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Shelter from the flood - Area nursing homes take in residents from Fargo-Moorhead

Echo Press photo by Al Edenloff James and Mary Marsden were among the residents of Eventide in Moorhead to take up a new temporary home at the Bethany Community in Alexandria because of the flooding along the Red River. "We've learned to adjust to the situation," said James. "They have a nice facility here," added Mary. The couple has been married for 62 years.

As the people of Fargo-Moorhead battled the rising floodwaters this past weekend, some of the older population were busy getting settled in their new, temporary homes in Osakis and Alexandria.

Galeon in Osakis received 11 new residents, while Bethany Home in Alexandria received 10 and Knute Nelson in Alexandria received 18 new residents.

Here's a look at what took place at each of the nursing homes:


Galeon of Osakis took in 11 "houseguests" from Eventide Nursing Home in Moorhead as a precautionary move to keep residents safe and worry-free.

The group arrived last Thursday at about 5 p.m.

With all hands on deck, including several Galeon residents serving as a welcoming group, the visiting seniors felt like they were on a vacation, according to one woman who said she really enjoyed the scenery of the bus ride from Moorhead to Osakis. To add icing to the cake, most of them got private rooms in the newly remodeled south wing, and they all received roses on Friday.

Angie Reinke, director of social services at Galeon, said the transition couldn't have gone any better.

Housekeeping and maintenance worked hard to get rooms prepared, the dietary staff was ready to accommodate the newcomers who would be arriving at mealtime and the nursing staff readied themselves at the door to greet, read charts, get their guests settled and call family members to let them know their loved ones were safe and sound.

Reinke said the Eventide staff must have worked incredibly hard to orchestrate the move in such a positive, organized way.

"They need to be complimented on their foresight," she said. "It helped things go smooth on our end."

Janice Majerus, social services assistant at Galeon, shared her pride in the entire staff for their hard work; some even stayed past the end of their shift to do their part.

"They were just wonderful," she said. "That's the kind of thing we do every day. We all feel really good to be able to help."

By Friday, the newcomers had already found their place by taking part in activities, visiting and joining the exercise class. One lady even got her hair done. Each time they were asked how they were doing, the seniors responded positively, Majerus noted.

"That's a generation of stoutness," she said. "They understand they are here for their safety and know this too will pass."

The 11 seniors will be here one to two weeks, according to Reinke.

Bethany Home

Carol Kvidt, administrator at Bethany Home in Alexandria, said two separate buses brought 10 residents from Eventide to Bethany Thursday.

When they arrived, Kvidt said each resident was assigned to a staff member. Because the new guests arrived around suppertime, food was prepared right away so as not to disrupt their routines.

The facility's medical director, Dr. Douglas Griffin, of Broadway Medical Center, checked in on all the new residents once they were settled in, noted Kvidt.

All family members were notified that their loved ones arrived safely. The new group of residents include nine women and one man. Most are either in their 80s or 90s.

"They are all doing pretty well, given the circumstances," said Kvidt, who noted that each resident came with his/her medical chart, most of the medications they needed and a couple changes of clothes. "We are so thankful that we are on the receiving end and not the other end." Kvidt doesn't know the length of stay for the residents, but said the facility is prepared to have them up to 30 days.

She also expressed gratitude toward the staff and administration at Eventide and said she gives them credit for being proactive during this time of upheaval.

The residents, according to Kvidt, have gone out of their way to be great hosts and hostesses to the new guests. "I'm very proud of our staff and residents and how they stepped up to the plate to help these people," said Kvidt.

Knute Nelson

Angie Urman, vice president of clinical operations at Knute Nelson in Alexandria, said the nursing home received their first new guests around 7:45 p.m. Thursday and the second batch came later, at about 10 p.m.

Altogether, Knute Nelson took in 18 new residents. Fortunately, said Urman, the facility received background information on the new residents prior to their arrival, which she said aided in deciding where the residents would go once they arrived.

Extra staff was on hand when the patients arrived, along with facility volunteers, which Urman said helped with the transition process. As the guests arrived, they were treated to snacks and introductions before going to their rooms.

"The majority were happy to finally get someplace or relieved to be here," said Urman. "And there were a couple that didn't really understand what was happening."

Over the weekend, the residents got acquainted with the new facility and Urman noted that many took part in activities, such as getting their hair fixed, playing cards or getting back to crocheting - all activities they were used to doing.

"We really didn't want to disrupt their routines," she said, noting that many of them said they felt like they are on vacation. "We might be spoiling them a little!"

Urman said she has been very impressed by the staff at Knute Nelson. Many of them who worked the day shift on Thursday came back and helped out when the new residents arrived that evening. "Everyone has gone the extra mile," she said.

At this point, Urman said she is not sure how long the 18 new guests will be staying. She spoke with a social worker at Eventide Monday morning, who said the facility has not been damaged, but that they were waiting to see what Monday and Tuesday's storm was going to bring. Urman predicted that the residents - two men and 16 women - would stay through the end of the week.