Thursday, July 1, 2010

What's next for Bethel Lutheran Home?

For nearly 50 years Bethel Lutheran Home has been providing a variety of services for those living in the Madison area. Now, the nursing facility is looking toward the future.
“No one has ever measured the economic impact of the elderly,” Administrator Jim Iverson said. “It has to be staggering.”
What is known is that Bethel Lutheran Home has been able to offer seniors choices over the years.
When Bethel first opened it was a retirement facility and is now one of 108 skilled nursing homes in South Dakota. In the 1970s it changed to skilled nursing with 24-hour nurses on staff.
Then in 1990, independent living apartments opened and then seven years later, assisted living became available. Also that year, an adult day program started.
There are 14 elderly adults in a program that has room for 20. The program provides meals, bathing, transportation and medications.
Then in 2000, an intergenerational daycare was launched. In 2008, the first twin home was constructed for independent living. Then in 2009, a child care facility was built.
Now in 2010, the Bethel Home Foundation is looking to use 8 ½ acres for more additions.
A recent study states that through 2025 there will be an additional 900 more seniors in Lake County. Now there are 100 seniors in the Bethel Home programs.
“The question is how we are going to meet the needs of folks without raising fees?” Iverson said.
The board is looking at building more independent apartments with garages, Iverson said. The house would not be as expensive or as large as the twin homes. “We also need to expand assisted living,” he said.
What has helped Bethel Lutheran Home over the years has been the medical presence in the area that includes pharmacies, clinics and the local hospital and the fact that Bethel Lutheran Home is locally owned and operated and is governed by a 19-member board of directors. Bethel is also unique in that it is one of two facilities that offer all private rooms.
The two things that have impacted seniors over the years has been eating right and taking the correct medications.
Another challenge in the future is access to transportation. “It is getting to be an issue.”
In addition, Iverson sees telemedicine as being a big issue in the next 20 years. “It will allow more options and more choices for seniors.”

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