St. Luke’s marks 50 years

BLUE EARTH – St. Luke’s Lutheran Care Center has grown considerably since Dr. Lewis Hanson got a vision in the 1950s.

The facility will host an open house from 1-3 p.m. May 19 to celebrate 50 years of caring for the elderly. The open house will cap Nursing Home Week, May 12-18.

Self-tours will be available, said Jess Urban, human resources director and director of marketing and development at St. Luke’s.

“People can go to specific points of interest if they want; people can come and go,” she said.

Refreshments will be offered. Historical displays will be set up for viewing.

“It’s cool to see the progress over the years,” Urban said.

It all began with Dr. Hanson gathering some men from Frost in 1956 to form the St. Luke’s Lutheran Corporation to plan and raise funds for a facility to care for the elderly.

“On April 15, 1963, the first four residents (three women and one man) became part of the St. Luke’s family,” Urban said.

Back then, the facility had 60 beds. Within six months, it was full and employing 13 staff.

St. Luke’s now has 112 beds and 215 employees, Urban said.

The facility includes Southview Estates, an independent living section; Friendship Court, an independent living section opened in 2007; and New Life Manor, an income-based facility.

St. Luke’s is supported by 16 area churches.

There are many perks to living at St. Luke’s, according to Urban.

“There are two [spa rooms] and they are wonderful,” she said, noting the heated floors and jet tubs. “It helps them have a much better bathing experience.”

The beauty shop takes care of all the residents’ needs, such as trims, perms and facial hair. A barber comes weekly.

The therapeutic recreation department develops activities for the residents.

The guest suite is a special feature.

“The guest suite is a place for family members to stay – [it is] usually always booked around the holidays,” Urban said.

Families also can use it after a relative’s surgery or if a loved one’s death is imminent.

Religious needs are met with church services, Bible study, memorials and a men’s club.

People don’t have to live at St. Luke’s to participate. An adult day service is available full days or half days and the licensed nursing staff helps with crafts, bathing or outings.

“It’s like a daycare center for adults,” Urban said. “It builds relationships with others in the community.”

Community members are welcome to come show off their talents by entertaining residents with music, magic or other skills. Contact Elaine Hurn at (507) 526-2184 to schedule a visit.

Above all, St. Luke’s tries to be home to its residents.

“It’s accommodating their schedule, not our schedule,” Urban said. “We keep expanding and improving, and we’re always open for suggestions.”