Coming May 9: Migrasong

April 23, 2018 

PioneerCare Foundation will present Migrasong: The Tunes They Carried Across the Sea at PioneerCare’s Celebration Center on Wednesday, May 9 at 7:00 pm. Archival photo of Norwegians preparing to emigrate to US

Photo of Reidun Horvei

Reidun Horvei

The performance is based on historical material. We follow the 16-year-old Olina and 17-year-old Ananias’ travel to America in the late 1800s. One beautiful day of spring they left Bergen, Norway, with the boat taking them to Hull in England, then by train to Liverpool, and then across the Atlantic to the promising land of America. Baggage was not to weigh more than 165 pounds, but the songs they brought along as a part of their culture became for many the dearest connection to everything they left behind.

Photo of Inger-Kristine Riber

Inger-Kristine Riber

Music in the performance is built on folk tunes that immigrants brought from their homeland and new songs that appeared where they settled. The program’s music and narration is performed by songwriter Reidun Horvei, who also wrote this play. The pianist Inger-Kristine Riber has written the musical arrangements and accompanies her. In the background, there are historical images collected for this production in Norwegian and US archives.

The performance will serve as a fundraising event for the Foundation and is in partnership with the City of Fergus Falls Sister City Commission.

PioneerCare Foundation thanks event sponsors, including: Sons of Norway of Fergus Falls, Victor Lundeen Company, Richard & Judy Werner, Park Region Telephone/Otter Tail TelcomDorn & CompanyService FoodNorthern Lakes DentalLake Region Healthcare, and George & Ann Mathison.

Ticket price is $15 for adults, $5 for students, with proceeds benefiting the work of PioneerCare Foundation. Tickets can be purchased at the main reception desk of PioneerCare Center in Fergus Falls. For more details, please call: 218.998.1500.

CNA Class Begins June 5

April 5, 2018 

PioneerCare pays training expenses and certification exam cost if you successfully complete the program and become a CNA at PioneerCare. If you’re age 16 or older, apply online today!
Apply for the CNA class, interview and try a shadowing experience to see what it’s like. Complete the background study and the NCRC Assessment through the Minnesota Workforce Center. If you’re accepted, PioneerCare will help you sign up for the course.

Class meets on the M State-Fergus Falls campus:

June 5: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
June 6, 12-14: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
June 19: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (Including Clinical Orientation)
June 20: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
June 21-22: 6:00 am to 4:30 pm (Clinical Experience)
June 28: Nurse Assistant Exam at 9:00 am

PioneerCare starts new CNAs at $14/hour…

…Plus benefits including $1/hour added pay for evening and night shifts, scholarship opportunities, paid time off, and full-time benefits including 401K, health and dental insurance, and more!

Apply Now

Cynthia Celebrates 40th

March 2, 2018 

For Cynthia Hanson, it all started 40 years ago with a big sack of potatoes.

On March 1, 1978, she walked into the kitchen in what was then called the Pioneer Memorial Home. It was Cynthia’s first day and her new boss, Corrine Wentzel, assigned her first duty: peeling potatoes. Not one to complain, Cynthia took the peeler, went into action, and survived what may have been her first test. She is now celebrating her 40th anniversary of employment at PioneerCare.

Activities staff include Kathy Hatling, Julie Erlandson, Cynthia Hanson, Emily Samp, Cindy Spidahl, and Sharon Dahl.

Activities staff include Kathy Hatling, Julie Erlandson, Cynthia Hanson, Emily Samp, Cindy Spidahl, and Sharon Dahl.

Cynthia has seen many changes in how care is provided for older adults. Over time, new options became available such as independent apartment-style living, assisted living, and memory care. Cynthia has spent her entire time in what was then the nursing home, now referred to as the care center, where skilled nursing care is provided. She has seen changes within that setting as well.

“I remember in the old building, we used a dumb waiter to get meals to residents who lived upstairs on the second and third floor. We had a pulley system with ropes to pull the food up to the next floor.”

