763.241.4438

Built on a History of Excellence

Guardian Angels Gala!

Posted February 22, 2017

Join us for Guardian Angels Red Carpet Event-tickets still available!

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Saturday, March 11, 2017
Courtyards of Andover
13545 Martin Street NW, Andover, MN

 The paparazzi will eagerly await your arrival at 5:30pm. You will be greeted by a cast of celebrities and
enjoy hors d’oeuvres, fabulous silent auction, games and more!
 If you wish to be a table sponsor, join us as a guest or make a donation please follow the link below!

For more information contact
Deb Weston-dweston@ga-er.org or 763-635-4485

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The Great Giveaway Award Scholarship!

Posted December 3, 2016

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Anna Kunkel with Pullman Place member Eloise Miller

In the fall of 2015, members of Pullman Place Cooperative accepted their marketing committee’s suggestion to host a garage sale and call it “The Great Giveaway.” They felt it was a good way to sort through their kitchens, closets, and storage areas to eliminate items they no longer needed, and to get people from the community to visit their beautiful building. Donations were suggested with proceeds going towards a scholarship for a graduating Elk River High School senior who pursues her/his education in the field of healthcare management. The event was a huge success and they were pleased to award a $500.00 scholarship to 2016 Elk River High School graduate Anna Kunkel. Anna plans to pursue a degree in nursing at Mankato State University. Pullman Place Cooperative members plan to host another “Great Giveaway” in the spring of 2017 to offer more scholarships.

For more informaion on Pullman Place Cooperative call 763-633-0999 orvisit www.pullmanplace.org

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Volunteers make each day brighter!

Posted September 28, 2016

When staff and residents see Andrea and  a 8 year old golden doodle, coming down the hall, they greet the dog  first.  Everyone loves Tuesday afternoons because Andrea visits  residents, staff members and visitors with her trained Therapy Dog, Summit.  Summit now knows his routine and often plays catch with his favorite ball.  They both hear wonderful stories about dogs the residents have owned.

Andrea and her husband, Ray,  moved to Elk River in 2015 from Kansas.  While in KS she became interested in and curious about pet therapy.  It wasn’t long before she and Summit were in class.

They volunteered with Victory in the Valley, an organization that supports cancer patients.  Summit brought cheer to them as they received chemotherapy, waited in waiting rooms, or visited them in hospitals.  He especially enjoyed curling up in a bean bag chair with a child.

After getting settled into their new home, Andrea found herself with a little extra time on her hands and contacted Guardian Angels about volunteering-that was over a year ago!

GACC has benefited from her desire to become part of the community! It is a mutual relationship between Summit and the residents (and staff) -he loves the residents and the residents love him!

Andrea also volunteers in the Gifts and Treats shop one time per week.   Volunteers really do make a difference!  Smiles on our face and paw prints in our hearts.  Guardian Angels Volunteers make each day brighter!

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Guardian Angels is growing!

Posted August 16, 2016

Guardian Angels believes it has a winning Otsego site

by Jim Boyle
Editor Elk River Star News
Guardian Angels leadership just wrapped up its most recent round of strategic planning, and they burst out of the board room like thoroughbreds coming out of the gate at Churchill Downs for running in the Kentucky Derby.

“We’re coming into our second 50-year run as we celebrated our 50th anniversary last year,” Guardian Angels CEO and President Dan Dixon said. “We’re so proud of the communities that have supported us and our staff, the residents, the members and the clients that have come.
“We’re committed to being there for the next 50 years as a quality senior care provider. We look forward to the future.”
The faith-based nonprofit has provided health care, housing and supportive services to seniors and their families in the spirit of Christ’s love since 1965, Dixon said.
The organization’s hub is in Elk River with its 120-bed skilled nursing unit, and it has spokes out to other locations in Elk River, Zimmerman, Becker, Albertville and Coon Rapids with at least one more coming.
As part of its strategic planning, its board of directors prioritized its next three building projects, starting first with a crown jewel of a project it will propose on the Mississippi River in Otsego.
The city, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this past year but has yet to land senior housing, will welcome the proposal. The Otsego City Council has identified senior housing as a top economic development goal.
“It’s an amenity that the city currently doesn’t have and one that the council feels is important to provide,” Otsego City Administrator Lori Johnson said. “We understand the importance of being able to stay in your community as you age and, further, that it is important to younger residents to have senior housing close to their homes to relocate aging family.”
Otsego officials have had conversations with several senior housing developers in the past couple of years, Johnson said. Otsego has been on Dan Dixon’s radar ever since he arrived in Elk River 15 years ago.

