Fairway Ridge provides comfortable assisted living option in Albany

The picturesque setting of the Mother of Mercy complex along the Albany Golf Course. Contributed photo

Imagine your home in a picturesque setting with the plush emerald-colored grass of a golf course on one side, and a large historic church on the other.

That’s what the residents of Fairway Ridge Assisted Living based in the Mother of Mercy Senior Living facility in Albany get to look at every day. The Albany Golf Course runs along the west side of the Mother of Mercy complex, while the Seven Dolors Catholic Church is nestled in on the east side.

“It’s beautiful here,” said Tom Enneking, who moved into Fairway Ridge Assisted Living with his wife, Laurel, six months ago. “There’s so much to look at here.”

Mother of Mercy Senior Living is a faith-based nonprofit organization encircling Albany area residents with physical, emotional, social, and spiritual care since 1959.

Many of the residents of Fairway Ridge enjoy watching the younger generation playing on the day care’s playground outside the building.

“Laurel’s sister lives in the building across from us, and the day care’s playground is between the buildings,” Enneking explained. “We go out on the balcony to talk to her and watch the kids play.

“One time there was six or seven little kids playing, and they all stopped and looked up at us. Then one of them said ‘Hi Grandpa, hi Grandma.’ That just warmed our hearts.”

Fairway Ridge residents have a choice of a seemingly endless list of activities if they so desire.

“There’s always something to do here,” said Elmer Kohorst, a Fairway Ridge resident with his wife, Aurelia, since Dec. 1, 2017. “We play cards, bingo, listen to music and a lot of other things. We attend Mass three times a week. They have something all the time that we can do. We really appreciate that about this place.”

Residents play bingo using the new technology board. Photo by Scott Thoma

And many of the residents at Fairway Ridge acknowledge that the staff members treat them as though they are family, offering to help them with anything they might need.

“They really are saints here,” said Kohorst. “They treat us so well here. We’re the happiest people in the world.”

One of the most important things for adult children is to know that their elderly parents are being cared for when they can’t be around.

“Every time I come to visit my parents, they are so happy,” said Therese Ghyzel, of Virginia, the daughter of the Kohorsts. “It’s such a beautiful place, and my parents feel at home here. The staff is so nice to everyone and that’s such a comfort to know that my parents are being treated so well.”

Over 225 people are employed at the 207-unit Mother of Mercy facility that also includes The Gardens (memory care/nursing home), Main Street (skilled nursing), The Suites (rapid recovery), Memory Lane (memory care/assisted living), Grace Court (enhanced assisted living), Tranquility Place (memory care/assisted living), and Pondview Estates (affordable senior living).

In all, Mother of Mercy calls it “Vibrant senior living graced by the Spirit of care.”

Mother of Mercy also prides itself on a modern technological program called “It’s Never 2 Late” that benefits senior citizens.

“IN2L allows our residents to connect with their family and friends, or even beyond that,” said Dean McDevitt, Administrator and CEO of Mother of Mercy. “We have Skype (an easy-to-use live video chat service) that allows them to see and visit with their family members or friends that might live far away, or even a few doors down from them.”

The new technology also allows residents to keep up with the news of the day, listen to various types of music, work on dexterity through hands-on problem solving, or even play games, such as bingo, in which the large display board calls out numbers while displaying an oversized number to aide those who might not hear or see well.

“We are thinking of new things for the residents to do all the time,” said McDevitt. “We want everyone to be happy here so we try to offer something for everyone. But sometimes a resident likes to just relax in their apartment and that’s fine, too. We give them the option to do whatever they like.”

One of those options that Fairway Ridge (named because of the closeness to the golf course) offers its residents is a chance to relive their youth by attending an annual themed prom, similar to a high school prom.

“This year, the theme of the prom was ‘Royal Wedding’ because of the real royal wedding,” said McDevitt, while showing a display on a hallway wall that featured several prom photos, many that included smiling faces. “Everyone dresses up, and they enjoy dancing to live music and everything just like a real prom.”

Residents enjoy having children from the nearby day care dine with them. Contributed photo

Other events and activities at Fairway Ridge include holiday and social parties, Bible studies, card games, crafts, coffee hours, and intergenerational opportunities with the school and day care center next door.

“We love to visit or eat lunch with the children,” said Enneking. “They always have something to say that makes us laugh.”

The annual Memorial Butterfly Release in August is one of the more popular events hosted at Mother of Mercy. The event is designed to remember a loved one. While soft music plays in the background, inspirational poems and prayers are read. As each loved one’s name is read, the person honoring them releases a butterfly.

Among the many amenities at Fairway Ridge are:

Apartments are spacious and include a full kitchen.
On-site barber and beauty shop.
Chef-prepared nutritious meals served three times a day.
Bistro café that residents can enjoy a cup of coffee or lunch with visiting friends of family.
Fit 4 Life exercise program.
Chapel open seven days a week and features sound system technology that works wirelessly with hearing aids for better audio.
    Full range of assisted living and personal care services.
    On-site staff 24 hours a day.
    Nurses available 24 hours a day.
    Emergency call system.
    Appointment for all interests.
    Wellness services.
    Art (mneme) therapy
    Enriching activities, events, and opportunities for all interests.

“They offer us the opportunity to go to places in town or out of town,” said Kohorst. “They will take us down to the library if we want on a golf cart. Or they will drive us around town so we can see the homes we used to live in.”

Residents can also take trips to places such as casinos, Munsinger Gardens in St. Cloud, or just to the local Dairy Queen for a treat.

“I’ve only been (employed) here for a week and I’m already excited about some ideas that I have thought of for some events and activities,” said Fundraising and Marketing Director Natalie Spiczka.

McDevitt said many of the residents were instrumental in getting the golf course and other businesses established in Albany.

Fairway Ridge residents take a ride on a horse-drawn wagon. Contributed photo

“We have people here who helped build this town,” he said. “And they still have independence here with reserved parking spots, so people can come and go as they please.”

The Mother of Mercy mission statement reads: “We strive to provide the best quality of life possible to those entrusted to our care.”

“That is so true,” said Laurel Enneking. “We enjoy life every day here. We wished we had moved here sooner.”

“When we were married 39 years ago, I told Laurel that our honeymoon will last until we die.” Said Tom, Enneking. “And it’s been like a honeymoon every day here. Our apartment here is our home. We have no regrets at all.”

Mother of Mercy is located at 230 Church Ave. in Albany. For more information or to schedule a visit, call 320-845-2195 or visit their website at www.motherofmercymn.org.