Traci LeBrun

Recently, we moved my in-laws out of their home in Brooklyn Park to independent living in Little Canada. It hasn’t been an easy decision for them, but they’ve gone through a number of health challenges which have made it difficult to cook for themselves and maintain a house.

So the search for independent living began a few months ago. I was fortunate enough to help take them on this journey and visit a number of places with them. My husband did an exhaustive search for what was available, then I made calls and my father-in-law made calls.

My mother-in-law and father-in-law’s location criteria was different. She is from Minneapolis and he is from St. Paul. If you know people who are native to the Twin Cities, you’ll understand the rivalry there. So Judy got her way, and the first place they found was near Minneapolis.

Mark and I went with them to visit this place. The living space was very nice, but being that they are fairly young, in their late 60s and mid-70s, it didn’t feel like a good fit. The rest of the facility felt like a nursing home, and they were not needing those type of services. I suggested they check out a few other places, so the search continued.

Their other criteria was that they wanted to start out in independent living and be able to move into assisted living services without having to move into a new place. They also wanted meals provided along with some other amenities. We started out at a place in Little Canada (closer to St. Paul much to my mother-in-law’s dismay) called Cardigan Ridge. We toured the apartment and facility. As we toured, I was thinking, “This is like a lodge; sign me up now.” The food was amazing as well, and it overlooked a small lake.

We toured a few other places that day, but nothing seemed to compare to this place. So the in-laws felt good about this place and signed a contract. It met all their criteria: they could utilize the assisted living options through an à la carte program, not have to move to receive the services, have the option to cook in their apartment or eat at the facility, have transportation available, and enjoy a long list of amenities available to them such as a fitness room, hair salon, chapel, game room, movie theater with movie-style seating, barbecue area and a number of other activities. And the facility is affordable. I later learned they pay about the same as others pay for much less out in the country.

Through this process, I learned there is a shortage of senior living in the Twin Cities and surrounding area which is likely why we see them popping up all over now.

Overall, though the transition was tough for them, they’re in a place they feel good about with people similar in age. And we feel good about them being where they’re at now, don’t worry about them as much and have enjoyed visiting them there. Change can be tough, but there are great places that make the next stage of life for seniors something to look forward to.

Traci LeBrun is the editor of the Messenger.

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