Graphic illustrations by Pope Architects  Guardian Angels is now working on the feasibility of a 100- to 120-bed facility on land it now owns in the Waterfront East development of Otsego. The facility would have a main dining room serving meal options seven days a week along with all the other amenities other sites have, including transportation. A portion of the 15-acre property it bought is being sold with the thought of a luxury apartment complex being built next door.

Graphic illustrations by Pope Architects
Guardian Angels is now working on the feasibility of a 100- to 120-bed facility on land it now owns in the Waterfront East development of Otsego.
The facility would have a main dining room serving meal options seven days a week along with all the other amenities other sites have, including transportation. A portion of the 15-acre property it bought is being sold with the thought of a luxury apartment complex being built next door.

“I had housing staff tell me, with the waiting list Guardian Angels Elk River has, if housing could be built in Otsego, we could fill it,” he said.
Dixon has found himself checking out farm fields here and there over the years in Otsego, but never really saw one that jumped out as a good fit.
When Ron Touchette, Guardian Angels’ real estate agent and volunteer for the organization showed them the Waterfront East space, Guardian Angels leadership embraced it immediately and got to work and closed on the property in recent weeks.
“It’s an absolutely beautiful piece of land, made available through others’ misfortune, really,” Dixon said of the property that was foreclosed on after the economy soured. “Other people suffered because of it. It’s available and its a significant location for Guardian Angels.”
Dixon said his organizations hopes to create a great partnership with the city of Otsego, a big economic driver for the entire Waterfront development and get Guardian Angels established before any competition has a chance to gain a foothold on the area.
The hope is to build a facility in 2017. The idea sits will with Otsego Mayor Jessica Stockamp.
“I believe Guardian Angels has earned an excellent reputation in the area and we would be excited to welcome them to a new site in Otsego,” she said.
Waterfront East, although originally planned as a retail hub, is being considered for other uses.
“The market has changed significantly since Waterfront East was originally platted, and the city needs to respond to those market changes,” Johnson said. “The Planning Commission and City Council will determine through the application and review process if senior housing fits with the new vision for Waterfront East.”
She said it’s easy to see why Guardian Angels was attracted to the site, noting it’s a beautiful location along the river next to a city park. Plus, it has restaurants and retail in very close proximity, Johnson said.
“It appears to be a good fit for the location,” Johnson added.
Next on the strategic building plan for Guardian Angels would be an expansion of Engel Haus in Albertville. It has filled the 63-bed facility and has land it can expand on. Guardian Angels hopes to do that in 2019 or 2020.
And the third project would be to construct a four-story senior housing facility at the site of The Gym and Flowers Plus, which Guardian Angels recently purchased for $750,000 to help it complete its Elk River campus in the next five years or so.

Otsego project first on deck
Dixon and his board did not want to lose out on the opportunity to serve Otsego, and when presented the idea of the riverfront property, the organization got right to work.
Guardian Angels is now working on the feasibility of a 100- to 120-bed facility on the land it now owns to see what the logical breakdown of units would be for independent living, assisted living and memory care.
“We want to go four stories tall so we gain the views of the river as amenities for the seniors,” Dixon said.

Graphic illustrations by Pope Architects  This aerial perspective shows Guardian Angels and a potential neighbor in relationship to the Mississippi River. These are the hopes of the senior housing provider, which will submit application to the city of Otsego later this year.

Graphic illustrations by Pope Architects
This aerial perspective shows Guardian Angels and a potential neighbor in relationship to the Mississippi River. These are the hopes of the senior housing provider, which will submit application to the city of Otsego later this year.

The facility would have a main dining room serving meal options seven days a week along with all the other amenities other sites have, including transportation.
The project, like Guardian Angels’ projects in Albertville and in Coon Rapids with Autumn Glenn, would feature the latest remote monitoring technology. E-Neighbor technology helps staff monitor the seniors in their daily activities and helps detect health concerns before they are even known by the staff member or the senior.
It notices things like lack of motion, lack of movement, the number of times a refrigerator door opens, the medicine cabinet gets accessed and the number of times a resident gets in and out of bed.
“It can alert the caregiver to check the unit,” Dixon said. “No longer does the loved one end up on the bathroom floor with not being able to summon help or a nurse.
“The technology helps us maintain a higher quality of service and helps us to work smarter.”
The plan also calls for making use of the riverfront and to construct a foot bridge over the mile-long retaining pond that parallels the Mississippi River.
The long-range plan is to expand the facility 200 to 250 beds.
“The future is here,” Dixon said. “The baby boomers are coming. The expectations (are) for quality, less cost and for the latest technological advancements.”
The senior housing provider, which employs more than 600 and provides services for more than 3,000 people annually, is also looking at selling a portion of the 15-acre site it bought to a developer of luxury senior apartments.
Among the ideas that have been presented by a suitor are a fourth-story restaurant with views of the river and a pool as well as a food co-op and assorted retailers on the first floor to accompany the senior housing project.
Guardian Angels is working with Pope Architects on drawings of both facilities, which would be linked by a skyway of some type. Meanwhile, it is also vetting the possible purchaser of the land targeted for senior apartments.
Guardian Angels has begun talks with Otsego city officials about industrial revenue bonds that would be needed to be sold to finance the project.
Guardian Angels will be selecting a contractor and will go before the Otsego Council later this year to begin the process for gaining project approvals.
“A year from now in July, we would like to have the bonding completed and the footings going in before freeze-up,” Dixon said.
That would also bode well for the next two projects.
“There’s a rhythm and a momentum and a sense of urgency to the population explosion that we’re having,” Dixon said. “We feel like we can do a project every other year, and with our infrastructure and staffing we manage though it.”

