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Life at Walker Methodist: 2015 Year in Review

Scott Riddle | Dec 29, 2016

As we close the doors on 2015, we wanted to reflect what the year has meant for Walker Methodist. There’s no better way to savor the memories, embrace the changes, and celebrate the strides than by taking the time to review what these 365 days presented. Of course, we’ll always remember 2015 as a giant, celebratory year as we turned the big 7-0 … 70 years young, that is!


Highview Hills in Lakeville, MN was awarded Best Senior Apartments, Best Assisted Living, and Best Retirement Community by SUN Newspapers Readers’ Choice for 2014. Lakeville itself was chosen as one of the Best Places to Live by Money Magazine, and Walker Methodist is proud to be at home in the community  there.

We introduced our guest blogger, Ashley Graven, a Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer to the Walker Methodist line-up of blog authors. Her posts include health and fitness topics for senior living.


The month of pink hair, we celebrated the Valentine’s Day holiday at Care Suites with a food shelf donation drive, and smashed that goal! The result was Rick, Director of Housing, dyeing his hair pink much to the entertainment of staff and residents.

We created an infographic highlighting the 10 vibrant communities Walker Methodist has in the twin cities metro, and shared it across all our networks. The gorgeous piece can be found here.


Student board members of the Minnetonka High School Interact Club donated six iPods for our residents to use as part of our Music & Memory program at Walker Methodist. The students’ effort to make a difference was definitely a success, and we appreciated the young leaders initiative and generous spirit. To learn more about Music & Memory – read this blog.

Walker Methodist announced its Employee Pay it Forward Program, as supported by the Walker Foundation. This program was established to honor and support our wonderfully committed and integral staff in a dollar-for-dollar match to enhance their lives in times of  need.



New York-based British musician singer-songwriter Greg Holden graced us with his talented presence further supporting Music & Memory. He entertained residents with his acoustic guitar and hits from his 2015 album, Chase the Sun

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and we shed light on the neurological disease with a blog highlighting the effects of the disease, and how Walker Methodist cares for those with Parkinson’s.


We celebrated National Nurses Week across all communities with plenty of cake, laughter, love, music, and appreciation. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – we are so incredibly lucky to be surrounded by the staff we have, and we know our nurses (and all other team members) level of care and commitment sets Walker Methodist apart.

Westwood Ridge in St. Paul hosted a pancake breakfast in honor of residents and community members, fundraising for the Walker Methodist Foundation. Mayor David Meisinger attended, further strengthening the bond we have in the communities we live in.


We held our 10th annual 5k/10k Run & Walk at Lake Harriet. We had beautiful weather and over 250 participants. Registration fees supported the Walker Methodist Foundation, which in turn supports our services, programs, and communities. Elizabeth posted a recap blog here.

Health Center enjoyed some tiny visitors in the form of 60 preschool students from St. Stephens Catholic School. There was singing, dancing, and plenty of participation and enjoyment for all residents. Children really are a cure-all for anything that ails and we look forward to many more visits from our little friends.



Residents at Plaza in Anoka went on a fishing excursion – proving our mission of Life. And all the living that goes with it. is carried out each and every day. We work to enrich the lives of our residents, regardless of season.

We dedicated a blog to the difference between independent living, assisted living, and long-term care as an effort to support families considering the transition to senior living. A big part of ongoing support at Walker Methodist happens at that level – we know it’s hard for many families, yet such a positive life step at the same time.


We witnessed a bit of a miracle when one of our residents at Health Center took her first steps in 11 years. Tracy’s story is shared here and in it, she shares what the Walker Methodist difference is all about.

We embraced growth as we broke ground on our new Walker Methodist Plaza Gardens community in downtown Anoka. This site is adjacent to the current Plaza space, and will feature 26 memory care suites, 42 assisted-living suites, and five enhanced care suites for aging adults. We’ll be sure to continue our celebration with the grand opening planned for fall of 2016


We held an Alzheimer’s fundraiser in conjunction with World Alzheimer’s Day September 21st. We held a silent auction and spaghetti dinner, raising over $1,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association, which works to raise awareness and global funding for the disease.

Our team put together a Walker Methodist Memory Journal as a way to connect people to their memories. This free, downloadable offer contains seven different chapters covering everything from birth and the early years to careers, family, and passions. It’s a beautiful way to cherish beloved memories for residents and families.


Winners of our 2015 Employees & Volunteer of the Year event were announced at the Walker Methodist Annual Board Meeting. We were proud to recognize the following team members for their exemplary service and difference-making: 

  • Doolarie Deonarain – Care Suites
  • Dick Donovan – Hazel Ridge
  • Anne Singh – Health Center
  • Tim Wolff – Highview Hills
  • Deidre Draper – Place
  • Tamara Gehring – Plaza
  • Mike Reinert – Senior Services
  • Daniel Nyanchoga – Westwood Ridge 

Walker Methodist Volunteer of the Year honors went to Paul Varns, who dedicates his time to Health Center and Walker Methodist Place.


In November we launched our first-ever interactive infographic. It’s an animated visual that helps explain and bring life to the various amenities offered at senior living communities. Click here to check out the blog where it’s found; it’s fun and informational!

And speaking of amenities, we’re excited to announce a completion date for our new dental clinic – 1st quarter 2016! The Walker Methodist Dental Clinic is located in our Health Center community and is a partnership with the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. The clinic is open to residents and the surrounding neighborhood community and is the only clinic in Minnesota located within a skilled nursing community that serves both residents and the broader community. We’re upgrading our equipment, renovating our space, and going from two chairs, to four. Most important are the expanded educational opportunities for the U of M dentistry students. More details to come – keep your eyes (and smiles) open for details about an open house early 2016.


December brings another year full-circle… can you believe we’re already at the end of 2015? This time of year we take extra care to enjoy and appreciate our residents, families, staff, and communities. We’ll be celebrating the season with a variety of events including crafts, movies, musical entertainment, food, spiritual celebrations, and more. We’re looking forward to ringing in another year together and closing 2015 with a bang.

To close – both this year and this blog – a sincere note of gratitude and happiness: we are so thankful for all you do for our communities, staff, and residents. We wouldn’t be the best place to live and work without the support from our foundation and the amazing people who work here. Know that we feel truly blessed, and hope you feel part of the Walker Methodist family, too.

Merry Christmas and Happiest of Holidays and Cheers to a New Year!

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