Staff contributes to high demand for Harbor services

 

Harbor Best Places to Work

Ecumen, and staff The Harbor at Peace Village, were recognized as one of the best places to work. Pictured are: Amanda Neubarth, Bonita Heilman, Joanne Kelzer, Jackie Odenthal, Jolene Barthel, LaVerne Schrupp, Lavern Graupman, Laurie Hilgers, Bonnie Wildung, Terri Ratter, Judy Rasche and Denise Lovelette. (Submitted photo)

by ADAM GRUENEWALD
NYA Times

Among the reasons residents enjoy their time at Harbor at Peace Village in Norwood Young America is the staff and their encouraging energy.
Housing Manager Laurie Hilgers, who has been in her position since the facility opened in October 2006, said they have 36 assisted living apartments for residents staying an average of 12 months.
“We do everything from meals to activities to bathing assistance and medication management,” she said. “Any kind of services they need help with.”
Most recently. the Harbor at Peace Village, along with other Ecumen communities, was named one of Minnesota’s Best Places to Work by the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Business Journal for the eighth time.
Ecumen is one of 55 companies that received the honor, out of about 200 companies that were vying for the award. Rankings are based on employee surveys in a variety of categories such as work environment, teamwork, embracing innovation, people practices and personal growth and development.
“It is especially rewarding to be named a best workplace eight times,” said Robin Dunbar, Ecumen’s vice president of human resources. “This is a tribute to the dedication of our employees and to the importance of our culture, which is all about innovation, empowerment and honor.”
The Harbor employs 25 people locally, and Ecumen employs nearly 4,000 people, primarily in Minnesota. Ecumen also operates in Wisconsin, North Dakota, Nebraska, Tennessee and Idaho, serving more than 10,000 seniors.
“We’re very fortunate at The Harbor to attract talented people in the community who want to work with us and make lives better,” said Hilgers. “Empowering our employees in turn empowers the people we serve. It’s a dynamic combination.”
Hilgers said the award was a reminder for her of the effort she and the 25 employees at the Harbor put in.
“It’s been quite an honor,” she said. “I can’t do it by myself. It takes good staff to build a reputation that the Harbor has.”
Hilgers attributed the success to the lack of turnover.
“I think it’s the family atmosphere that we have here and the longevity of our staff,” she said, adding that helps residents. “It feels like home and they feel comfortable.”
The quality of services has led to increased demands on space and a lengthy wait list, between nine months to a year.
“What we’re seeing in assisted living is we’re always full,” she said.
A proposed 37-unit building addition to Peace Village, which will provide 10 memory care units and 27 units, should help to lessen that wait time and prepare for the future as there are 62 units of independent living at Peace Villa and 50 units of market rate senior housing at Oak Grove.
“As those people age, where will they go to get medical care?” said Hilgers. “By adding onto our building and providing services that’s going to help them without having them move… NYA is their home and they want to stay here.”
The new building is expected to break ground in June 2014 and open by Spring 2015.

Contact Adam Gruenewald at adam.gruenewald@ecm-inc.com.

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