For more information please contact Kari McHenry, Marketing Director, @ 763-241-4466 or kmchenry@ga-er.org

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The Grace Crucifix

Posted July 7, 2016

Cross

Guardian Angels Care Center has been literally “graced” with a marvelous crucifix. Located in the skyway reaching across the resident dining room, the activities room/chapel and the gift shop on the 300 Wing, the crucifix was crafted out of olive wood by German craftsmen from Oberammergau, Bavaria. I refer to it as the Grace Crucifix because of the peace its presence brings and the fact that it was donated to the Care Center by the family of Virginia Grace Heed Wagner, who left this world on November 3, 2015 at the age of 90. Revealing Christ as the ultimate giver of forgiveness, grace and peace, one of the crucifix’s many blessing is its size (53” tall and 37” wide), which requires one to look up.

One of Virginia’s daughters, Margaret Wieker writes, “The crucifix symbolizes our gratitude for the physical and spiritual care our beloved mother received from Guardian Angels staff. We will forever be grateful for the meaningful and spiritually restorative relationship Virginia established through pastoral visits from Chaplain Quill and chapel services, as well as the gracious care she received from Nurse Sandy and her loving aides Debbie and Anna.”

The crucifix shipped to the United States in the 1950s, spent 60-plus years in a private estate in Duluth, Minnesota prior to its new home at the Care Center. “The significance of Duluth was not lost on our family, as Virginia and her four siblings were raised on Woodland Avenue in Hunter’s Park, where she attended school at Stanbrook Hall. Virginia’s heart was bound to her hometown of Duluth and the rich memories it provided. We feel that our mother’s memorial and the crucifix were destined to come together and create a deeper meaning. Virginia’s fine arts education, appreciation for things of beauty and long-lasting involvement in her church made the crucifix a natural choice for her memorial. We feel particularly blessed for the dignity and compassionate care Virginia received at Guardian Angels.”

Grace

Virginia Grace and the love of her life, Edward Gardelle Wagner. Circa 1947

No doubt the Grace Crucifix has found a wonderful new home and the story of our interdependence rooted in God’s grace with love and kindness will last through eternity. Come! Share in the wonderful experience of forgiveness, grace and peace expressed through the beautiful Grace Crucifix at the Care Center.
Peace and Blessings, The Reverend Margaret Quill, Chaplain.

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 Here is an article from our Wellness Director, Kayla Miller M.S.

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The Importance of Drinking Enough Water

Did you know…

• 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.

• Lack of water is the #1 trigger for day-time fatigue.

• According to a study on dieters by the Univ. of Washington, a glass of water shuts down nighttime hunger pangs almost 100% of the time.

• Research shows that 8-10 glasses of water daily can ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

We all have some idea of the importance water has on our health, after all it does make up 60% of our bodies. With a hot and humid Minnesota summer in full swing, staying hydrated is one way to help our bodies withstand the heat. But aside from keeping away heat stroke and the other medical complications that can arise from dehydration, water has several other important functions that are essential to our health, both short-term and long-term. Read on for four more reasons to drink water.

1. PERK UP. Dehydration not only causes us to feel fatigued and sluggish, but according to Matthew J. Kempton, Ph.D. at King’s College London, it also forces our brains to work harder to complete tasks that would otherwise not be so difficult. Our cells are the basic unit of all of our body’s functions, and they need water to do their jobs properly. Think of it like watering a garden. The plants and flowers may not look parched but skip a day’s watering and before long that vegetation isn’t blooming so beautifully! So go ahead… water your cells!

