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Creating a vibrant senior community in Estacada

ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Luke Wilkenfeld, the new executive director at Grace Place, hopes to continue to expand the senior living communitys options for resident-directed care and outreach to the local community.Community is at the center of the goals for new Grace Place executive director Luke Wilkenfeldt.

Wilkenfeldt, who has been director of the senior living community since April, hopes to build upon the work of previous director Flynn Phillips and continue to provide resident-directed care and community outreach.

Wilkenfeldt believes both building relationships and clinical care are valuable for providing the best care for residents of Grace Place.

“It takes a balance of both to create a healthy person,” he said.

Phillips, who was director of Grace Place for three years, also focused on providing individualized care.

“We want residents to know that we’re there for them,” he said.

Both Phillips and Wilkenfeldt believe that this level of personalized care can be cultivated particularly well in a smaller community such as Grace Place.

“Staff members can really get to know the residents and their families,” Wilkenfeldt said. “In larger communities, it’s easy to get lost in the clinical care and forget about the relationship side of things.”

In addition to meaningful relationships, Wilkenfeldt believes it’s important that residents have a sense of purpose.

“It’s important that (residents) aren’t just sitting in their rooms waiting for things to happen,” he said. “We want to create a vibrant community here.”

In order to help achieve this goal, Grace Place has a monthly resident activity council and a monthly resident food committee.

“Anyone who wants to participate can sit down and talk with us about how things are going, and be involved in how their care is provided,” he said.

Wilkenfeldt believes the resident council is valuable because it allows patients to play an active role in their care.

“At our resident council meetings, residents tell us what they would like to see more of,” he said. “We want to integrate things that bring back positive memories, and put them back into that sense of joy they had when they did them originally.”

Looking forward, Wilkenfeldt hopes to continue to expand community outreach at Grace Place.

“We want to be an integral part of the community in Estacada,” he said. “We want to provide the needed resources for the rest of the community while providing the best care that we can for our residents.”

Last month, they began providing lunches for seniors in the community on Wednesdays.

Soon, they hope to host a support group for caregivers who look after elderly family members at home.

“We hope to provide a place for them to talk to one another and lean on one another,” Wilkenfeldt said. “It can be isolating caring for loved ones at home, and we want them to know that they’re not experiencing anything different.”

Wilkenfeldt said his favorite part of his job is being with the residents.

“You meet some amazing people and hear some amazing stories,” he said.

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