Friendship Haven continuing to expand

New memory center will enhance services

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Brett Asay, vice president of health services at Friendship Haven, shows the progress of a new memory facility aimed at accomodating people with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Asay was named vice president in June 2016.

Friendship Haven, which encompasses 60 acres of residences, community and health venues, continues to expand its services in Fort Dodge.

In 2016, Friendship Haven, 420 Kenyon Road, broke ground on a new memory center aimed at supporting those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

That facility, which will ultimately contain two households of 15 apartments each, is slated for completion in June.

Friendship Haven has raised about $1.8 million towards the project. The goal is $2.1 million, according to Julie Thorson, Friendship Haven president and chief executive officer.

Breaking ground on the facility was a bright spot in 2016, Thorson said.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Mardy Sams, a volunteer at Friendship Haven, has a look at a bird ornament at the Blue Lemon Boutique inside Friendship Haven, recently. The Blue Lemon Boutique is a gift shop inside Friendship Haven that opened in December.

“We had a groundbreaking in July at daybreak,” Thorson said. “It was a very intimate and personal groundbreaking where almost all the caregivers were there with shovel in hand. It was a really great morning. We were able to do that because of all the wonderful support we received from the donors.”

The free-standing facility is located on the east side of the former Tompkins Health Center.

The facility was designed specifically for Alzheimer’s patients.

“We are excited about the design particularly because the design came directly from caregivers,” Thorson said. “In other words, the people that provide this type of care every day had a very direct voice in how we went about designing the building.”

Thorson said the building doesn’t have a fancy architectural design necessarily, because it’s meant to be practical for residents who will use it.

The addition will include more dementia-specific licensed apartments.

Thirty private apartments with private bathrooms will be licensed as Chronic Confusion and Dementing Illness specialization.

The rooms are designed so that no hallways come to an end, leaving room for what is called purposeful wandering.

Living areas also allow for easy staff supervision, according to Thorson.

She said 2017 will be a year of transition.

“Our No. 1 priority is to work through a year of transition,” Thorson said. “Just because we are adding a new building, that doesn’t mean we just have to fill the new building, because folks that are already living here will have priority access to the new building.”

The incorporation of the memory center will also create opportunities for employment.

According to Thorson, Friendship Haven will look to add 40 employees to its staff of 311.

“That also means hiring a workforce that’s ready and has the proper training to serve people living in advanced Alzheimer’s,” she said. “So our No. 1 priority is to ensure a successful year of transition and that includes opening the new building.”

Thorson said the mission at Friendship Haven will continue to be about the residents and employees.

“Our values are to respect, encourage, celebrate and learn,” Thorson said. “We talk about those values with the people living here as well as working here. We believe we have a culture dedicated to advancing leadership, regardless of position. I am looking forward to seeing our entire employee base grow and flourish even more.”

Boomers Fitness Club

A fitness program called Boomers Fitness Club, for people 55 years of age and older, is gaining traction at Friendship Haven, according to Thorson.

“The biggest program we have been growing is our fitness club,” she said.

The program was relaunched in 2015.

The space is primarily utilized by residents, but is open to the public for a monthly fee, according to Thorson.

Community classes, which include water fitness, tai chi and yoga are offered through the fitness club.

“Aqua aerobics are also very popular,” Thorson said.

Boomers Club members can make use of the included gym facilities from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week,

The pool is available to them Monday through Friday.

For more information or to join the Boomers Fitness Club, call Liz Flattery, wellness coordinator, at 573-6270.

Gifts and coffee

Friendship Haven began partnering with two local businesses to offer coffee and a gift shop inside its welcome center.

“We had a gift shop before, but this one just opened in December,” Thorson said.

Blue Lemon Boutique, owned by Cheryl Fleming and Carol Timmons, and Bloomers Too, owned by Doug and Kristen Utley, are the two businesses.

Both shops are open to the public.

Bloomers also has a location at 900 Central Ave. Doug Utley’s mother-in-law, JoAnne Peterson, helps run that store.

Doug Utley’s daughter, Allie Utley, often works behind the counter, serving gourmet coffee and espresso drinks.

Clothing items, adult coloring books and other small gifts are sold at the Blue Lemon Boutique.

“We are excited to collaborate with local business owners and having a new offering for our residents and our community,” Thorson said. “Anyone can come and buy coffee or gifts here. It’s mainly an amenity for our residents, families and employees, but anyone can certainly come out here.”

The stores inside Friendship Haven are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

New leaders

Friendship Haven also added new leadership in 2016.

Brett Asay, of Fort Dodge, was named vice president of health services in June 2016.

Asay will oversee all licensed areas on campus including the Simpson Health Center, the Gardens Assisted Living, River Ridge Assisted Living, Second Family Home Health and Schmoker Adult Day Services.

Asay comes with a wealth of experience within the the industry, having spent the last several years at UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge where he was instrumental in development of the post-acute care network in the Fort Dodge region. Asay has a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a marketing major, from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Denise Halverson, of Fort Dodge, was named director of engagement in October 2016.

Halverson brings a career background in publishing, business development and sales and marketing management to her role at Friendship Haven.

The Rev. Jim Tigges, a Catholic priest for nearly 45 years, began providing daily Mass for Catholic residents at Friendship Haven in May 2016.

Tigges, a native of Willey, has spent all his years in the priesthood in northwest Iowa, serving communities from Sioux City to Algona to Dayton.

During his time in Dayton, Tigges also served as a guidance counselor at St. Edmond Catholic School in Fort Dodge from 1984-87. Tigges moved to Humboldt in 2009 and serves three parishes in the area, including St. Mary’s in Humboldt, Sacred Heart in Livermore and St. John’s in Gilmore City.


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