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Community within and without: Support needed for amenities, but also much more

St. Crispin Living Community has a capital campaign underway to raise funds for amenities including a three-season porch and a healing memory garden at the new care center. Illustration by Pope Architects

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of stories about the new, state-of-the-art long-term care facility that St. Crispin Living Community is opening this month in Red Wing.

When residents transfer to St. Crispin Living Community's new skilled nursing center from the former Seminary Home on April 24, it will be like moving into a brand new home.

Amenities and technology that aren't typical in nursing homes have been built into the facility, according to Jake Goering, administrator and CEO.

PREVIOUSLY: ‘Age wave’ pushes change in health care industry

The furnished suites — 16 each in the Sprucehill, Hearthstone, Rivertrail and Springview neighborhoods — are complete with private tub/shower bathrooms.

Residents will have HDTVs with Internet access and communication options, and they will be able to control their own heating and cooling systems. The centrally located kitchen will serve not only St. Crispin residents but also the Red Wing community by continuing to provide Meals on Wheels.

As the project nears completion, St. Crispin is reaching out to the businesses and people of Red Wing, inviting them to get involved.

The Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica, who sponsor the nonprofit Benedictine Health System, believe that community support is vitally important.

The vast majority of residents are from Goodhue County, principally Red Wing and nearby communities where the family has a Red Wing connection.

"St. Crispin Living Community, like all nonprofit health care providers, operates on a very slim margin. ... Our discretionary funds are limited," officials said in the project narrative.

"Philanthropy will make it possible" to provide enhanced technology, wellness equipment and other amenities that can aid healing and quality of life.

Two projects that will be most visible are a healing garden and a three-season porch for long-term care residents.

Volunteer Lynette Pearson, who is leading the capital campaign to fund enhancements, cited the value of a memory garden.

She explained that it is designed "so people can come outdoors and see and smell and walk among the flowers. For people who grew up with gardens, it brings God's love and presence in nature." In her view, birds and butterflies are "emotionally, mentally and spiritually necessary."

The three-season porch will be on the second floor, above the garden on the back of the care center, Goering said. The space aims to provide a comfortable, private space for people living on that floor.

Among on things, he said, it will enable people in cognitive decline to enjoy the outdoors safely, within a secure space.

The list of philanthropic opportunities also includes a variety of naming opportunities and some other projects.

Pearson initially got involved on the St. Crispin Living Community Advisory Board because, she said, "I saw the difference it made" when her in-laws were in the nursing home and her mother recovered from surgery at St. Crispin.

"The compassion shown there" impressed her, Pearson said, citing staff's attitude and "how they treated people."

As an Advisory Board member, she is part of a group monitoring the needs of the care community and serving as a link between local businesses, senior care organizations and the community.

Pearson took the lead in fundraising partly because she has experience in the field, having worked on campaigns for the YMCA and a politician.

Since early October she has been making calls on individuals and businesses and groups, telling them the St. Crispin story and answering their questions.

Public awareness and understanding are important, she said. She offered to speak to any group that would like to learn more. To set up a visit, call her at 651-380-0553.

"Red Wing really values their seniors and treats them well," she noted. "We have so much to offer. St. Crispin is going to be a piece of that. ...

"So many people say, 'I'm never going to a nursing home.' The reality is, we don't have a say in that a lot of times. I want to see a facility that, if we have to, we'll be happy to be there," Pearson said.

"I believe in the dignity of those final years of life. We all deserve it."