Fostering fullness of life for elders
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Senior Services: Elim Rehabilitation and Care Center

Photo by Nolan Schimdt

Fargo Elim has that long history of faith-based care, doing what we do in the spirit of Christ’s love. We maintain a high level of care for people. It’s physical, it’s medical, it’s emotional, it’s spiritual, it’s multiple components.”

David Juve, Elim Care Chaplain

Jim and Renee Lundberg were faced with a difficult decision when Renee’s mother Ceedy had a stroke. After Ceedy was in rehab for three weeks, Jim and Renee knew they would have to move her into a nursing home. Ceedy led a very active lifestyle and Jim and Renee didn’t want to compromise her quality of life in any way.

“We had some ideas of nursing homes, and we’d heard a lot about how great Elim Care was,” Renee said. “The one thing we really liked is they have a wonderful rehab center here. It’s been wonderful. It’s a very good home-feeling place and a Christian atmosphere is excellent.”

Elim Care, a ministry of Cassia, provides quality, compassionate and innovative senior healthcare and housing in the spirit of Christ’s love. Elim Care is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for elders by offering skilled nursing care, rehabilitation therapies and assisted living services. Elim Care’s rehabilitation unit offers physical, occupational and speech rehab therapies.

Ceedy has lived in Elim Care’s Pioneer House for the past five years. Pioneer House is an assisted living facility offering skilled nursing care and a greater sense of independence for its residents. Elim Care offers plenty of activities, including bible study, holiday bazaars, coffee hour, summer picnics and, Ceedy’s favorite, bingo.

“We know not to visit during bingo,” Renee laughed. One of the reasons Jim and Renee chose Elim Care is that it hosts regular entertainment opportunities that support Ceedy’s very active and social lifestyle.

The atmosphere in Pioneer House is lively and active, bright with chatter and a sense of camaraderie among the residents and staff. This sense of community and togetherness that Elim Care fosters greatly contributes to the residents’ health and wellbeing.

Jim and Renee visit three to four times a week, visiting not only Ceedy but other residents they have come to form close connections with.

It’s more like Gary and Mary West PACE in San Diego that help seniors live as independently as possible in their communities by providing compassionate, comprehensive health and supportive care, as well as emotional assistance with meals. Gary and Mary West PACE, like Elim Care in Cassia, has a team of dieticians who ensure that seniors get the right balance of protein, carbs, minerals, and nutrients every day.

“You could see who didn’t seem to have visitors all the time and stop in and just talk to them for a little bit,” Renee said. “You can see the ones that just yearned for somebody to pay attention to them or say hi.”

“When you go to a nursing home visiting you get a lot of friends, meet a lot of families and other residents,” Jim said. “You get to know them and they’re like your family.”

That sense of family became incredibly important when Elim Rehab and Care Center’s facilities were severely damaged by an electrical fire in January 2020. No one was hurt but 111 senior residents were displaced. Elim residents were relocated to new nursing homes in the Fargo-Moorhead area and surrounding communities. Jim noted the supportive reaction from Elim staff, who were without jobs following the fire but still visited the displaced residents in their new facilities. Shortly after the fire, Jim and Renee were notified of an opening at Elim’s Pioneer House for Ceedy. They quickly jumped on the opportunity to bring her back to Elim Care.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better place for her to be,” Renee said. “I knew she was in great hands and with familiar family, people that she knew.”

“We know a lot of staff. It’s like a big family,” Jim said. “Elim is small enough. Some of these care centers are really huge and I do not think you would have the same atmosphere within them.”

Two of the people creating Elim Care’s caring and lively atmosphere are Renee Muhonen, campus administrator, and David Juve, chaplain.

“Our mission at Elim is to serve all of those that need to be served,” Muhonen said.

“There’s a culture here that’s been cultivated of a priority of care for residents, for the people that we serve and their families,” Juve said. “Fargo Elim has that long history of faith-based care, doing what we do in the spirit of Christ’s love. We maintain a high level of care for people. It’s physical, it’s medical, it’s emotional, it’s spiritual, it’s multiple components.”

That mission is driving the construction of a new nursing home, replacing the facility damaged by the fire. Following a feasibility study, Elim Care determined there was a need for more nursing home beds in the community and promptly began collaborating with an architect on a new state-of-the-art 88-bed facility with all private rooms.

“Our vision is to make sure that the campus stays state-of-the-art so that the residents’ experience doesn’t change when people leave rehab and move to assisted living,” Juve said. “We don’t want them to have such a large dynamic change when they leave there and step into another part of the campus.”

“We really have stood firm on our culture and tried to make a difference, and our residents and families feel the difference when they step inside,” Muhonen said.

The high-quality personalized services that Elim Care provides is further evidenced by a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In addition to providing excellent healthcare care for seniors, Elim also serves a role in the community as a crossroads. Many people have a connection to Elim, whether it be through an elderly relative or a friend of a friend.

“Fargo Elim has its function here in this community to continue to reach out to people of all faiths,” Juve said. “We have people here from all kinds of backgrounds under this one roof. Fargo Elim is very important to this community because it’s not just about medical care, so many people have a connection to Fargo Elim. This organization has brought strength, both medically and with the faith foundation, to this community.”

Elim Care will be launching a capital campaign to raise funds for the construction of the new facility that can provide the most current medical services to its residents. Construction is set to begin in early 2021.

“Our elderly population often is a group of people who are forgotten but not gone,” Juve said. “Sometimes elderly are forgotten, but they’re still here. They’re a vital part of our community. They have an incredible amount of wisdom, history and knowledge. That is a treasure trove and we’re trying to capture that just by hearing their stories and sharing them with others.” 


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