A passion for helping others leads to innovative solutions in senior care

Since an early age Janelle Zimmerman knew it was in her blood to help others. Janelle’s parents both worked in long-term care throughout her childhood; her mom as a social worker and her dad as an administrator/regional director/purchasing director. “I have literally become my mom,” Janelle said with a laugh. “I started volunteering at the…

How one man changed my view on Alzheimer’s

I started my new role as an Administrator in July 2018 and during the first few weeks, a gentleman that sat across my office intrigued me. Norman Beeson reminded me of my grandfather. He was the type of guy you just wanted to hug and get to know. I often saw him wandering the hallways,…

Wilder Foundation’s Maureen Kenney on senior care: “Create communities across lifespans”

(Second of two parts) As we continued our conversation with Maureen Kenney, the Aging Services Director of the Wilder Foundation in St. Paul, we asked Kenney to speak to the caregiving landscape in Minnesota – what’s working, what further action is needed and how all Minnesotans can better support caregivers. (Responses edited for length.) Q:…

Senior living leader opens up about caregiver workforce challenges

As the Executive Director of Vista Prairie Communities, Rachael Evers sees firsthand the rewards and challenges of caring for seniors. But Evers worries about the growing demand for caregivers who provide the daily support many seniors need to age with dignity and respect. With Minnesota approaching one million residents 65 or older, she’s already seen…

Wilder Foundation’s Maureen Kenney on senior care: “We’re all about relationship building”

(First of two parts) Maureen Kenney has lived in three worlds in senior care — as a professional caregiver, a leader in senior care and as a family caregiver. She wouldn’t have it any other way. Kenney spent several decades as a professional caregiver, including work at a residential group home and as a recreational…

Mayo Clinic doctor diagnoses aging in Minnesota

Dr. Paul Takahashi has seen a lot of change in his 20 years as a primary care geriatrician at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Many seniors are living longer and in better health than ever before, which means emphasis is often placed on home and community-based services to help seniors live independently into their golden years.…

A New Yorker finds her calling as a caregiver in Minnesota

Former New Yorker Diane Schmidt found her true home and calling when she visited Minnesota. Schmidt was born and raised in the city that never sleeps, but her life changed in 1988 when she decided to follow her parents and sister to Woodbury. “New York was wonderful in so many ways,” Schmidt said. “But if…

2018 Employee of the Year: a year full of hard work and empathy for seniors

Mark Stemmer has proven how far hard work and empathy can take someone in life. For the past five years, Mark has worked as director of environmental services at All Saints Senior Living Center in Shakopee, where he oversees the maintenance and emergency/safety protocol of the 57-unit apartment complex. He is also responsible for developing…

Minnesota couple continues 128-year legacy of compassionate senior care

St. Otto’s Care Center roots run deep in the town of Little Falls, Minn. The center was founded by the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, whose tradition of caring for the elderly began in 1891. Today, it remains a vibrant part of the community, having evolved into a 93-bed skilled nursing center that offers long-term…

Caregivers need to feel valued and supported, too

During her 45 years in the healthcare industry, Barbara (Barb) Starch has worked in a variety of roles — from orthopedic nurse to clinical coordinator. Starch lived on a farm in northeastern South Dakota before moving to Montevideo when she was 13. Two years later, Starch got her first paying job in caregiving at a…

Minnesota senior living manager of the year Carrie Soto is here to help seniors and their families

Five years after starting her career at the Good Samaritan Society in Luverne, Senior Housing Manager Carrie Soto continues to make an impact serving Minnesota seniors. Carrie believes her compassion for the tenants and their families has led her to administer outstanding care by providing a true sense of belonging and trust. “I love getting…