Independent living, with big perks

Ridgewood Villa recently completed expansion and renovation project

Ridgewood Villa is a 59-apartment independent living facility in Glenwood. Pictured above is the front entrance. Down the hallway to the left is the Glacial Ridge Wellness Center. To the right is Glacial Ridge Health System and Trumm Drug. Photo by Jim Palmer

When a couple or individual makes the decision to sell their home and move into a senior living facility, there are usually a few specific things they are looking for. Most want a maintenance-free, clean and secure facility with a friendly staff. Ridgewood Villa in Glenwood has those basics covered. But they also take it a big step further.

Ridgewood Villa is an independent living facility owned and operated by the Glacial Ridge Hospital Foundation (GRHF). The Villa recently completed an expansion and renovation project that more than doubled its occupancy, from 29 to 59 apartments. And it not only increased the size of the facility, it also increased the number of amenities for its residents.

“There are definitely numerous perks here,” said Daryl Klous, Ridgewood Villa director.

One big perk was the addition of a state-of-the-art wellness center and warm water exercise pool on the northwest end of the Villa, complete with the Glacial Ridge Wellness team, including a presence by the physical and occupational therapists.

“Membership to the wellness center is included for Ridgewood Villa tenants,” said Klous, who said his tenants like to go down in groups and participate in the SilverSneakers programs, use the pool and take advantage of the exercise equipment.

Walking down another hallway at the Villa takes tenants to Trumm Drug Pharmacy, which is leasing a retail space on the Glacial Ridge Health System (GRHS) campus.

“There is a well-worn path to Trumm,” he said. “They deliver medications to us, but our tenants like to visit the gift shop and pick up greeting cards and other things there.”

The location of Ridgewood Villa is hard to beat. It is located just 1-2 blocks from downtown Glenwood, the popular Lakeside Ballroom, the shores of Lake Minnewaska, city park and the Glenwood Senior Center. And it is located just a few steps from the Glacial Ridge Hospital and Glenwood Medical Center.

“The location is really nice for our tenants,” said Klous. “Everything is so close.”

Ridgewood Villa offers a meal plan, available in the morning, at noon and in the evening.

“The GRHS dietary department prepares all our meals. They have a four-week rotation of meals, and they also have a substitute menu each day. If they don’t like something on the menu, they can pick something off the substitute menu. We can meet all the dietary needs and restrictions,” said Klous. “And the meals are all included in the rent.”

Ridgewood Villa is designated as an independent living facility with a “housing with services designation.” This allows them to bring in services to help allow the tenants to age in place.

“We provide home care services through Glacial Ridge Home Care,” said Klous. “They are in the building 365 days a year, and it is completely confidential. Because of this, our tenants can live very independently here. We bring the services to them.”

And for many of the tenants, living independently is exactly what they do.

“One of our residents is an avid golfer. He golfs every day when he can,” said Klous. “He doesn’t have to shop for his food; he doesn’t have to prepare the food or clean up afterwards. It works out really well for him.”

Klous said there is no requirement to check in or check out, and tenants really enjoy that freedom.

“We are typically the first place people in this area will come when they leave their home. Maybe they decide the house was too difficult to keep up, or too expensive, or health-related issues may arise,” said Klous. “They also may come because their home isn’t as safe because it is not handicap accessible, with steps, trip hazards, and things like that.”

Because Ridgewood Villa is safe and secure, it is easier for the tenants and less stressful for their families.

“The families really benefit, too,” said Klous. “They don’t need to worry. There is no lawn care removal or snow removal needed, and when help is needed, we have that dialogue about what needs to take place. This is truly independent living in a resort-like atmosphere.”

Other perks available include heated garages, light housekeeping duties, a library (with access to the Viking Library System), a craft room, an activity lounge, a patio area, a welcoming commons area and a multipurpose meeting room that is used for bingo, cards and church services, among other things.

“We have representatives from four churches who come here and offer services each week,” said Klous.

Daryl Klous, director at Ridgewood Villa, along with Ginnie Hagen, a tenant. Hagen had volunteered at the Villa for nearly 10 years and moved in when the expansion project was complete. The two are standing by the fireplace near the Villa’s entrance. Photo by Jim Palmer

Ginnie Hagen had been coming to Ridgewood Villa for nearly 10 years as a volunteer pianist. When she was thinking of selling her home to make her life easier, Ridgewood Villa was top on her list.

“I have always realized the importance of the Villa in our community,” she said. “I have always loved the atmosphere here.”

Hagen was the first person to sign up when the expansion project was announced. She moved into her apartment last year.

“To be able to walk to the beauty shop, to the swimming pool, the pharmacy, the lake, downtown, and the hospital is so nice,” she said. “Everything is a short walk away.”

Like other tenants, she has been impressed with the overall facility, the location and the services. But she believes it is the people at Ridgewood Villa who make it really special.

“Daryl has taken it to the next level,” she said. “He lines up great entertainment for the residents, and we have a weekly activity list. Last week, we had a ‘lunch and learn’ presentation with representatives from the University of Minnesota. They were talking to us about peripheral artery disease. We have had many great speakers and entertainers.”

The social part of Ridgewood Villa has been key to its success.

“It is easy to socialize here. There are some really great friendships that have developed here. Many of our residents haven’t had a chance to socialize much in the years before moving in here, so it has been fun to watch. Some have developed the best friendships they have had in their lives.”

Hagen has seen a remarkable change in people after they move into the Villa.

“I feel like when people come here, their health improves,” said Hagen, “I really do believe that.” She said people eat better, exercise more and socialize more than they did while living at home and that makes for a much healthier lifestyle.

A group of ladies at Ridgewood Villa come together for a Bible study. Photo by Jim Palmer

“There is definitely a big advantage of living here,” said Klous. “Most people say they wished they would have moved here five years before they did.”

Klous said many of his tenants waited until they were really struggling at home to make the move. He said by that time, it has put a burden on the family and a real strain on a person’s health. He encourages people to think ahead and check out housing options before problems arise instead of after.

While many of the units at Ridgewood Villa were filled once the expansion was completed late last year, there are good apartments still available.

If you are interested in a tour of Ridgewood Villa or want to know more, call Daryl at 320-634-2266, ext. 2261 or email

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Senior Perspective, PO Box 1, Glenwood, MN 56334  ||  (320) 334-3344

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