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Getting care while staying independent in assisted living

When Marion and Fritz Carlson moved to Ridge View Estates Assisted Living at Good Samaritan Society – Pipestone in Minnesota, the couple moved even closer to old friends.
“Always come here to get my clothes,” Marion says walking into The Clothier by Dawn in downtown Pipestone.
From a retail therapy perspective, it’s been a huge upgrade for Marion’s quality of life. She and her husband used to live east of town in Lake Wilson.
“It has been in this case, that’s for sure,” Marion says about being a few blocks away from the shop she has frequented for decades.
Society assisted living manager Melissa McCorquodale says residents often share with her they should have come to the location sooner.
“I think there’s a stigma that assisted living is a place you go and never leave. Definitely not the case. It’s a place to come here and just kind of live that maintenance-free lifestyle. Whether you need just a little bit of care, very minimal, to a more extensive amount,” McCorquodale says.
In the case of the Carlsons, Fritz, 86, has Alzheimer’s. Marion needed some help looking after him.
The 83-year-old says the idea was to “make a move before it was too late.”
“I would consider it a blessing that we’re still together and doing things,” Marion says.
Having found the perfect fit, the Carlsons are getting the care they need and staying independent.
“Assisted living is just basic, somebody assisting in your everyday life,” says McCorquodale. “When life gets a little too tough, or just not so easy to do, like helping get dressed. Just can’t perform the same that you could before but just (need) a little extra TLC we like to say.”
McCorquodale says that tender love includes three meals a day with coffee time in between.
“It’s one of the most important things,” lead cook Kisha Stands says. “The food.”
With a large dining hall, residents enjoy gathering with others for a meal.
“It’s like a family here,” Stands says.
Unlike a nursing home or long-term care center, people in assisted living come and go often and have their very own apartments.
“The help is fantastic,” resident and Army veteran Dick Paulsen says from the recliner of his two-bedroom apartment.
The homelike environment he’s been living in for six months features many keepsakes from his previous house.
“(Residents) still have that sense of independence but yet somebody there when things might be just a little too tough or just needing a little extra help,” McCorquodale says.
Access to 24/7 medical care is available on-site. Group exercises also take place several times a week.
Spinning up favorite activities, such as bingo, is a specialty too.
“How do we keep our residents healthier longer to be able to stay in their own homelike setting longer,” McCorquodale says.
Living with purpose and making new friends along the way with compassionate staff nearby, it’s the right call.
“I just enjoy the people and the work that I get to do and the value system and just everything that the Good Samaritan Society stands for. Especially in a rural town where everybody is close knit and believes in the value of community and people,” McCorquodale says about serving others in Pipestone.
Creating joyful moments every day.
“We try to support them wherever they are in their life. So, if somebody, for example, likes to go downtown shopping, we set that up with our wellness assistant,” McCorquodale says.

Posted In People & Culture, Senior Services

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