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Contributed photo The team that led the Bethany Community innovation idea included (left to right) Randee Hall, activities director and Jamie Tikkanen, director of social services.

Bethany wins award for lifestyle coordinator effort

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Ecumen, the largest non-profit provider of housing and services for older adults in Minnesota, recently honored Bethany Community of Alexandria with a Seedling Award.

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The award was presented at the annual Ecumen Leadership Conference. Bethany Community received this recognition after creating the lifestyle coordinator position, which has reshaped resident services and enhanced the stewardship of resources within their community.

The position reshaped the role once held by social services and activities staff members. By combining the roles, Bethany Community successfully found a way to provide more personalized care services to its residents, according to Ecumen.

Each lifestyle coordinator works with a single household of 12 to 21 people, striving to promote physical and psychological wellness. With three times fewer people to look after than before, each lifestyle coordinator is able to foster more meaningful, personal connections with their residents.

"Important to building community is making it easier for our residents to connect with our staff and vice versa," said Jamie Tikkanen, a social services worker at Bethany Community. "The lifestyle coordinator position not only creates a deeper sense of community, but it also enriches and empowers the lives of our customers."

Now that the social services and activities workers' roles have been combined, more staff members are available to work in other areas of Bethany Community, further benefiting the community.

Shoreview-based Ecumen (www.ecumen.org) provides a variety of housing choices and services along the continuum of life for people 50 years of age and older.

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