With thermometers reading about 20 below and the cold reality of Minnesota winter, families of Memory Care residents at Pelican Valley Senior Living’s Riverfront Manor aren’t too warm to the idea of a cold, mid-winter relocation. 

Riverfront on Main is transitioning to a Memory Care complex with as many as 26 apartments. 

Conversion of main street location to all dementia-alzheimers-memory aimed at meeting growing demand; but families
concerned about winter relocation of residents

The top level of the Riverfront Manor facility is currently a ten unit, secured, memory care site–but will be converting back to conventional assisted living, along with the ten units on the lower level. 

But that leaves about a half-dozen Memory Care residents who would be relocated from Riverfront Manor to the retrofitted Memory Care on Main. 

 Meanwhile, families representing those residents are concerned about a winter move, which they believe could be traumatic for the residents. 

“What if it is 20 below,” asked Teddy Zierke, at the Jan. 28 Pelican Valley board meeting.  “Can’t thus wait until spring?”

Family member Kate Andrews suggested April, adding that she felt it is difficult to move Alzheimers and dementia residents at any time, but winter could be especially disruptive. She also raised concerns because the Riverfront rooms are more spacious and inviting–compared to smaller units at the Riverfront on Main. 

Dean Johnson added that, statistically, the average period of stay for an end-of-life resident in a long term care facility is three to five years. He  suggested that perhaps Pelican Valley could consider keeping residents where they were, and gradually, the situation would correct itself through attrition. 

After lengthy discussion, of the memory care transition from Riverfront to Main, board member Les Rotz made a motion to delay the move of the residents until April 15 at the earliest. 

Seconding the motion, John Waller II agreed, “we need to have a concrete time frame…to give these families some reassurance.” 

The motion passed.  

In explaining Pelican Valley’s initiative with memory care-dementia-Alzheimers, administrator Ashley McNally explained the move on several fronts: 

• There is an increasing demand for memory care. 

• The goal is to gradually transition the 26 room Riverfront on Main to all Memory Care. 

• The Main location, being all one floor, it is more effective to operate as memory care. 

 • Scheduling staff for a one-floor Memory Care facility will be more effective. By converting Riverfront back to all assisted living–which requires less skilled staffing–the two floor, 20 unit complex will operate more efficiently.

Board member Brian Evenson also noted that the Main location, which is the former Good Samaritan, was scheduled for remodeling.  Making the decision to gradually convert it to all Memory Care was driven by coordinating with the construction-remodeling. 

Family member Kate Andrews expressed some concern that, by phasing Riverfront out of memory care, the residents are going from an “intimate ten-room facility” to a larger 28 bed complex. 

However, noted administrator McNally, research and observations in the long term care industry have indicated that smaller rooms, but larger complexes with more common space, offer advantages. 

Patients have more opportunity to get up, move freely to common spaces and throughout the building.  With memory care residents, it offers more freedom of movement and in some cases, fewer behavioral problems and conflicts than in smaller, more confined spaces.  

With the conversion of Riverfront on Main to memory care, the Riverfront Manor is undergoing renovations to all assisted living– including new wall colors, carpet, lighting and security measures.