OSNABROCK -- From the flower and vegetable gardens out front, to the made-from-scratch meals, to the recliners grouped around the large-screen television set in the living room, Osnabrock Community Living Center feels like home.
And it is for 17 men and women -- nearly 15 percent of the small town’s population. The basic care facility owned by the city of 124 residents is full for the first time since it reopened six years ago. Osnabrock Community Living Center was the only one of five nursing homes closed between 2012 and 2013 to reopen.
Shortly after the nursing home closed, community members got together to discuss how to raise money to reopen it.
Individuals and businesses donated and held fundraisers, secured financial commitments from banks and obtained $40,000 from the Dakota Certified Development Corporation, now called Dakota Business Development, to finance the nursing home. Meanwhile, community volunteers donated thousands of hours of volunteer time to remodel it.
A grand reopening was held in August 2013. The resident population then was six.
One of the first residents was Alice Krohn, now 94. She took time out of a Wednesday game of Bunco to talk about why she enjoys living at Osnabrock Community Living Center.
“They’re very friendly,” Krohn said.
Meanwhile, she likes the liver and onions, spaghetti and macaroni and cheese the staff makes for meals. The staff at the center, most of whom are classified as universal workers, pitch in to make meals, clean rooms and tend to patient needs.
Word-of-mouth, the center’s Facebook page and satisfied residents have helped market Osnabrock Community Living Center, said Brittanie Mostad, center administrator.
Residents appreciate amenities, such as meals prepared from scratch by staff members, and having next-room neighbors who are long-time friends, she said.
“Some of them graduated from high school together. They’ve known each other their whole lives,” said Janie Schill, Osnabrock Community Living Center registered nurse.
“I think it makes it homier, like a family,” Mostad said.
Resident Jeannette Lundeby, 82, concurs.
“You get to know everybody and you get to know their families. One of my school classmates lives right across the hall,” Lundeby said.
Guests of family members can stay overnight in a room at the center when they’re visiting. That way they don’t have to rent a hotel room. The nearest town with a hotel is in Langdon, a 12-mile drive. Grand Forks is about 100 miles southeast of Langdon.
“Almost every week we have a new guest with us for a few days,” Schill said.
Besides less driving for family members, staying at the nursing home also allows them to interact with staff and view first-hand the way they interact with residents. Mostad encourages family members to make suggestions on how the staff can better serve residents, she said.
Another reason residents like Osnabrock Community Living Center are the fun activities Vicky Kram, activity director, thinks up.
“We did a beer tasting a month ago. They had a blast. We have a massage therapist come monthly. We just did a Hawaiian Luau,” Mostad said. Residents also can make s’mores at the fire pit outside the nursing home and go on crop tours.
“They like to see their old farms,” she said.
One of 91-year-old resident Tootie Hall’s favorite activities is to bake; she frequently makes treats, such as sour cream cake with fresh blueberries in the nursing home kitchen and shares it with residents and staff. Hall also is a member of the nursing home garden club.
“The help is really nice and friendly,” Hall said.