“The biggest, most important change is that most residents now have private rooms. In that way, it’s more homelike and it makes an easier transition coming from their previous homes.”

Cynthia continues, “Moving to this building brought so many improvements for people. In the old building, residents shared small rooms. They shared bathrooms too. Here, we have the larger resident rooms, each with their own bathroom. We have smaller dining rooms, almost like little restaurants, where people get to know each other better over a meal. It’s cozier. Living here is so much more enjoyable.”

At this point in the story, it’s obvious Cynthia prefers to avoid the spotlight, and even on her 40th anniversary, getting her to talk about herself is a challenge.

So what has motivated her to continue in the field? “Every day, I get to interact with these people, spend time with them, one-on-one visits, and develop strong friendships with them and their families.”

Cynthia describes a time when residents and staff were preparing for the annual Christmas pageant. It was the day before, and two women were showing each other what they were planning to wear the next day. They were both set to play the role of the angels. They were so excited. Where else can you work where you have that kind of atmosphere?”

“And the staff are so wonderful. I’ve said it before: it’s just such a family atmosphere.”

Since moving to the PioneerCare Center building in 2011, Cynthia has worked as a Neighborhood Coordinator. That position could be described best as focusing on the social side of things. She spends most of her mornings visiting one-on-one with residents in the Lakes Neighborhood, the part of the building where she is assigned. A typical afternoon brings people together for seasonal themed activities, bingo, and concerts of all types.

Cynthia celebrated her anniversary over lunch downtown with her co-workers. Together, they’re also celebrating changes in their staffing structure, moving them further away from the dietary role and providing them more time to focus on meaningful social activities with residents.

Does Cynthia plan to celebrate a 50-year career anniversary? “I have no plans to retire,” she says, “I’ve already been here 40 years; 50 years isn’t that far away so yes, probably.”

Lillian Saure Nursing Scholarship

March 1, 2018 

Students who are entering or continuing a nursing program next fall have a scholarship opportunity to pursue through the PioneerCare Auxiliary. We’re accepting applications now for the Lillian Saure Nursing Scholarship, with an application deadline of Tuesday, May 15, 2018.

This scholarship fund is named in honor of Pioneer’s first licensed administrator and following the family’s wishes, it focuses on benefitting PioneerCare employees OR people in the community who are pursuing a career in nursing.

Working first as a nurse at the hospital in Fergus Falls, Lillian Saure worked to become the first administrator at Pioneer to be certified by the State of Minnesota, and served in that capacity from 1965 to 1975.

While Lillian led the organization, American society was increasingly calling on nursing homes to provide a more medical-based model of care. She also oversaw expansion of the original site that included 33 new rooms, a new lobby and administration offices, and the Dieseth Chapel.

Lillian’s daughter, Mabeth, created an invested fund to honor her mother’s memory and passion for the nursing profession. Each year, the PioneerCare Auxiliary uses earnings from that invested fund to award scholarships to those who are planning a career in nursing.

Download and print an application here:

Lillian Saure Nursing Scholarship App 2018

Coffee With the Neighbors

February 26, 2018 

Pioneer Pointe presents a new opportunity to meet over a cup of coffee and enjoy a guided tour of our apartment homes. The public is invited to join us any Wednesday between 2:30 pm and 4:00 pm. No need to call; just drop by.

Current tenants of Pioneer Pointe will be on hand to welcome guests and tours will be conducted by Pioneer Pointe staff. Guests can expect the visit to take about 45 minutes to an hour.

Pioneer Pointe offers spacious, well designed apartment homes in one and two-bedroom floor plans. Each includes a fully equipped kitchen, living areas with bay window views, state-of-the-art smoke detection and sprinkler systems, personal alert systems, and more. Shared spaces include a beautiful lobby area, restaurant-style dining room, coffee room, private meeting space, quiet library area, under-building heated garage, and guest room for overnight company.

