Today (Feb. 16th) Stan and Betty Johnson are celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary with family at the RiverView Care Center.
Stan has been a resident of the Care Center since November. Betty visits every day, riding to and from the Center on The Bus, courtesy of RiverView. The Crookston couple enjoys drinking coffee in the sunny dining room, watching the birds in the aviary, eating meals together on the weekends, and visiting with staff who have become like family.
“Everyone is just so gentle and very kind,’’ Betty said of the Care Center staff. “Stan really likes the nurses, and they like him. They bring him a lot of treats, which he likes, and they pay him a lot of attention, which is very important to our family. It’s just a really good place. It’s home.’’
The staff works hard to make sure Stan is comfortable and enjoys his residence. From equipping his walker with a custom coffee cup holder so he can take his java to go, to finding a VHS player to play his beloved tapes about trains, the staff is always looking for ways to accommodate Stan’s needs.
In return for their kindness, Stan offers up advice, when asked. It seems the couple with the sweet, good-natured disposition has become an inspiration to several of the newly engaged staff members.
“There have been quite a few who like to come in and show me their rings,’’ Stan reported of the staff. “When they hear I’ve been married over 50 years, they say, ‘Stan, how do you stay married so long?’ I just tell them, ‘Live your life happy. Be relaxed, and you’ll come along fine.’’’
Stan has been able to relax and adjust well at the Care Center, the second nursing home in which he has resided. The family decided to move Stan to the RiverView location because of the smaller number of residents, greater attention from staff, and larger rooms.
“You just feel differently when you walk into this unit,’’ Betty shared. “It’s cozier. It’s a very family-centered place and nicely accommodating.’’
Keeping Stan close to home was important to his family. He is never short on visitors. The couple’s daughter, Kathy Anderson, lives in Crookston, and their son, Daniel, lives in Mentor. Stan enjoys visits from his children and grandchildren often. Kathy’s St. Bernard, Kona, has also checked the place out. Having met all of the requirements for a visit, Kona has been able to see her old friend and lay her head on his lap for a good scratch. The resident cat, Mojo, said to be on a diet, has also found Stan’s room for a visit a few times since his arrival, another comfort Stan enjoys.
The staff’s homemade ice cream ranks high with Stan, and he even spent a little time in the kitchen himself when the Crookston Leo Club students recently stopped in to assist. Through the Center’s oversized windows, a favorite pastime for Stan this winter has been watching RiverView’s building project take shape. Once a truck driver, he enjoys watching the big equipment put everything in place for a fall opening. Once the project is complete, the Care Center will once again connect to the hospital and clinic for convenience. By the time the exterior work is completed, Stan and the other residents will be ready to spend time in the garden and off-site for outings.
Today, though, thoughts of the upcoming spring will wait, as today is all about Stan and Betty and the past 55 years. No doubt, many stories will be told about the beautiful day the two were united and the big blizzard that hit the next day. And as the Care Center staff presents the two with a cake, new memories will be made with loved ones and the couple’s new Care Center family.
The RiverView Care Center is a 24-bed skilled nursing facility specializing in dementia care. The Center provides round-the-clock nursing care and assistance with activities of daily living. An interdisciplinary team comprised of nursing, activities, nutrition services, social services, administration, and a physician oversees each resident’s care. Speech, occupational, and physical therapy are also available onsite to provide rehabilitation services as needed.
For more information on the RiverView Care Center, call 281.9558.