‘We have the best tenants in the world’

Senior living with extra services in Little Falls

Highland Senior Living offers independent living, assisted living and memory care services in Little Falls. Contributed photo

Lunch is still half an hour away, but the dining room tables are filling up. There’s laughter and the conversation is flowing, without a lull, at Highland Senior Living in Little Falls. Many tenants of the housing community like to socialize with their friends and neighbors, and mealtime is a perfect opportunity to visit and share news.

Highland Senior Living, an active adult community located in Little Falls, recently celebrated its fifth year anniversary. The senior housing community, operated by Tealwood Senior Living, has 65 units, 51 for assisted living and 14 for enhanced or memory care. Executive Director John Linn, said the Highland community is like a second family. “We have the best tenants in the world.”

Little Falls has a population of just over 8,000 residents, and Linn describes it as a wonderful community to live in. Highland Senior Living has worked to establish good relationships with the Little Falls community by welcoming residents to their events, like church services, educational seminars and live music. In October, many children stopped at Highland in their Halloween costumes to trick-or-treat.

Most of Highland Senior Living’s tenants receive assisted living services which include: one or two- bedroom apartments with a full kitchen and laundry room, two meals a day with the option for a third meal, Emergency Response System, weekly housekeeping, 24-hour staff, a daily check-in system, home health services tailored to the individual, social activities, and all utilities, except for phone.

Highland Senior Living also has a secure memory care unit with a separate dining room, lounge and patio. They have a higher staff-to-resident ratio in the unit, and staff specialize in the care of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Tenant Karen Bell at Highland Senior Living. Contributed photo

Karen Bell has lived at Highland Senior Living since August, but she’s been busy in those few months. “I know all of my neighbors and all of the people in my hallway,” she said, adding, “and I know everyone at my dining table.” Bell, who was born and raised in Swanville, 15 miles west of Little Falls, lived in Tennessee recently, but her family encouraged her to move back to Minnesota. She lives in a one-bedroom apartment and, because of some health problems, she finds comfort in the fact that there is round-the-clock care available at the housing community. “It feels good to be home,” said Bell. “This is a nice place, and the food is real good.” Her days at Highland Senior Living are filled with activities, like the daily exercise class, bingo, crafts and live music performances each week.

Bell is a member of the resident council, which is a monthly forum for council members and staff to meet, share ideas and concerns and offer input on how to make life better in their housing community. Bell’s latest idea? “We should get a karaoke machine,” she told Linn. “That would be fun.”

Virg Litke, who performs for the tenants at Highland Senior Living. Contributed photo

Highland plans to have two full-time activity directors and add more activities to the early evening and weekend schedule. “The live music is our most popular activity,” said Linn. “We have people from the community who join us for the performances.” The weekly music events feature area musicians, including country music bands, bluegrass bands, a harmonica player and an accordion player.

Highland Senior Living has numerous amenities, including its own beauty salon/barber shop and a massage parlor, available by appointment. Catholic services are held in the chapel on Monday mornings, and a Protestant service is held on Thursdays. A “great room” has a full kitchen and large gathering area, including a television, for tenants to celebrate birthdays or other special occasions with friends and family. It’s also available for the public to rent. Highland has a secure outdoor area with grills, bird feeders, walking paths and raised garden beds for tenants to use. There are some garages available for tenant use.

“We have a guest suite where family members can stay if they’re from out of town but want some extra privacy,” Linn said. “It’s cheaper than a motel.”

Tenants can have dogs and cats at Highland Senior Living. “We’re a pet-friendly place,” said Linn, who recognizes and believes strongly in the importance of pets for companionship and for their therapeutic value. The memory unit at Highland has its own resident cat, Maggie, who walks the halls, but will plop down happily to be petted and get an occasional treat.

Highland Senior Living provides weekly bus trips to the grocery store, Walmart, and the dollar store, and it also schedules outings to senior dining and to some favorite restaurants, like the Black and White in Little Falls. Seasonal activities are planned so tenants can go on pontoon rides in the summer, take trips to the pumpkin patch or view the changing leaves in the fall, and, in December, check out the Christmas light displays around town.

Margaret is a tenant at Highland Senior Living who appreciates the caring staff who work there, and she’s proud of how attractive the building and grounds are. She stays active playing bingo and going to music performances and educational seminars.

Highland Senior Living is located in a residential neighborhood in Little Falls. It is just blocks away from a grocery store, a pharmacy, and a number of restaurants. Photo by Cathy Nelson

Highland Senior Living is located in a residential neighborhood at 1012 3rd Ave NE, Little Falls. It is just blocks away from a grocery store, a pharmacy, and a number of restaurants. For more information, or for a tour of the housing community, contact John Linn, executive director at 320-632-1880 or john.linn@twsl.com.

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