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A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Sunday to celebrate the opening of Heritage Cottages. Shown cutting the ribbon are, from left, Heritage Living Center Director Kurt Hansen; Vi Grover; Hubbard County Commissioner Dick Devine; Park Rapids Mayor Nancy Carroll; Kip Lof; Janet Green, representing Ecumen and Faith Baptist Church Pastor Russ Paulson. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Heritage Cottages welcoming residents

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Heritage Cottages officially joined the Heritage community Sunday via a ribbon cutting ceremony, with housing director Iva Thielges and home care coordinator Stacy Dupont welcoming residents.

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Human beings are "wired for independence," but some reach points in their lives when assistance is needed.

The living options at the Cottages at Heritage provide a balance of independence and health care assistance.

A subtle, home-like atmosphere greets individuals challenged by memory loss or in need of enhanced assisted living services. Memorabilia and photographs from days of yore provide a warm ambience in the setting overlooking Lindquist Park.

"It's all inclusive," Thielges explained, "with anything a resident needs."

Dupont, a registered nurse, is on call 24 hours a day with 24-hour "wake staff" on site.

"The services are tailored to the individual," Dupont explained of the restful, one-on-on environment, "to make it as much like home as possible."

Residents do not see an employee conducting a single task. Staff is cross-trained in housekeeping, meals, medication, bathing and other duties to provide an individualized, inner-active relationship with residents. "It's like being at home," Dupont said.

Residents arriving "usually don't want to be here," Thielges said. "It's unknown, scary." Staff takes this into consideration, helping residents through the "transition phase."

Each resident has a private studio apartment with three meals per day plus snacks, housekeeping, laundry services and a variety of social, recreational and spiritual activities. All entrances/exits are secured.

The cottages currently employ seven staff members - "and growing." Staff numbers depend on the acuity and needs of clients, Dupont said. "We staff according to needs."

Currently, three reside in the Cottages with four pending.

Residents "rise to dine." Each of the two wings holds a kitchen, similar to a family home. A staff member greets the resident, ready to create a breakfast to order from 5 to 10 a.m. The resident may assist with culinary duties, or simply wait for breakfast to be served.

Residents may dine at the dining room table or at the kitchen bar area.

"It's ideal for residents," Thielges said of the staff trained to befriend and support the residents.

The kitchen-dining area adjoins a "family room" replete with a large screen television and chairs and couches.

As a "community" Heritage provides for all levels of need," Thielges explained.

Park Villa is an independent senior living community.

Heritage Adult Day Services engages clients in activities ranging from exercising to reminiscing three days a week.

Heritage Manor is an assisted living community and Heritage Living Center is a skilled nursing care residence.

The Cottages offer specialized memory care.

Monthly fee to live in a Cottage unit is $3,600 to $3,800, depending on square footage.

The cottages are also home to an activity room, whirlpool and offer Internet access.

Heritage Cottages accepts Minnesota Group Residential Housing payments for qualified persons, private pay/co-pay, long-term care insurance and Medicaid.

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