A full range of options can be custom tailored for each tenant to include chef-designed meals, extra storage, onsite beauty and barber service, extra housekeeping service, personal laundry service, personal home care, and more.

At Pioneer Pointe, home maintenance chores and expenses are a thing of the past. No more painting, repairing, winterizing, snow blowing or other tedious tasks. Use that time for activities you truly enjoy: coffee with the neighbors, an occasional card game, a stroll through the neighborhood, or taking up a new hobby you always wanted to master. For planned group excursions with your neighbors, a well-appointed activity bus is available for transportation. It’s all about good friends and neighbors.

While the Wednesday coffee and tours are a standing invitation, those interested may call 218-739-7772 for an alternate time to fit their own schedule.

CNA Class Starts April 3

February 20, 2018 

PioneerCare pays training expenses and certification exam cost if you successfully complete the program and become a CNA at PioneerCare. If you’re age 16 or older, apply online today!
Apply for the CNA class, interview and try a shadowing experience to see what it’s like. Complete the background study and the NCRC Assessment through the Minnesota Workforce Center. If you’re accepted, PioneerCare will help you sign up for the course.

Class meets on the M State-Fergus Falls campus:

  • April 3-4, 10-12, 17-19, 24: 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm
  • April 25: 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm (including Clinical Orientation)
  • April 28-29: 6:00 am to 4:30 pm (Clinical Experience)
  • Thursday, May 3: Nurse Assistant Exam at 4:00 pm

PioneerCare starts new CNAs at $14/hour…

…Plus benefits including $1/hour added pay for evening and night shifts, scholarship opportunities, paid time off, and full-time benefits including 401K, health and dental insurance, and more!

Apply Now

100% Health Coverage for Nurses

January 29, 2018 

PioneerCare Fully Covers Health Insurance Premiums for Nurses

Starting in February, PioneerCare will now pay 100% of the health insurance premium towards the single-only 5000 HD/HSA health plan offered by our provider, currently Health Partners, for full-time staff nurses employed at PioneerCare.

To be considered full-time, nurses need to work an average of 30 hours a week or more. This new benefit applies to both current and new nurses at PioneerCare. Management staff are not eligible.

Nurses who seek family coverage through PioneerCare will have the option to pay the difference between the single policy and family policy. Based on current premium rates, this new benefit provides over $100 in additional income per month for those who are currently enrolled in PioneerCare’s health coverage.

This benefit will be in effect for a three-year trial basis and will be reevaluated for continuation in December 2020.

To learn more, contact the PioneerCare Human Resources Team by email or by phone at 218-998-1500.

Pergola Project Completed

December 22, 2017 

Residents and patients of PioneerCare Center received an early Christmas present and it’s now been constructed in the building’s front garden. While the gift will be more enjoyable in warmer months, the new pergola already adds architectural interest. 

The project was originally the brainchild of Jody Sanborn, a former maintenance worker at Pioneer with a talent for timber frame construction. When the care center was built in 2011 it included a circular patio space, 30 feet in diameter, with a fountain serving as a focal point. The entire patio is surrounded by perennial flowers, bushes, and ornamental trees. While it serves as a retreat to enjoy the outdoors, Sanborn noted the patio’s lack of shade. His proposal for a pergola offered a mix of shade and sunny options for people to maximize use of the space.

“It’s important for a person’s well-being to connect with the outdoor environment,” said Nathan Johnson, PioneerCare’s CEO. “The care center offers numerous choices for individuals to do that with generous use of windows, multiple patios, our glass-walled Garden Court with its indoor waterfall, and now the pergola in the front garden.”

Based on a small model Sanborn built several years ago, the PioneerCare Auxiliary and PioneerCare Foundation launched a joint fundraising appeal last spring. According to Steve Guttormson, the foundation’s executive director, donors contributed $22,000 toward the project.

“People were intrigued by the model,” Guttormson said. “They could see it would be a worthwhile addition to the care center grounds and they were eager to contribute.”