 

2. STRENGTHEN YOUR SKELETON. Not always consuming your 3 daily servings of dairy? Well, good news. Drinking mineral water may help up your calcium intake and aid in preventing bone loss. According to research conducted by the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, mineral water contains an average of 208 mg of calcium per liter. But remember, this doesn’t replace all of the great benefits that come from consuming dairy!

3. DEFEAT WEIGHT CREEP. Ever heard of a dolphin on the rocks? If not, listen up. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that drinking water cooled to 37˚F may lead to a slight increase in calorie expenditure for up to an hour after you drink it. Ok, so maybe measuring the temperature of our glass of water is a little extreme, so just add ice (Get it…dolphin on the rocks). The chilled liquid forces our bodies to work harder and therefore burn more calories for energy, in order to maintain our baseline internal temperature. Another perk, a glass before a meal (chilled or not) can trick our stomach into feeling full, helping cut calories.

4. HELP PROTECT OUR HEART. A study funded by the National Institute of Health that tracked 34,000 people over a 14 year time span found that men who downed 5-6 glasses of water per day were nearly 70% less likely to die from a heart attack. The same correlation was found in women. Bottom line: drink up!

 

If you would like to become a member of Club GA or would like to tour our Wellness Center-Call Kayla @ 763-241-4434!

1Kayla

 

 

Sources: mayoclinic.com; fitness.com

 

 

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Celebrating the GA Way!

Posted May 5, 2016

 

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  Senior care locations are experiencing high demand as seen by Elk River based Guardian Angels Senior Services. Baby boomers are searching out Assisted Living centers and other senior housing locations by touring aging in place companies organizations with many of the same concerns they did when taking their children to college campus visits. How good is the quality of service, safety, available programs and classes, and most importantly, what is the overall environment like? In other words, how will my parent be treated?
When touring a Guarding Angels (GA) location, it’s apparent that one voice leads the way for every employee, and that is the call to serve others. As a faith-based company, it’s easy to expect the staff will be kind and concerned. It’s another thing to experience how much each one gives of their self to make a difference each and every day to the residents. Kari McHenry, Director of Marketing for Guardian Angles Angels, put it this way. “We have a wonderful staff! They have a lot of heart and really care about our seniors and their families.” That is the essence of the staff at Guardian Angels.
One of the main reasons people seeking care for their parents, can rest assured is those providing the care are the best of the best! Barb Zachman, a certified nursing assistant Nursing Assistant Registered (NAR) with 15 years of service with Guardian Angels, talks about her career of serving seniors. Like many, it began when she was young. “It started when I was in high school. I worked at nursing homes and I liked to take care of those who needed help.” When asked about working at GA, Zachman said “We are like family here. We share stories, have fun and truly care about each other.”
Jan Down, Angels On Main, an Adult Day Services Assistant, has 17 years with GA, and answers from the heart about her time with seniors. “I feel it is a privilege to be with our seniors. Enjoy their stories and the wisdom they impart. I am truly blessed.”
The in-house staff at GA covers every part of the services they offer. Tana Forner,a Dietary Manager at GA Senior Housing, explains her position. “Providing a meal and offering a variety, I know I’m providing a worthwhile service. Every day I enjoy my job!” Time and again, those who work at GA express their love of the work they do and the joy they feel in helping others.
Becoming a part of the lives they serve has benefits for both worker and resident. Darlene Nickols, an activities assistant Adult Day Services Assistant has been involved with GA for 19 years. What keeps her coming back? “Making a difference in a senior’s life,” she said. “Listening to stories of the seniors and laughing and crying with them.”
Sharon Zochman Zachman, Adult Day Services Assistant, let’s us know straight away what she feels is special about working at GA. “A lot of laughs, nice people, good times, ever changing, love, smiles,” she said. She shared that “My care makes a difference, and the smiles are heartwarming.”
It’s a repetitive statement any adult child would love to hear when looking for senior housing or any of the services GA provides, for a parent.
In its 51st year, GA is certainly doing business with the highest of standards in place. Wendy Dollansky, a Nursing Assistant Registered (NAR), with GA Care Center has been serving seniors for 23 years. Her reflections are a template for many of the staff. As a volunteer at age 14 in the senior unit of a hospital, Dollansky found that she enjoyed visiting with people and hearing their stories.”
Like many other GA staff, she felt she was meant to work in this field. “I can’t imagine working anywhere else.” Part of the rewards of working with seniors at GA, “I have so many fond memories of residents and staff,” she said. Leah Mau, with four and a half years as a Resident Assistant at GA By The Lake, is following in the footsteps of GA veterans. Initially drawn to senior care as a way to help those in their daily lives, she talked about why she enjoys working at GA. “Being able to help care and assist each resident to make sure they have a happy life. When my shift is over I feel proud in the way I have been a positive part of somebody’s day.”
Tour a GA facility and you’ll feel the difference their employees make for their residents, their extended family. When asked about what makes the staff so special, McHenry replied, “We care for seniors, we love serving.” There’s a big difference these days between customer service and serving your customers. GA serves daily, with the biggest hearts in the Elk River community!

