The Face of Cassia

Cornerstone Assisted Living Activities Abound, farm visit

Activities Abound at Cornerstone

Cornerstone Assisted Living and Memory Care offers year-round activities and events, both on-location and around the Twin Cities metro area

Residents at Cassia communities can stay as busy as they like to be, and this is especially true at Cornerstone Assisted Living and Memory Care in Plymouth, MN. Seniors have the option to get involved in themed events, go on area excursions, and participate in organized or casual on-site activities.

In the Cornerstone community, there are activities such as concerts, wildlife presentations, magic shows, ice cream socials, jackfruit tasting and several word games. On the road, there are trips to places like the apple orchard and Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. These examples all took place in one month!

Out and About with Cornerstone

Seniors at Cornerstone Assisted Living love to go for rides in the community’s bus. In the fall, they view the changing colors of the leaves. In the winter, they check out Christmas lights.

“They just love it because they can enjoy it in a bus and don’t have to get off,” says Jackie, Cornerstone’s Life Enrichment Director. “It’s a really big deal … They really love it because they can enjoy the journey and everyone can talk about what they’re seeing.”

When bus trips are taken, they always get a treat, usually ice cream.

Sometimes, there’s a drive just for viewing, and at other times there is a planned destination, such as an orchard or the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

At the orchard, some residents will pet and feed the goats, and others just enjoy taking in the beautiful view on a warm, sunny fall day. Everyone enjoys the treat, such as apple cider, apple donuts or apple pie ala mode, of course!

Residents enjoy the three-mile drive through the arboretum, to which Cornerstone Assisted Living has a season pass. If they like, they can sit on a bench and take in the beautiful surroundings. Or, they can go inside to see more flowers or peruse the gift shop.

“It’s a beautiful gift shop and the staff are very accommodating,” Jackie says. “When you’re working with seniors, it’s really nice when people hold the door, welcome you and show they’re happy you’re visiting.”

Other popular destinations include restaurants and grocery stores.

In-House Entertainment

Jackie enjoys booking entertaining individuals or groups to perform or present at Cornerstone Assisted Living. Planned events include concerts, magic shows and wildlife presenters.

Magician Markus Clegg is one example. Residents enjoyed his humor, shadow puppets and—of course—mind-bending illusions.

Sometimes, the entertainers or presenters have connections to the residents.
For example, one resident has a daughter who works at the Lowry Nature Center. She has become a popular presenter. She has presented owls, hawks and other animals for residents to see and, sometimes, even touch, if they want to.

Cornerstone also has a staff member named Rachel who provides entertainment by playing guitar and piano.
“She loves Cornerstone,” Jackie says. “She radiates a lot of joy and a lot of smiles. People ask, ‘Is today a Rachel day?’”

368 Words

Many of our residents love word games. One of the most popular games is word mining. Staff provide a 13-letter word and residents are asked to make as many words as possible from the given word.

“The record is 368 words,” Jackie says. “We bring it down for all the residents to admire. We type up all the words and they make a big deal out of it.”

In another popular game, residents call letters as they try to solve a word puzzle with categories like song or book titles. Such activities are failure-free.

“If you’re just giving a letter, everyone can play and everyone can succeed,” Jackie says.

In Memory Care, residents are given a category and asked to name five things in that category.

“It’s challenging but not too difficult, so everybody wins,” Jackie says.

“We work their minds with puzzle games a couple times a week,” says Julia, the Director of Housing. “It’s really a popular thing for residents and family members who come in and participate. Staff will stop and participate. It’s a collaborative effort to solve word puzzles and keep all our minds sharp, as well. It’s another way to keep them engaged.”

Chaplain Jay Joins the Fun

“Our Chaplain, Jay, is kind of an honorary life enrichment person,” Julia says. “He has taken spiritual life and turned it into a life enrichment program.”

He leads standard spiritual life programming like chapel services and Bible studies and engages residents in other ways. He leads art projects and service projects: Operation Christmas Child, school supply drives and making fleece tie blankets that are donated to a children’s hospital.

Every activity he leads has a spiritual theme, such as crossword puzzles and other Bible-related games. He also created a game room on the lower level of the building with corn hole, shuffleboard and other games.

Fellowship is at the heart of many things Jay does.

“After our church service on Sundays, he does fellowship in the dining room that’s open to everyone and a volunteer serves coffee and a baked good treat,” Jackie says.

She, Jay and others recruit students to volunteer for such activities, which residents enjoy. Oh, and of course the residents love having kids visit for Halloween.

All About Quality of Life

“Our goal is to provide strong quality of life,” Jackie says. “Dining, life enrichment and chaplaincy are like the life of the building.”

Her goal is to make sure everyone feels at home.

“I always tell folks this is their house, their place,” Jackie says.

Residents, including those on the resident council, weigh in on what should take place.

“I ask them to make comments,” Jackie says. “The biggest goal is to keep them happy, engaged and involved as much as possible.”

She knows some things are non-negotiable, like bingo on Mondays and ice cream on Fridays.

“They love their ice cream every Friday, which is unique to Cornerstone,” Jackie says. “Don’t mess with bingo or Friday ice cream. They made it very clear to me those things are carved in stone.”

No matter the activity, the goal is the same: improve the quality of life for residents. When employees keep that goal first and foremost, everybody wins.

“We love our jobs,” Jackie says. “If you’re in this kind of business, you really need to love what you’re doing. If you’re passionate about something, they’re passionate about it. If I’m excited, they’re excited. They ask, ‘What’s going on today? What are we doing today?’”

At Cassia communities like Cornerstone Assisted Living, the answer is usually ‘A lot.’