Once fundraising was complete and it was time to build, Sanborn had moved on to working full time for a firm erecting wind generators. He was no longer available to steer the project to completion, so he turned the project over to Spidahl Woodworks.

Ben Spidahl, a timber framer in his own right and collaborator with Sanborn on other projects, finalized the design based on the model Sanborn had created. “I was really excited to build a circular timber frame structure like this,” said Spidahl. “I knew the layout and joinery would be challenging but that’s what makes this kind of work fun!”

Large timbers were needed to make the semi-circular plates of the pergola’s inner ring and perimeter, so Spidahl ordered western red cedar timbers from a specialty mill in Spokane, Washington. Red cedar is known for strength, beauty, and weather-resistant qualities.

He began fabricating the different components of the pergola in late October at a shop in Pelican Rapids. With most of the work done there in a controlled environment, on-site installation was completed in just two days.

Spidahl described the assembly as “putting together a big three-dimensional puzzle.” He notes that a smooth assembly is a testament to meticulous planning and expertly executed layout and joinery.

The design uses traditional timber frame construction. The centuries-old technique requires specialized skill and precision to complete, including mortise and tenon joinery with hardwood dowels pinning the joints. Such construction is extremely sturdy and emphasizes the beauty of wood. “Timber framing is like furniture building on a grand scale,” says Spidahl. “It’s hard work and nerve-wracking at times because every cut counts. When you have no extra material and all your joinery is exposed you have to get it right the first time.  But the end result is very gratifying! I’m happy that my work will provide a space of peace and beauty for many people to enjoy.”

The pergola makes the most of the circular patio’s footprint. Three wedge shapes, equally spaced around the circle, meet with a middle ring over the fountain. All the wood surfaces were treated with a weather-resistant penetrating oil prior to assembly. Threaded rods anchor the structure to the concrete patio.

“It’s outstanding,” Johnson said. “Seeing the structure in place makes us look forward to spring.”

Those interested in supporting projects through Pioneer Foundation can contribute online at GiveMn.org or contact the Foundation directly.

CNA Class Begins Feb 6

December 22, 2017 

PioneerCare pays training expenses and certification exam cost if you successfully complete the program and become a CNA at PioneerCare. If you’re age 16 or older, apply online today!
Apply for a CNA position, interview and try a shadowing experience to see what it’s like. Complete the background study and the NCRC Assessment through the Minnesota Workforce Center. If you’re accepted, PioneerCare will help you sign up for the course.

Class meets on the M State-Fergus Falls campus:

  • Feb 6-8, 13-15, 20-22: 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm
  • Feb 27: 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm (including Clinical Orientation)
  • March 3-4: 6:00 am to 4:30 pm (Clinical Experience)
  • March 8: Nurse Assistant Exam at 4:00 pm

PioneerCare starts new CNAs at $14/hour…

…Plus benefits including $1/hour added pay for evening and night shifts, scholarship opportunities, paid time off, and full-time benefits including 401K, health and dental insurance, and more!

$50,000 by Year’s End

December 18, 2017 

PioneerCare Foundation has set a goal of raising $50,000 by December 31, 2017. This year-end appeal offers you the opportunity to share in the important mission of PioneerCare. Donated funds help make PioneerCare the exceptional provider of services and amenities for older adults and people living with chronic conditions.

Such donations recently funded:

  • a new front garden pergola for shade at PioneerCare Center,
  • renovations of Pioneer Cottages Memory Care,
  • an activities bus and vans for resident transportation,
  • high-tech diagnostic equipment,
  • nursing scholarships,
  • and more.

Be part of the movement to support the PioneerCare mission and help us reach $50,000 by December 31, 2017. Donate online through GiveMN.org or send to PioneerCare Foundation, 1131 Mabelle Avenue S, Fergus Falls, MN 56537. A gift in any amount gets us closer to our goal!

Pioneer Home Foundation, doing business as PioneerCare Foundation, is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization.

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