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Elm Crest Active In The Community Spiritual Care In the Community

The History of ABHM

FALL 2017

Elm Crest Men Start Singing Group

Rehabat Elm Crest Senior Living Community

Elm Crest Senior Living Community has provided comprehensive rehabilitation programs to new and existing residents for over 35 years.

•Independent Living •Assisted Living •Health Center •Memory Care

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2104 1 2 th St., Harlan, IA 51537

Elm Crest is owned and operated by American Baptist Homes of the Midwest, a not-for-profit provider of senior health care since 1930.

FALL :: 2017


At Elm Crest there is a new activity on the calendar, a men’s singing group. What began as an informal men’s get-together, they called “coffee talk”, has been transformed by one of the members into a weekly men’s singing group. The group, now consists of 6 to 8 men from Elm Crest, who meet on Wednesdays, at 3:00 in the Chapel. The men, along with a volunteer piano player, sing a wide variety of songs and have a great time together. Several of the men are in involved with the Golden Kiwanis Club and the group has been invited to perform their routine for Club members. With the holidays quickly approaching the group will be practicing holiday favorites old and new, and hopefully, we will see them in-concert at Elm Crest and around town.

Elm Crest Supports Walk To End Alzheimer’s On September 16th the annual Alzheimer walk was held at the Pioneer Park in Harlan, IA. As a proud supporter of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the Elm Crest team turned in a stellar performance and raised $2,185.00. The effort to organize and coordinate the Elm Crest team is headed up by the business office manager, Patti Kumm. Although led by Patti, it take a team effort to manage and organize the program, and this year the team included Activity Aide, Halie Whitmore and Angela Bladt, Human Resources Director. Planning and organizing the fundraising begins almost as soon as the previous year’s Walk ends. Throughout the year Elm Crest staff, resident and resident families take part in a number of fund raising activities. Staff members are very generous and contribute by donating a dollar on Fridays to wear jeans to work, creating a more

casual work atmosphere. Staff members also buy “Walk” T-shirts and donate the proceeds to the cause. Another very popular fundraiser stems from Elm Crest’s own Mary Wilwerding. Mary loves to bake and is well known for her cupcakes. Using her creativity Mary entices the staff with a number of delicious flavors and wonderful fillings. Needless to say the “cupcakes” are always a favorite, and we would like to thank Mary again this year for donating her time and effort.

The Elm Crest Silent Auction is yet another fund raising event. The items are donated by residents, staff and others throughout the community, then auctioned off to the highest bidder, all in an effort to raise money to end Alzheimer’s. As one of the leading providers of memory care in the Harlan area this annual event is very important to Elm Crest residents, resident families and staff, and we look forward to the day when a cure is found.

From ER to Long Term Care

By Susan Reid, BSN RN Elm Crest Clinical Manager

Who would think an ER nurse would change jobs and move into long term care? Well, that would be me, Susan Reid. After 17 years in the ER, I decided to make a change and take a position as a Clinical Manager at Elm Crest Senior Living Community in Harlan, Iowa. After 5 months of working with the Elm Crest team and getting to know the residents I am happy to have made the move. I have nearly 30 years of experience in the healthcare field and held a number of position along the way. I have had nursing positions in medsurge, post intensive care, ER, along

with being a Navy corpsman. At one point, I spent 10 years as Charge Nurse before being recruited into a supervisory nursing role. Once in my new position I continued to manage the Immanuel Emergency Room for the next 7 years. As you can imagine managing a fast paced, heart palpitating ER is a much different environment than the steadier pace of a senior living community, and I have enjoyed the change. My new position at Elm Crest has given me several additional benefits, such as a short 10 minute drive to work. I enjoy spending time with my husband, three grown boys and seven grandchildren. We also enjoy our dog, cows, and chickens - yes, we


Susan Reid, BSN RN Elm Crest Clinical Manager live in the country. I look forward to getting to know the great staff and residents and making Elm Crest a place to call home.


merican Baptist Homes of the Midwest, parent company of Elm Crest, was founded in a Baptist tradition. Today, our mission has broadened to “Creating healthy Christian communities that empower older adults by providing choices for housing, services, and technology that enrich body, mind, and spirit” for seniors of all faiths and backgrounds. ABHM’s spiritual care programs are inspired by a philosophy of care shared across all our communities. Our spiritual leaders seek to uplift, encourage, and offer compassion to everyone involved with the community. Spiritual services at ABHM are interfaith and open to all residents, families, and staff members.

Each community employs a full-time chaplain who serves as the spiritual leader, including Donna Ewert at Elm Crest. The chaplains work with residents, families, and staff to meet the unique spiritual needs of the community through

Spiritual Care Pro A Mission of E worship services, bible studies, devotionals, hymn singing, personal visitation, and prayer support.

The Importance of a Spiritual Community Donna Ewert, Chaplain at Elm Crest Senior Living Community located in Harlan, IA, says spirituality Elm Crest Chaplain Donna Ewert plays a vital role in the lives of residents at Elm Crest. She is kept busy offering spiritual support and guidance to over 100 residents, family members, and staff of Elm Crest. The spiritual services offered at Elm Crest cater to resident and family needs through a variety of a programs and services. For example, on a weekly basis Chaplain Ewert leads devotions, Bible study and open communion along with Sunday services. Local church pastors also visit Elm Crest to give residents get a chance to experience different pastors and their styles.

ograms at ABHM: Empowerment “The different services and programs give residents a way to nurture their faith and continue expressing themselves spiritually, this is very important, especially for those who are no longer able to attend their own church, ” states Chaplain Ewert. These programs together with personal care and support help create a community that encourages and sustains residents, families and staff.

