Lots of activity at Elkader Care Center

Providing care center residents with stimulating activities is an important part of improving their quality of life. While matching activities with the capabilities of each resident can be challenging, it’s far from impossible—as Lynn Fettkether has proven time and time again.

“I start by getting to know the residents personally, which helps me when I sit down and create a calendar,” said Fettkether, Life Events Coordinator at the Elkader Care Center. “I also get inspiration from what’s happening around us.”

An example of an activity based on a current event was the viewing of the royal wedding of Prince William of England and his wife, now known as Catherine, Duchess of York. Fettkether encouraged female residents to wear fancy hats and pearls. She even scavenged hats for some of the women.

“It’s really rewarding to see the smiles on their faces when we have a special event.” Fettkether said.

In addition to holiday parties, Elkader Care Center residents have gone to movies at Elkader Cinema, toured the George Maier Rural Heritage Museum, gone to the Clayton County Fair and had picnics. There are also weekly church services, Bingo and exercise classes.

Keeping residents active is also a priority for Cathy Beck, Director of the Kingston Court Assisted Living Center that is attached to the care facility. Beck, who took her position in May after 17 years with the Visiting Nurses Association, is in the process of growing the activity program for her residents.

“Our residents are more mobile so I’d like to get them out into the community more,” Beck said. “I’d also like to get people to come in here to present programs or do things like share their hobbies.

Beck’s position at the assisted living center is a new one. Her responsibilities are varied. In addition to coordinating activities, she does regular assessments to ensure that health needs and other needs are being addressed.

Originally from Vinton, Beck has lived in Elkader since 1988. She and her husband, Paul, have two grown sons and three grandsons.

Providing quality care and creating a greater awareness of the center in the community are also top priorities for Kristin Dunlap. Dunlap was named director of the facility in May. She brings an impressive resume of healthcare work to the position.

Dunlap is originally from Lansing, where she started her healthcare career as a dietary aide. She graduated from Iowa State University in 2001 with degrees in psychology, gerontology and administration.

“I’ve been in health care for 17 years now, and I’ve done everything under the sun—CAN, social worker, hospice,” said Dunlap. “I was introduced the Elkader Care Center about 10 years ago and felt it had a really good core. I’m pleased to be part of this team.”

Dunlap’s plans for improving the quality of life for seniors—not just those at the center but others, as well—include educational offerings on diabetes, exercise and other topics of special interest to elderly persons. And like Beck, she’s eager to get the word out about Elkader Care Center, letting people know about the unique services available there like rehab and short-term care.

Kristin and her husband, Creig, have a four-year-old daughter, Rayanne. Creig, an art teacher and coach at Maquoketa Valley, will join his wife and daughter in Elkader at a later date.

“It’s an arrangement we’re used to,” Dunlap said, adding that her husband served in the Army for several years. “We’ve traveled everywhere. It’s good to be back here and great to be working at a place that’s dedicated to enhancing the lives of the people here.”

By Pam Reinig, Register Editor

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