by Dave DeMars
It’s a quiet sunny day as housing manager Matt Imdieke sits in his office. Outside, workmen are placing shrubs and bushes and raking out the last of the bare earth before the planting of lawn begins at one of the newest buildings in St. Joseph called Serenity Place on Seventh.
Serenity Place on Seventh is a 55-plus, three-story living complex designed for independent and assisted living with four unit plans to accommodate the needs of clients. The building and the idea behind it are modeled after a similar building in Watkins. The owner-investors are local businessmen who grew up in the area (St. Joseph, Meire Grove and other small towns in Stearns County) and wanted to provide a way for people living in the St. Joseph area to stay in their familiar surroundings even as their health might decline.
In a way, this is a kind of gift from the investors to the residents of St. Joseph, Imdieke said. They aren’t looking to get rich off the project. The investors are names that would probably be known to many people locally: Fred Struzyk, Tom Opatz and Lynn Imdieke.
There are 47 units in the building with prices ranging from $1,250 to $2,500 per month.
“We have a studio-efficiency unit, a one bedroom, a one bedroom with den and then a two bedroom,” Imdieke said.
While many of the units are already rented, there are still units available in each of the different types, Imdieke said. The one- and two-bedroom units have their own laundry facilities, and the two-bedroom units even have balconies.
What makes Serenity Place unique is the services and philosophy behind it. All utilities are included, including cable TV. It is a 24-hour secure facility with 24-hour awake staffing. Call buttons are provided in every room in case a resident has need for additional help from staff.
Staff includes an on-call registered nurse, certified nursing assistants and aides. Many services such as a beauty salon are available to residents. The building features three common areas for use by residents and the building is located a block or two from Klinefelter Park for residents who want to take walks and enjoy nature.
Garages are available for vehicles for those who still drive. For those who enjoy gardening, there will be raised gardening beds on a concrete slab to make it easily accessible and residents can grow their own vegetables.
And then there is the design of the building itself. All units have in-floor heat to add another level of warmth. Each unit has double-walled insulation to deaden sound transfer from unit to unit. That means when a neighbor has trouble sleeping and turns up the TV at night, other residents won’t have to share in “The Price is Right” at 3 a.m.
Elevators are located in the middle of the building to provide easy access to all areas of the building. Common areas can be used by all residents. For example, the activity room can be used for birthday parties. Another area can be used for baking or doing crafts, Imdieke said. The upstairs sunroom is available for daily use – card games, puzzles and the like.
“We are in the process of getting a bus,” Imdieke said. “As of right now we are going to share with Watkins and that way we can take a trip to Coborn’s or Target or some local restaurants. We are also going to be making some other trips. A lot of this is going to be based off of what the residents want to do.”
A registered nurse provided by Care Providers will be on staff and on call 24/7.
“They will be trained to handle whatever the needs may be,” he said. “The RN is always on call. There is always an RN that can come in or answer any questions.”
Imdieke has worked in other facilities, and he said that what makes Serenity Place different is the philosophy behind it.
“It’s more of a resident-first community,” he said. “While I don’t know everything other places do, I can base [my statement] off what we do. We solely base [our services] off of what the residents need and/or want. We don’t want to charge extra for services they may not need. The owners have said multiple times they are not doing this to turn huge profits.”