Spiritual Approach Supports Memory Care Residents Chaplain Ewert states “Each day I take time to visit residents who are living in the Elm Crest memory care center. The memory care center at Elm Crest provides the best setting for those living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia and has been serving Harlan and the surrounding communities for many years.” Elm Crest always welcomes friends and families of residents, and encourages them to visit and participate in activities taking place at the community. These family visits and the interaction with staff members, help residents remain connected to memories and personal identity which can offer comfort during difficult times. Despite the hardships that are often associated with memory issues, families and friends can take comfort knowing that even though their loved one seems to have separated from so much in this life, there is one thing from which they can never

be separated from, and that is the love of God. A shining example of this can be seen when I pray with a group of memory care residents and we say “Lord’s Prayer.” The moment I begin to pray, “Our Father who is in Heaven…” these people, who have forgotten so much, will slowly, one by one, join in a chorus of prayer, remembering word for word this prayer to their Lord. Even as their memories fade, it is still evident that the roots of spirituality are deep and strong. I believe this is God’s reminder to the families that their loved one is still connected to God. God spoke through Isaiah a long time ago saying, “I will not forget you – See, I have engraved you on the palm of my hands.” (Isaiah 49: 15, 16) To learn more about spiritual care at Elm Crest, call Chaplain Donna Ewert at 712-755-5174.

ABHM The Early Origins of


hen the Great Depression hit the Midwest in 1929, it had a drastic impact on not only working and economic conditions, but family life as well. The origins of Elm Crest’s parent company, American Baptist Homes of the Midwest, emerged from the hardships of this period.

Seniors in Crisis During the Depression The elderly population was hit particularly hard by the challenges of the Great Depression. Those who were close to retirement or had already retired watched a lifetime of savings disappear before their eyes. Many weren’t capable of returning to work, or were unable to find jobs that would allow them to rebuild their lost savings. As a result, many elderly people became dependent on their families for shelter and care. Unfortunately, young families were facing their own struggles. There were seldom enough resources

for them to adequately provide for their own children, let alone their parents.

Finding Hope in a New Beginning

In 1930, a small group of Baptist gentlemen living in Minnesota and Iowa recognized the serious need to provide shelter and care for the elderly population of the Midwest. These five gentlemen decided to take action and formed a not-for-profit organization they called the Northwest Baptist Home Society. The original mission of the Northwest Baptist Home Society was “to provide Christian homes for aged and dependent men and women, and to provide for their physical and spiritual comfort.” The five founders did not wait long to involve others in their efforts to relieve the suffering they saw in their communities. To expand their initiative, they joined with the Northern Baptist Convention of Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Baptist congregations in these states helped to support the Society’s early efforts.

From the Founders to Today The first ABHM community opened its doors on


1964 1965

ABHM’s first location in Winnebago, MN, the Winnebago Old People’s Home, was originally a dormitory at now-defunct Parker College. The community was later renamed Parker Oaks Retirement Community.

August 29, 1931. It was housed in a former men’s dormitory belonging to Parker College (a nowdefunct Baptist school) in Winnebago, MN, that had sat vacant for many years before being given to the Society and converted into a residence for seniors. The community was originally named the “Winnebago Old People’s Home” and later renamed Parker Oaks Retirement Community.

The ABHM mission has evolved over time, but remains true to the original values of our founders. Dave Zwickey, ABHM President and CEO states, “Our mission today is to create healthy Christian communities that empower older adults, families, and people with disabilities. We provide choices for housing, services, and technology that enrich body, mind, and spirit.”

In the following 18 years, the Society’s mission and footprint grew as they opened seven additional “Old People’s Homes” in Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska. Meanwhile, another Baptist association for the elderly was growing in Colorado, called the Baptist Home Association of the Rocky Mountains, (BHA).

In the past several years, ABHM has expanded the services offered at a number of locations across the Midwest. Our communities provide a full continuum of senior living and healthcare services that include skilled nursing, rehab care, assisted living, independent living, and memory care, along with housing and programs for the developmentally disabled and subsidized housing for seniors and families. Our communities are located in Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

BHA was chartered in Denver in 1949 with the mission to provide “facilities for care, comfort, health, recreation, and general welfare of aged people.” In 1994, the two organizations joined forces to continue a joint mission to serve those in need under the ABHM banner.





Owned and operated by AMERICAN BAPTIST HOMES OF THE MIDWEST, a not-for-profit provider of senior health care since 1930. 14850 SCENIC HEIGHTS RD, STE 125, EDEN PRAIRIE MN 55344

2104 12th Street Harlan, IA 51537


FALL 2017

Elm Crest is a faith-based, not-for-profit senior living community. Our mission is to create healthy Christian communities that empower older adults. We provide choices for housing, services, and technology that enrich body, mind and spirit.

There’s still time to support the Kleinpaste Nursing Scholarship Program at Elm Crest. Ask for details at the front desk or visit

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Elm Crest Fall 2017 Newsletter  
Elm Crest Fall 2017 Newsletter  

Elm Crest Fall 2017 Newsletter