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Different needs can’t keep couple apart

By Maria Thompson

After years at their lake home near Perham, Bob and Sandy Fagen realized what many seniors do... keeping up with the house, yard, and maintenance is too much work. It was time for something else.

Bob and Sandy Fagen, pictured in one of the commons areas at Grand Arbor, have been together for 62 years. The two are grateful to be living under the same roof and have all the services they need and activities they desire at Grand Arbor. Contributed photo

“We just weren’t able to take care of all of the things that needed to be done,” said Sandy.

As they looked for their new home, Bob and Sandy had two must-haves. They wanted to live in a senior community and they wanted to live under the same roof.

“Bob and I wanted other people to be around. We didn’t want just to be sitting in an apartment. We wanted things to do,” she said.

Most importantly, after years together, they didn’t want to be apart. The only catch... Bob needed memory care.

“We’ve always been together for 62 years,” said Bob. “And I will tell you, it would not be the same without her. I get a little choked up.”

Finding a new home that could care for Bob and provide community for both of them wasn’t easy but they found what they needed at Grand Arbor in Alexandria.

Bob lives in Memory Care and Sandy lives in an Independent Living apartment at Grand Arbor. Bob receives the care he needs, and they’re still together. “It’s so great being under the same roof,” said Sandy.

If you talk to Bob and Sandy for more than a minute, you’ll know that they love not just being together but doing things together. They take full advantage of the activities and amenities at Grand Arbor.

“This is a place where we can do everything,” said Bob.

One activity that they can play together is pool.

“We love playing pool,” said Bob. “She can whip just about anyone.” Sandy laughed before saying, “No.”

Some of the amentities at Grand Arbor include an onsite gym with warm water pool and hot tub. Contributed photo

The Fagens are avid card players and don’t have to look very far to find someone to interested in playing.

They also love going to movies and can go to the movies together at the on-site theater.

“All the amenities are here. There’s a pool – I really like swimming – and exercise classes. There is a beauty salon and a beautiful dining room. I don’t know of anything they don’t have except a grocery store,” said Sandy.

“You’re not going to get a better place anywhere,” said Bob. “It’s got everything you can ask for.”

Bob and Sandy have made many new friends since moving in to Grand Arbor. “There are wonderful people to get to know, to visit with,” said Sandy. “And it’s not just the people who live here, but the staff. The staff, you’re not going to get a better place anywhere.”

Bob agreed.

“You know what the best thing for me is? It’s always ‘Bob, can I help you?’ And that makes an awfully big difference. When you know that they’re there taking care of you,” he said.

Over the last 13+ months, during the pandemic, special precautions have been made to keep the residents at Grand Arbor safe.

“I’ll tell you [the last year] was tough on all of us,” said Sandy. “But they’re doing everything possible to keep us all safe. So we can be very thankful.”

Bob and Sandy Fagen continue to take advantage of the many amenities at Grand Arbor. Contributed photo

Sandy is grateful for ongoing communication from staff. “They have sheets that they put out every day. They let us know exactly what was going out throughout the whole facility. Everybody is screened before they are allowed to come in. And this is to protect us all. And this is the staff and anybody who comes in and out of this building. You can’t get much safer than that.”

Residents enjoy a free daily continental breakfast in the Pioneer Grill. Many eat there at lunch or dinner as well.

Residents who don’t want to cook don’t have to.

Every little thing is taken care of, they agreed.

“We made the right decision,” said Sandy. “You’re not going to get a better place anywhere. It’s got everything you can ask for. I don’t know of another place that you can have independent living, assisted living, or memory care all under the same roof,” she said. “We feel very, very blessed to be here. I feel that Bob and I definitely made the right choice in picking Grand Arbor to come and spend our life together.”

Interested in learning more about independent living, assisted living or memory care at Grand Arbor? Visit or call (320) 763-1600 to speak with a housing expert.

Grand Arbor amenities include:

• Continental breakfast

• High-speed internet

• Library and computer access

• Nelson Wellness Center membership (on-site gym with warm-water pool and hot tub)

• Social programs and events

• Movie theater

• Pioneer Grill – made-to-order, informal dining

• Free bike rentals and paved outdoor paths

• Public patio and grill

• Bountiful Bistro – grab-and-go sandwiches, soups, salads, snacks, and desserts

• Underground heated parking and car wash bay

• Storage areas

• Beauty/barbershop

• Gift shop

Movie theater at Grand Arbor. Contributed photo

Health care offerings (fees may apply):

• Physical therapy

• Occupational therapy

• Speech therapy

• Aquatic physical therapy in the warm water pool (89 degrees)

• VitalStim (swallowing rehabilitation)

• Total Hip & Knee aquatic class

• Balance class

• Blood draws

• In-home services through Knute Nelson Home Care

Parkinson’s exercise classes:

• Lee Silverman Voice Trainng (LSVT) BIG® and LOUD®

• Rock Steady Boxing

• NeuroFit®

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