Laying out the welcome mat

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The Meadows of Wadena is a new senior living facility that opened September 14 with the goal of providing a home-like setting for individuals who find that living on their own might not be an option anymore.

"With the services we provide, we hope to take the weight off the shoulders of families, so they don't have worry about their parents if they are in their own home and need help," according to Jen Oyster, the Director of Resident Services.

Oyster added that residents are encouraged to be as independent as possible, but that services such as basic housekeeping, an RN on staff, health care counseling, personal care assistance, transportation assistance, and a full kitchen with three meals a day are just some of the things provided by the new facility.

"Residents in apartments with a kitchen can cook on their own, the studios just have a kitchenette," Oyster said.

Residents have numerous ways to stay active and busy, in case anyone thinks they might just be sitting around all day bored. Oyster wants to get the residents involved in the community and bring different groups into the Meadows.

She said she remembers visiting places like the Meadows when she was a kid and feels there is a special bond between children and seniors.

"I want to get the residents out and about in the community, but I also want to bring in different groups from the community, such as children," she said. "It would bring a lot of smiles to the faces around here."

Activities at the facility include game nights, coffee hour in the afternoon, crafts with a theme around the holidays, and movie nights among other things.

She added they'll also schedule activities outside of the building, such as going to see local entertainment and going out to eat.

"Everything is so new right now, and we don't have as many residents, but we'll schedule some entertainers to come in; I'd like to get the humane society involved. At some point we'll do all that," Oyster said.

She encourages everyone to come and take a look and not be frightened off by cost.

"We want to help everyone and we accept the Elderly Waiver and GRH, that's always a question people have," she said. "There are also services through the state and county."

Oyster added that people often have a lot of questions when looking at moving into an assisted living facility and that calling the Senior LinkAge Line is a good idea because they will help walk seniors and families through a list of questions that maybe they hadn't thought of.

"We also have a worksheet for families to go through to make sure this the right time and right decision, we want everyone to be happy and comfortable when they make a decision like this."

The Elderly Waiver (EW) program is a federal Medicaid waiver program that funds home and community-based services for people 65 years old and older who are eligible for Medical Assistance (MA).

The Group Residential Housing (GRH) program helps pay for room and board in authorized locations for people with low income who have disabilities or other conditions. GRH may also help pay for additional services if you are not eligible for MA-Waiver programs or personal care assistance (PCA) services.

Call the Senior LinkAge Line at 800-333-2433 for help in connecting to your county or senior services. Visit the Department of Human Services (DHS) Web site at www.dhs.state.mn.us and look under "People We Serve/Seniors."