An assisted living facility in Minot is under new ownership and is making several changes that should improve the quality of life for its residents.
The Wellington Assisted Living, located at 601-24th Ave. SW, is now owned and managed by Meridian Senior Living, a North Carolina-based company that manages assisted living facilities all over the country. Natalie Zeleznikar, vice president of operations and a licensed nursing home administrator, said Meridian assumed operations at The Wellington just a few weeks ago after its previous owners decided to look for different types of ventures.
The Wellington has 67 units comprised of one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as studio apartments, with 24-hour on-site awake staff.
"We are there to provide assistance for people who need assistance with the activities of daily living. Things that they need to keep them at their highest functional level they might need help with. Some minimal assistance with dressing or personal hygiene, toileting and mobility," Zeleznikar said. "Keeping them at their highest functioning level is really our goal at The Wellington."
As a licensed assisted living facility, Zeleznikar said they are able to provide services to residents in their private apartments that are customized to what their needs are.
She noted they are not a locked facility for people with dementia or Alzheimer's, however. All of The Wellington's residents have self-preservation skills and are able to summon the staff for assistance if required.
"People that need two people to transfer them or have a level of cognitive impairment where they don't have self-preservation skills, they wouldn't be able to stay at The Wellington," Zeleznikar said. "For those that just are frail seniors, aging, that need assistance with one person assisting them, as their care levels may change we're able to do that and accommodate those types of care needs. So we're able to care for people that are diabetic or people that have other types of situations."
Zeleznikar said all of The Wellington's staff is staying, so it's business as usual and residents shouldn't notice any changes to their daily routines or the staff that assists them.
"We've retained all the employees. Karen Terry is our housing director, she's the manager for The Wellington," Zeleznikar said. "Our nurses are still the same and our activities and our chef, maintenance and aides, they are all the same."
While much is staying the same, Meridian is making a few changes to The Wellington that will benefit both the staff and the residents. What Zeleznikar will be able to do as vice president of operations is get them resources to find best practices and create new programs for seniors to help keep them at their highest functional level.
As part of a larger company with facilities all over the United States, The Wellington will now have access to a multitude of new resources and new ideas on how to best care for senior citizens.
"What we will be able to do is give them some other cutting-edge tools and collaborate with other people that spend 100 percent of their time caring for seniors across the country. To me, that's been one of the best parts of Meridian Senior Living," Zeleznikar said. "The entire team is 100-percent focused on their business plan of serving seniors and caring for seniors across the United States."
In addition to new resources and ideas, Meridian will also be increasing the staffing at The Wellington to provide for increased services as the residents age.
"(We're) increasing our nursing hours, we're going to be adding a receptionist position for our front entrance - somebody that can greet the residents, somebody that can take care of many different office functions," Zeleznikar said. "We're going to be making some changes like that, providing care for people that need help with bathing, dressing and toileting. If they need assistance walking to the meals, diabetic care, we'll be able to do those types of things."
The increased services will provide for more care levels so residents can stay at The Wellington longer.
For more information on the services The Wellington offers, call 818-2705.
Along with the additional services, The Wellington will also start allowing residents to keep small pets on a case-by-case basis.
"If they had a pet their entire life sometimes it's hard to part with it, and sometimes their pet becomes equal to family or a friend," Zeleznikar said.
Another service Meridian is considering adding is a van to help transport residents to medical appointments. While The Wellington already has a car for appointments and a bus for group transportation to and from activities, Zeleznikar said some residents have difficulty getting into the car so a van would make going to appointments easier and more comfortable.
She said residents also get rides to their church for Sunday services. In addition, The Wellington also offers services of its own for those who can't or choose not to travel to their local church.
Zeleznikar said one thing Meridian tries to do is allow each facility it runs to keep the unique flavor of the community it resides in so residents don't feel like they're in a facility that looks boring and identical to many others.
"They get to keep their own name and we are able to really customize it to fit the needs of the community," she said. "There's not one cookie-cutter approach where everybody looks the same. We don't do it that way."
Zeleznikar, who works in Minnesota, said she is thrilled to have The Wellington as part of the Meridian family and looks forward to visiting Minot soon to see how she can help the staff offer the best service possible to the residents.
"I'm just excited to be a part of the Minot community. I grew up on a farm and it's a very comfortable place for me to visit in Minot. It's a very familiar community and it's a thriving community, so it's very fun to come and see the community growing," Zeleznikar said. "For services to be available for seniors, I think that's what we all want. Across the country people are living longer so I think it's essential that we have core services available for them so they can have a quality of life in their older years."