With close to 20 people on a waiting list to move in, Pioneer Cottages Memory Care is preparing to reopen its Homestead Cottage in Fergus Falls as soon as possible. Before it can open, PioneerCare must hire about ten new professional caregivers to join the current memory care staff.
Homestead Cottage, with a capacity to serve up to 16 people, is one of three such living settings designed to provide 24-hour specialized memory care in a secure, home-style setting. Due to staffing shortages, PioneerCare was forced to close the cottage in November. That action provided relief to existing staff and allowed them to focus care on a smaller group of residents within the other two cottages.
“He begged me for a way to admit his friend with Alzheimer’s whose wife was struggling to care for him at home.”
Considering community need, closing a memory cottage and part of PioneerCare Center was not an easy decision for PioneerCare CEO, Nathan Johnson.
“When PioneerCare was forced to stop admitting new residents recently, a gentleman sat in my office in tears,” Johnson wrote in response to the situation. “He begged me for a way to admit his friend with Alzheimer’s whose wife was struggling to care for him at home.”
Johnson continued, “Sadly, I had to turn him down. The reason wasn’t because our buildings were full – in fact, we have empty beds. I turned him away because we don’t have the level of staff that we need to accept new residents. It’s a stark and devastating reality for seniors and their families across Minnesota.”
Class in January Prepares New Caregivers
Responding to the need for more professional caregivers, M State is offering a free Certified Nursing Assistant class beginning next Tuesday, January 4 on the Fergus Falls campus. The class is part of Governor Tim Walz’s initiative to recruit, train, and deploy at least 1,000 new certified nursing assistants for Minnesota long-term care facilities by the end of January. M State offers class details and a way to sign up for the free class here.
“Each individual we hire now is appreciated more than they may know, says Ann Boutwell, director of Pioneer Cottages. “They help rebuild our team and make a huge difference. Growing the number of caregivers, even one-by-one, is vital to serve some of the most vulnerable people of our community.”
While being certified is ideal for new caregiving staff at Pioneer Cottages, it is not required at the time of hire. PioneerCare will help non-certified employees earn their status as a CNA. A candidate needs to be at least 16 years of age, have a valid driver’s license and the ability to pass a criminal background check.
More details are found online at www.pioneercare.org/careers.