The Face of Cassia

Neighbors Caring for Neighbors at Moose Lake Village

When a new resident arrived at Moose Lake Village, he had a conundrum. Because he was coming from the hospital, the bulk of his belongings remained at his apartment more than an hour away. He had no family or friends in the area to retrieve them.

Two Moose Lake Village staff members rose to the occasion to help. They drove a personal vehicle, loaded up his most treasured possessions and returned them to the resident. Not only that, but they bought two shelving units for CDs and DVDs that were important to him. He enjoys his collection, regularly organizing and adding to it.

For residents who do not have loved ones nearby, staff grocery shop and help them get to appointments at the bank or tax preparer.

Whether residents come from beyond Moose Lake or have lived there their entire lives, the staff strive to treat them the same. Site leaders take part in an ambassador program at the care center. Every leader visits a group of residents regularly.

“We’re just getting to know those residents to see their likes, dislikes, joys and what is important for them, says Leslie, who oversees long-term care admissions at the community in northern Minnesota.

Staff has a notebook with information about each resident to help staff learn more about them.

“It’s more of a personalized service and something to talk about,” Leslie says. “There are some of our folks in memory care who, once you get them talking about something they like or enjoy, they can keep reminiscing about it.”

Barb adds that the resident council offers feedback to help improve the community.

Moose Lake Village has a familial feel.

“Everybody knows everyone else. It’s a very close-knit family,” says Barb, housing director at Moose Lake Village Assisted Living.

“It’s neighbors caring for neighbors,” adds Leslie.

The small town charm of the overall community carries over to the senior living community.

“People here are very interested in and accepting of new people to the area,” Leslie says.

And they are grateful for the care they receive.

“They are very honored to be here and are appreciative of everything staff do,” Barb says.

Loved ones appreciate it, too.

One resident’s daughters were sad for their mother to leave her home and worried about how she would acclimate to memory care.

“They couldn’t be more concerned about her coming into the community,” Leslie says. “Once she got here, she just blossomed. She is attending every community event … She was as happy as a lark to be here. Her daughters were pleasantly surprised about how she blossomed from being here.”

Leslie is a resource for anyone who calls.

“I provide elder information for folks who live in the area,” she says. “Whoever ends up calling me, I help guide them to the services they need. Maybe they don’t need assisted living or long-term care. Maybe they just need help getting assistance … I like to be a resource for the community.”

Leslie says she and many others believe Moose Lake Village provides vital services in the community.

“I just know people are, overall, generally happy that we have such a community here for people in our area,” she says.