Friendship Haven: Facilitating a journey

New, specialized memory care unit was opened in 2017

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Julie Thorson, President/CEO of Friendship Haven, stands under the new sign for the Journeys center. The sign is designed to reflect the family home atmosphere of the memory center’s interior.

When the ribbon to open the Journeys at Friendship Haven memory care unit was cut in June of 2017, staff wasted no time in moving the first 15 residents into the facility.

Since then, more residents have moved in and the care unit is usually at, or near, its capacity of 30 residents.

Julie Thorson, president and chief executive officer of Friendship Haven, is proud of the facility.

“We’re meeting a high demand,” she said. “It’s not only a complimentary fit for our current residents, but we’ve also invited and welcomed people who didn’t live on our campus.”

Journeys is divided into two separate “homes.” Each resident has their own apartment with cooking and dining done in a common area of each home.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
RN Michelle Jakeman, director of clinical quality, and Stacey Poldervaart, director of the Catalyst Center and assistant director of nursing for the Simpson Health Center, look over one of the computer terminals in a resident room in Catalyst Center. The newly remodeled center within Friendship Haven features private rooms and is for residents transitioning to either home or other care.

There are several areas known as activity centers where residents can take part in activities. One is an “office” that features items one might typically find in an office. Another features items a resident might have found in their home’s workshop.

The center was designed from the ground up to help residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

“It’s been a challenge, but a very rewarding challenge,” Thorson said.

Journeys has also meant the addition of new staff at Friendship Haven.

“We’ve welcomed many new caregivers and I will welcome more,” she said. “It’s a devastating disease and it takes someone with a generous heart and patience. I’m very proud of the team members.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Friendship Haven President/CEO Julie Thorson looks over a living wall that's part of the new Journeys Memory Center. The wall is not only attractive but also offers residents a tactile texture experience.

Not only do the team members help the residents directly, they are also there to help the resident’s families.

“They do a wonderful job of helping the families too,” Thorson said.

During the past year, Friendship Haven has also welcomed the Rev. Jennifer Osheim-Owen to its staff.

Thorson said Osheim-Owen is also helping the residents with memory issues.

“She does a Sunday morning service that’s really about unlocking memories through music,” Thorson said. “It features a lot of music from the past. You’ll see the residents singing the songs and smiling. There’s a lot of special moments like that.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Molly Morris, who works in the Arbor Lane Neighborhood at Friendship Haven, looks over one of the activity centers in the Journeys at Friendship Haven unit during the grand opening and ribbon cutting Thursday afternoon.

During 2017 Friendship Haven also expanded its Catalyst unit.

“It’s transitional living for anyone going to something else,” Thorson.

The Catalyst unit is now in the space formerly occupied by the Journey’s unit. Each resident has a private room.

Residents there are often individuals who have had surgery or an injury and who will return to their homes, though sometimes residents will transition to hospice care or another unit at Friendship Haven.

Friendship Haven has also redesigned its logo. One feature of the design is the crossbar in the letter H resembles the roof of a home.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Deb Zemke, of Knierim, tries out the recliner in one of the resident apartments at the Journeys at Friendship Haven grand opening and ribbon cutting Thursday afternoon.

“Anyplace can say that we’re home-like,” Thorson said. “But the H represents that we are home. We train our employees that the residents don’t happen to live where we work, we get to enter their homes.”

Friendship Haven has also added Kelly Hindman to the staff in the new position of vice president of Campus Support Services. Hindman will be responsible for all support services such as dining, pharmacy, information technology, maintenance, grounds and transportation.

“He brings a really positive influence for all the employees,” Thorson said.

The Friendship Haven Board of Directors has also welcomed Sharon Hotz, Dr. Eric Pearson and Bob Singer to its ranks.

They also mourned the loss of Bruce Vandergrift, who died in 2017. Also, board Chairman Phil Gunderson and Mark Thompson both retired.

Thorson said that, in 2018, Friendship Haven will continue to concentrate on opportunities and initiatives to enhance its workforce.