In December 2022, residents at Cassia’s New Harmony Care Center in St. Paul, Minnesota had the opportunity to relocate to Harmony Gardens, a new senior living community in nearby Maplewood, Minnesota. The new community offers a state-of-the-art continuum of care to older adults and others in need including:
- 70 independent and assisted living apartments
- 12 care suites for those who need extra care but want to stay in an assisted living setting
- 14 memory care-assisted living suites
- 40 skilled nursing rooms
- 24 short-term rehabilitation rooms
Connected by Faith
Cassia purchased land to build the new community from the First Evangelical Free Church of Maplewood. “Since 2007, the church had a vision of expanding our ministry to include ministering to those in need,” says Jon Addington, a deacon and lay leader at the church and former church chair.
The Evangelical Free Church saw a seamless connection between ministering to older adults and partnering with Elim Care (which joined with Augustana Care in 2018 to form the faith-based nonprofit Cassia). “For a variety of reasons, the partnership didn’t happen in 2007, but we are excited to see it happening now,” says Addington.
“We sold them some of our land to facilitate a joint ministry that will enhance the services we can provide to those we serve,” adds Addington. Harmony Gardens is only a block away from the church. Many of those who play an active role in the church, including congregants and pastors, look forward to connecting with residents spiritually and conducting services on site.
Older Adults Increasing Needs in the Community
Why is the building opening now? The need for services for older adults in the area is increasing. The number of older adults age 75 and older are projected increase by 1,730 or 13% by 2024. They and their families are likely to be looking for care and living space where they do not have to maintain their homes. Cassia is poised to meet their needs for excellent, compassionate care, driven by innovative approaches and based on a foundation of respect and integrity.
“One of the many things I love about Harmony Gardens is the community that surrounds us. We are blessed with not only additional volunteers, but also a wonderful community that will offer more resources for our residents and their families,” says Harmony Gardens Administrator Becky Holmgren.
The new community offers amenities such as private dining spaces, a salon/spa, café/bistro, fitness room, activity rooms, therapy, sun rooms, underground parking and much more. The continuity of care will allow residents to move into an independent or assisted living setting and receive short-term rehabilitative care in a skilled nursing section should an illness or injury occur. If the need for memory care arises, Harmony Gardens will be able to accommodate that need too.
Future plans also call for the addition of a theater room with a concession stand and an outdoor patio to be used for dining and a lounge. “We are looking to create more of a true neighborhood atmosphere,” says Cassia Vice President of Building Design and Development Andrew Centanni. The building contains one hundred percent LED Lighting, abundant natural light and views of the surrounding community gardens, a city park and the Bruce Vento Trail.
Refining Skilled Nursing Services
Additionally, there are plans to provide two-way communications between skilled residents and staff. That means the community will offer a more serene atmosphere with fewer alarms going off.
The nursing area was designed very specifically to be welcoming and inviting. “At a time when many organizations are closing skilled care units, we are pleased to be able to open the doors here and invite people in who need skilled and specialized services,” Centanni adds.
Cassia leaders greatly appreciate the interest from supporters to help create this new community. Donations were used to create a chapel and other funds were used to provide other enhancements to amenities and program space throughout the building. We are excited to welcome current and new residents to Harmony Gardens, a community that will give them the opportunity to thrive, with all the comforts of home.
“We are thrilled to open the doors to the beautiful spaces of Harmony Gardens this December, where residents will have the ability to thrive under one continuum of care. In fact, we have a few residents who will now live under the same roof as their loved ones again as we expand and open our assisted living,” says Housing Director Sarah Schwensen. “It is a great blessing to be able to gift our residents and staff members with better opportunities, spacious rooms for activities and companionship, a large chapel for worship, and an improved quality of life at Harmony Gardens.”