By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN Mary is back. It’s one of the many visible signs on St. Mary’s campus in Winsted that shows the $5.7 million construction and renovation projects are nearing completion.
The statue of the Virgin Mary had been put away for safekeeping last fall when work began, but she was recently returned to the front courtyard at St. Mary’s, next to the new entranceway, which was part of major renovations made to the care center.
A new addition to St. Mary’s campus is its new Garden House, which offers innovative healthcare to residents with memory loss.
To provide the community with an opportunity to see how St. Mary’s campus has grown and improved, St. Mary’s is hosting an open house Wednesday Aug 3, from 1 to 6 p.m. which will begin at the Garden House at 300 Fairlawn Avenue West.
“We want everyone to come and check St. Mary’s out,” St. Mary’s Administrator/CEO Christina Gamaldi said. “This is a great way to welcome these new healthcare opportunities to our community and have everybody see the wonderful transformations at St. Mary’s and what a wonderful addition the Garden House is.”
The open house starts with a blessing ceremony at 1 p.m., officiated by Diocese of New Ulm Bishop John M. LeVoir.
Following the blessing, there will be an open house until 6 p.m., which will include a tour of the Garden House and the care center.
Refreshments, including St. Mary’s dietician Lori Klepperich’s famous cookies, will be served.
The Garden House has a home-like setting
The Garden House at St. Mary’s is a 13,000-square-foot assisted living facility specially designed for seniors requiring memory loss care.
What is unique about the Garden House is that it’s designed not like an institution, but a duplex with a home-like setting.
“I think the building is beautiful and will speak for itself, but I am just excited about the culture of it, the impact it will have on the lives of everyone who lives here and everyone who works here,” Gamaldi said. “I am excited for Winsted to have something so wonderful.”
Each side of the building has a general living area for 10 residents, which includes a living room, dining room, kitchen, and a secured outdoor area.
There is a private room for each resident, and also double-occupancy rooms for those interested. Each has a walk-in shower, and individual heating/cooling controls.
Staff is on duty 24 hours a day.
Some services and amenities provided include family-style home-cooked meals, an on-site beauty shop, spa tub, daily dressing and grooming assistance, and daily medication management.
The manager of the Garden House is Tifani Jaunich, of Delano, who was previously working at St. Mary’s Care Center as a nurses aid.
“We found this shining star (Tifani) on our memory care floor, where she did a wonderful job with our residents, who love her,” Gamaldi said.
Jaunich was a perfect candidate for the job, Gamaldi added, because, “she has great leadership capabilities, lots of energy, and she is really onboard with the idea of making this a home.”
Even before coming to St. Mary’s, Jaunich had many years of experience caring for seniors. She was 8 years old when she started as a volunteer at the Long Lake Nursing Home, where her mother worked in the activities department.
“I spent pretty much of my whole life growing up in the nursing home,” Jaunich said. “I was the youngest volunteer, and for years, I was the volunteer of the month. I would play games with the seniors and participate in activities and I remember at 8 doing fingernails.”
She has also had experience dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease, which took the life of both of her grandmothers.
Additional staff will be hired to work at the Garden House by Jaunich. Some are currently working at St. Mary’s and will be transitioning to the new facility.
The Garden House currently has three future residents on a waiting list, ready to take occupancy, but the opening date of the facility is on hold, delayed because of the state shutdown.
St. Mary’s is waiting for its licensure, state electrical and fire marshal inspections, and the Minnesota Department of Health to give its final approval saying the building is safe and ready for occupancy.
Care center offers short-stay rehab suites
The renovations that have been competed at St. Mary’s Care Center will allow the facility to expand its rehabilitation services.
Included in the new makeover is an entryway where visitors enter a large, welcoming reception area that has a fireplace and a new coffee shop. There is also a gift shop case, a wellness gym, a private treatment room, beauty shop, and six new short-stay rehab suites, with new, much larger windows.
All of the renovations at the care center and the Garden House can be viewed during the open house Aug. 3.
Gamaldi is hoping to see many area residents attend the open house.
She reminds everyone that Bishop LeVoir will be there, as well as Benedictine nuns, and employees of the Benedictine Health System.
“We want everyone to come and check us out,” Gamaldi said. “Even if you are not interested in assisted living, come and see the technology and beautiful construction. Just come to see what is in our community.”