Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Augustana Care: it’s not just for Swedes anymore!

The Twin Cities nonprofit started out with $31.52 and a vision.

Augustana Care Corporation of Minneapolis, which operates senior housing, transitional care and long-term care facilities, will mark its 110th anniversary with a series of events during 2007.

Augustana traces its origins to the Ladies’ Aid Society of Augustana Lu-theran Church in downtown Minneapolis. The women started their venture late in the year 1896 when they collected $31.52 and aimed to assist young women immigrants from Sweden in getting established.

Over the years the focus of the organization has shifted to services for older citizens. The organization now has 1,600 employees in facilities adjacent to highway I-94 in Minneapolis as well as other communities. Fitness centers and rehabilitation centers are part of the facilities.
Services include physical therapy and even a catering service under the direction of a French chef. (The catering service works with receptions, golf tournaments, weddings and outside corporate events — a far cry from the stereotype of “nursing home food”.) Augustana Apartments in Minneapolis even has its own Caribou Coffee kiosk.

Christine Cobb, Director of Marketing for Augustana Care, sees the future in serving the needs of discriminating seniors who have the resources to tailor their living in senior years to fit their personal tastes. An Apple Valley facility includes a pool for those who like to swim. Advances in technology allow Augus-tana to test remote sensors in senior apartments to track activities within the units to alert staff as to whether new types of care are needed.

Cobb says Augustana uses focus groups with its customers to identify future ways of delivering care to the whole person. “I see a future emphasis on wellness issues, spiritual care and educational opportunities relating to people’s personal interests or possibly second careers.”

Today’s Augustana provides care at four sites:
* Augustana Health Care Center of Apple Valley;
* Augustana Chapel View Care Center in Hopkins;
* Augustana Health Care Center of Hastings; and
* Augustana Health Care Center of Minneapolis.

There are independent senior housing facilities in Apple Valley, Fergus Falls, Northfield and Minneapolis. Assisted living options are available, while some locations offer housing plus some services. Adult day programs and meals-on-wheels programs are offered as is a home modification program to allow seniors to stay in their own homes.

Augustana’s first mission was temporary housing for young immigrant women, followed by a children’s home. It first began serving the needs of elderly in 1904. In 1990 Augustana Care Corporation was established. Since then, it has grown into four senior campuses, each with both senior living apartments and care centers. Augustana also provides development, management and services at 11 senior living and care facilities throughout Minnesota.

A gala 110th anniversary celebration was scheduled at Augustana Care Center in Minneapolis January 25. In April, Augustana Apartments of Minneapolis will celebrate with an ice cream social, pancake breakfast and a hat show/tea party, as well as hosting the Aug-ustana Traveling Museum in the village walkway.

On May 10, Augustana Chapel View Care Center and Augustana Chapel View Apartments of Hopkins will hold a grand reopening celebration. The traveling museum will be on display in the care center lobby with refreshments in the coffee shop from 2-4 p.m. daily.

In June, Augustana Health Care Center and The Villa Senior Apartments of Apple Valley will host the traveling museum and have cookies and refreshments in both buildings every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 21 there will be a “Longest Day Celebration” with band concert, classic car show, petting zoo, root beer floats and a picnic barbecue.

Regent at Burnsville will celebrate Augustana’s anni-versary in September. There will be a Career Apprecia-tion Week/This Is Your Life event September 2-8. September 9-15 will be Family Fun Week. Septem-ber 16-22 will feature a “The Year Was …” event with dress-up styles from the 16th through the 21st century. Apple Fest is planned for September 23-29.

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For more information about Augustana Care Corporation and its various facilities and services, visit www.augustana care.org or call 612/238-5201.