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Project 1968: Lakeside Senior Care

August 21, 2018



Today's post is close to my heart for so many reasons. First of all, because I actually got to sit down and have coffee with my business partner {hi, Brook!}. Secondly, I've had the honor of walking alongside Brook and Jaime Dodd as they've considered the uphill battle their residents face. I've seen their passion and love for their work and mission and their drive to improve quality of life within Lakeside Lutheran Home. I couldn't be more excited to introduce you to Project 1968.

 Jaime Dodd, Administrator and Brook Hayenga, Marketing Director

 {Find Lakeside and all of our amazing local businesses here: Business Directory.}


Welcome to Project 1968, we're glad you're here.


"Project 1968 is Lakeside's quest to become a mission destination for all organizations- religious, political or commercial- wanting to make a difference in a vulnerable and essentially overlooked population in America that truly needs to be addressed. The atmosphere in nursing homes is something that everyone knows needs to change, but placing more rules and regulations on these facilities is not the whole answer. In fact, in many ways it makes it harder to treat residents wholly- mind, body and spirit.  The direction needs to go....well, it needs a whole new direction and we need people to see this and care."


- Brook Hayenga, Marketing Director Lakeside Lutheran Home


Long Term Loneliness


It's not surprising that residents in long term care facilities battle physical and mental illness. What we may not realize is how much social isolation and loneliness contribute to these problems. Feelings of loneliness contribute to depression, anxiety, increased mortality and dementia. Project 1968 brings  volunteer groups from across the nation to Lakeside, where participants will help with resident recreation activities, building maintenance and community outreach. These missions increase resident recreation and social opportunities, allowing them to meet new people of all age groups. While they are here participants will have a chance to take in everything Emmetsburg has to offer: bike trails, kayaking, swimming, bowling and movies. 


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Kelly Bay: Tell me about #OurStand about the drive behind Project 1968.


Jaime Dodd: When we looked at everything our residents, and residents in most long term care facilities, face on a daily basis- hopelessness, isolation, depression, anxiety, loss of self, we knew we had to do something. "Our Stand" is our stand as a facility and staff a against the darkness that plagues our residents. Project 1968 grew from taking that stand. 


We know our residents have a need for socializing, recreation and learning opportunities beyond what we can sometimes manage with limited staff and time. While Project 1968 as a mission destination is still a developing idea, with lots of concrete details to work out as it becomes a reality, the spirit of "Our Stand" is practiced everyday at Lakeside.


KB: What kind of things are you doing as a staff to incorporate the spirit of Project 1968 before as those details are worked out?


Brook Hayenga: We've made resident outings a regular part of our weeks. Getting out and enjoying the community is a huge part of our mission, so we've been to concerts at the Wild Rose Casino, and took the residents to Okoboji for a day. Simply giving them the opportunity to socialize with each other and the general public is such an incredible opportunity for people who often feel so very isolated.


One of the issues we've run into with that is transportation. We don't have enough lift vans to transport all of the residents who want to participate. To help raise money for another van, we've started a Go Fund Me page and designed a line of incredible t-shirts that are available online {click here: Lakeside Awesomeness}. We also have a Lakeside Lemonade stand, the lemonade mix is our own and people love it. We set up at community events like Fun on the Five and the upcoming Graettinger Labor Day celebration.


KB: What's the current status of Project 1968?


JD: We're on track to become a mission site. We're very excited and our board has been incredibly supportive. We've met several times with Pastor Peter Morlock of Bethany Lutheran Church. He's been an amazing resource as he's led several missions. Interestingly enough, his focus in seminary was on youth, but he's spent most of his career working in senior care. He understands the needs of both groups and the vision we have for bringing them together. It's an interesting process because it is such a big project that it can be hard to see how we get from here to there. We really have to just take one step at a time and have faith that we'll get there. 


KB: So what are those next steps?


BH: We're working really hard right now on establishing the foundation for Project 1968, getting the website designed and social media outlets running strong so that we have a solid base to market it as everything comes together. We're looking at options for housing the first groups. Ultimately we'll build cabins on our property, but the first year we may have to look at churches, campgrounds and hosting homes.


JD: One of the other really exciting things that is happening in conjunction with Project 1968 is that the board has approved moving the Emmetsburg Education Center to our campus. Right now, we just have to finalize the legal documents and then fundraising can start to build. That has been such an amazing partnership for both the kids and our residents. We've watched a few people in particular go from being depressed, tearful and angry to simply joyful and looking forward to life. 


KB: Thank you both so much for meeting with me today. I love following Lakeside's story and watching such an amazing spirit develop. We can't wait to see what's next!! Be sure to follow Lakeside Senior Care on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with the progress of Project 1968!







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