Meadows. Usually, he doesn’t need his hymnal since he’d committed so many songs to memory.

Following his move-in last November, he quickly became acquainted with fellow residents. “It’s through the dining area where I have made my friends,” he says. One of our largest communities, Monarch Meadows is located close to the North Mankato townhouse where Norman and his wife Amanda lived, before she passed away about four years ago.

His son was instrumental with the move. “We just liked what we saw,” Norman recalls, “so when it was time for me to move out of my apartment, this was the place to go. I’m real satisfied with the decision.”

Rev. Madson was no stranger to moving. Through his 43-year career in the pulpit, he served Lutheran parishes in five Minnesota and Wisconsin communities. And during that time, he and his wife raised five children. His near-by son Michael stops in every day; they often enjoy watching sports together.

But beyond his love for Minnesota sports teams, it’s the hymn singing that sustains him. “My father was a pastor also,” he said. “Hymn singing was a big part of our family life. I had six brothers and sisters and we learned hymns by heart. Many of them I still know. When I go to bed, I say my regular evening prayers and then I’ll sing in bed all by myself. I’ll sing from six to a dozen hymns before I fall asleep.”

Norman mentioned that his memory is starting to fail. But how many of us can sing a dozen songs of any sort by memory? And what’s his favorite hymn? Without a beat, he recites the first verse —

“If thou but suffer God to guide thee,
And hope in Him through all thy ways,
He’ll give thee strength whate’er betide thee,
And bear thee through the evil days.
Who trusts in God’s unchanging word,
Builds on the rock that naught can move.”

He adds that his daughter Liz carries on in a ministry of her own. She started a Wisconsin greeting card company, Hymns in My Heart, that designs and sells cards comprised only of hymns.

Christmas came early

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For the past year, Tammy Roemhildt has carried out a challenging role on the staff of Vista Prairie at Monarch Meadows in North Mankato, MN. As the Lead Care Manager, she’s responsible to ensure that the community is appropriately staffed, 24-7, to provide the care that residents need. And in these pandemic times, when staffing issues are well known in every profession, it’s the most stressful part of Tammy’s work.

As for the best part of the job, “It’s the residents, every single day,” Tammy quickly answers. “The staff who work here are pretty great and they’re hearing from residents how much we’re truly appreciated.” She also qualifies her staffing frustrations, “I don’t even really hate that because in the end, I see success. The teamwork is phenomenal.”

Tammy’s colleagues noticed. They nominated her for statewide recognition from LeadingAge, Minnesota’s largest senior care association.

Tammy is no stranger to adversity. Among other personal challenges, she encountered spinal meningitis when she was a young girl. “I could have had physical limitations the rest of my life,” she explains, “but somehow I popped through. I could have been a recipient of the care I’m now providing to others.” She also overcame ovarian and cervical cancer at the age of 23.

Through all that adversity, she’s been a role model and career mentor to her own adult daughter. As a thank-you for her support, her daughter presented an early Holiday gift – 50-yard-line tickets to last month’s Vikings-Packers football game for Tammy and her husband. Tammy was rooting for the Packers while her husband is a Vikings fan. That epic struggle is a good symbol for the challenges Tammy has faced in her life.

“Life gets tough” Tammy says, “and you just have to push through. When I come in at 6 a.m. I know there’s somebody else going through something totally different. You gotta make those sacrifices.”

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 David at (507) 933-4681 to book a tour.

A cool tribute to a warm heart

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Bill’s loyalties are clearly communicated in the photo at left, from the kitchen at Vista Prairie at Monarch Meadows in North Mankato, MN. In addition to being a patriotic American, Bill is a loyal University of Iowa booster and a proud Air Force veteran. But none of those bonds compare to his deep love for Barb, his wife of 54 years, who passed away earlier this year.

Bill and Barb’s family asked how they could honor Barb in some tangible way. Culinary Manager Barry Ahl had the perfect answer — a brand-new icemaker, which sits between Chef Barry and Bill in the photo. The icy installation is the right tribute for Barb’s warm heart because she and Bill had served as Monarch Meadows’ Resident Ambassadors for many months. They greeted residents in the community’s two dining rooms at mealtimes. Barb also baked cookies to give away, every day.

This is just one of many big-hearted stories from Vista Prairie Communities. And there are many ways to give, to help us support our mission of compassion and joy. Tribute or memorial gifts not only help remember a loved one, they provide those extra comforts that may elude today’s stretched operating budgets. We also appreciate gifts for capital investments that improve and expand our spaces or provide enhanced equipment.

A donation to the community of your choice or to Vista Prairie Communities is completely tax-exempt. For more information on giving options, or ways to volunteer please contact us at 952.837.0540 or development@vistaprairie.org.