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Benedictine Living Community of Crookston reaches out to seniors through new program

The program, called Community Connection, is a way that Benedictine Living Community will offer companionship to senior citizens, said Cassie Rudie, the organization’s housing manager.

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Benedictine Living Community-Crookston is reaching out to seniors via telephone calls through a new program called Community Connections. (Submitted drawing)
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CROOKSTON – The Benedictine Living Community of Crookston will launch a new program in March that will reach out to senior citizens through phone calls.

The program, called Community Connection, is a way that Benedictine Living Community will offer companionship to senior citizens, said Cassie Rudie, the organization’s housing manager. Because of the pandemic, some seniors have been more isolated from others than they typically are.

“Our leadership with Benedictine Living Community has made this a priority,” Rudie said. ”This is being done corporate-wide.”

There are 20 Benedictine Living Community locations in Minnesota, including one in nearby Ada. The organization also has 13 locations in North Dakota, Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin.

The faith-based nonprofit organization in Crookston, formerly called Villa St. Vincent/ The Summit, offers a variety of intergenerational services including skilled nursing, memory care, rehab and childcare.

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Community Connections is available to senior citizens at no cost. Benedictine Living Community of Crookston’s outreach is mostly in Polk County, but seniors who live in towns in other counties nearby won’t be denied access.

“If there is someone living over in Thief River Falls who would like a call, we certainly won’t be turning anybody down,” said Cindy Hulst, Benedictine Living Community of Crookston Foundation development director and marketing lead.

“It’s a free program and any senior who would like to receive these calls is eligible,” she said.

“Especially with COVID-19, so many seniors have been unable to have that social interaction," Rudie said. Employees of Benedictine Living Community of Crookston will make telephone calls to check in and see how senior citizens are doing and have a friendly conversation with them, she said.

Benedictine Living Community of Crookston will give information about Community Connections to churches, send letters to referral sources and notify people through social media. Information about Community Connections also will be given to people who use other services of the Crookston organization.

Meanwhile, family members and guardians of seniors likely also will make referrals, Hulst said.

“The Benediictne Way has always been to serve others,” Hulst said. Community Connections is a way the Benedictine Living Community corporation will carry out its mission to reach out to the community’s senior citizens.

Besides Community Connections, another new service launched by the Benedictine organization is a short-stay option at its assisted living facility. An apartment is available at the assisted living facility for senior citizens to try out if they are considering moving there or if their caregiver is unavailable.

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The apartments, which are fully furnished, are made up of a kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom. They are available to rent for a minimum of one week. Meals and services, including bathing and dressing, are included in the rental.

“Kind of like staying in a hotel, but you get meals and services, too,” Rudie said. The service has been popular since its launch a few months ago.

“It’s definitely a needed service,” she said.

Information about the Benedictine Living Community programs: 218) 281-0671 or visit the website at: www.benedictinecrookston.org.

Related Topics: GENERATIONS
Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: abailey@agweek.com or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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