From the Administrator

Happy Spring and thank goodness Winter has finally come to an end! There are so many things going on around us and this is a great time to give an update on the happenings in Madonna Living Community and Senior Care. This last fall, Madonna Towers Nursing Care received a technology donation from a grateful family and we were able to purchase a new program called It’s Never Too Late (or IN2L) and customized music therapy. This is a computer program which enhances our resident activities program. The staff and residents can do everything from play games, listen to music, travel the world, watch TV shows, and more. It can be customized to the resident, used by one individual or can by used for a large group activity. This program has been very successful in our Nursing Care Department and we are hoping to expand it to all locations by the end of the year. Another item that we are very excited about is being able to conduct a pilot program at Madonna Meadows with the Myndvr Virtual Reality for Residents. This is a product that is specifically designed for seniors to provide stimulation and experiences they can no longer have in person. This software allows the resident to take trips around the world, tour museums and art galleries, go to mass, and even family videos can be uploaded. Madonna Meadows is one of two BHS facilities piloting this program to determine the benefits and satisfaction to our Assisted Living residents. Studies outside of BHS show promising affects of reducing depression, social isolation, and even pain management. Finally, we are on the verge of doing an update to the Main Chapel at Madonna Towers. Over the past two years we have investigated a program called the Hearing Closed Loop that enhances sound in a room and will amplify that sound for individuals wearing hearing aids. We have held several meetings with our residents and other organizations including a presentation by Dr. Hogan, Director of Mayo Hearing Center, to learn more about this program. We believe this hearing loop system will significantly help our residents and visitors to hear better. Thanks to our generous donors, the Foundation will be funding the initial investment in the equipment and software fees for all three of these programs.
This is the time of year that our legislature is in session and it is always a time of concern for senior services. On a good note for the legislature, there is significant momentum in moving forward legislation that will increase protections for seniors living in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living facilities. This legislation includes a new license for Assisted Living facilities and a special certification if you provide Memory Care services. There is legislation around marketing practices, staff education requirements, and cameras in resident rooms. Madonna Living Community supports these efforts and we are working with our local legislators in hopes they will be signed by the Governor. With the good there is usually a bad as well. Governor Walz has proposed rate decreases to Nursing Homes and we are at risk of losing much needed funding. There is also no increases in funding for the Elderly Waiver program, which is the financial support program for seniors in Assisted Living when they run out of funds. We count on modest increases in these programs to help provide for wage and benefit increases for our staff. This is an area that YOU could help Madonna by contacting your local legislator to share that decreases are unacceptable for our Seniors and the people who care for them. A significant percentage of our budget goes toward staff wages and benefits. In a time of severe workforce shortages, this is not the time to take away funding that will directly impact our ability to recruit and retain the best staff.
Thank for your support of Madonna Living Community.