 

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AOM

 

 

 

 

L to R: Dave L., Darlene N., Frank T., Jim J., Elmer B., Bud K., LaDonna W., Paula F

Angels On Main Adult Day Services is proud to have served area seniors for 21 years as a part of Guardian Angels 50 year legacy! We have been blessed getting to know many fun-filled characters, hearing their stories and serving their needs. Some of the ways volunteers have brightened our days has included helping with trips, playing cribbage, creating greeting cards, pet visits and sharing their gift of music. A grant through Sherburne County Area United Way has provided therapeutic music and special outings.
Angels On Main Adult Day Services is an ideal opportunity for persons who need help with daily care, companionship, activity, socialization or are challenged with memory loss. The program also gives the seniors’ loved ones time to attend to other matters, connecting with friends and taking a much-needed break. A typical day at Angels On Main begins at 9 a.m. with coffee and conversation. Our days are filled with recreation, reminiscing, projects, music and occasional outings. We are open Monday–Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and our hours may be arranged to fit your needs. Transportation and funding options are available. For more information or to schedule a free trial day, please call Rosie Becker, Director of Adult Day Services at 763-241-6845.

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The average American gains 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. To gain 5 pounds of fat one must consume roughly 17,500 extra calories in just those few weeks. To put that into perspective, that would be equal to indulging in approximately 116 gingerbread cookies. Yikes! That’s a lot; especially considering how hard we have to work to burn off those extra calories! In order to enjoy the holidays and all the yummy food that goes along with them, without sabotaging all our hard work from the rest of the year, we need to plan ahead and stay active.
Gman
Read on for 5 Tips to get you through the remainder of 2015, without increasing your waistline!

 

1. Focus on friends and family instead of food. We all love to gather, and with every gathering comes delicious food. But remember, the holidays are a time to slow down and catch up with loved ones. Play games, volunteer and spend time outdoors enjoying this beautiful Minnesota winter together.
2. Eat before you eat. Don’t skip meals or snacks earlier in the day to “save” calories and carbs for the large holiday feast later on. If you skip meals, it’s harder to keep your blood glucose under control, and it slows down your metabolism or your body’s calorie burning speed.
3. Bring what you like. Don’t spend time worrying about what will be served and how unhealthy it may be. Instead, bring a dish to share that you know is low-carb or heart healthy so you can eat nutritiously with small indulgences.
4. Stay Active. One of the reasons we are challenged with weight gain and managing our diabetes and other health conditions during the holidays is we tend to overindulge AND come up with many excuses to not be physically active. Sure, the holidays are busy, but plan time in EACH day for exercise and don’t break your routine. Think small steps. This can be as simple as helping to clean up after a meal instead of lounging in the living room and watching the football game.
5. If you overindulge, get back on track. If the holiday treats get the best of you and you eat more than you planned, don’t think you’ve failed. Once you realize this, make a commitment to be healthier the rest of the day. Don’t throw in the towel and “start again on Monday.”

Stay on track and enjoy the holiday season!
Kayla Miller
Club GA Wellness Director

kmiller@ga-er.org
Club GA logo

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President and CEO, Dan Dixon and the Board of Directors of Guardian Angels Senior Services names new Vice President/Chief Operations Officer, Kris Neff.  This decision by the leadership of Guardian Angels comes at a time of growth to the organization and the need for operational experience across the extensive Senior Services that Guardian Angels offers the North Metro Region.

Kris Neff joined Guardian Angels in September of 2014, as the Corporate Director of Assisted Living. Dixon said “Kris’s experience in start-up assisted living housing operations gave us the confidence to open two communities within months of each other in two separate counties.”  Kris’s leadership in directing the start-up teams and initiating systems to achieve census results has been instrumental in serving the needs of these communities. She also implemented procedures that support Guardian Angels’ mission of providing exceptional healthcare, housing and supportive services to seniors and their families.  Neff has over 27 years of health care experience.  She is a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, holds a Housing with Services Management Certificate along with a B.A. in Management from the College of Saint Scholastica and a Master of Business Administration from Bethel University.  She currently serves on the Board of Leading Age of Minnesota.

 

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Kris Neff, LNHA, MBA

VP/Chief Operations Officer

 

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