Winona’s first assisted living memory care residences, Winona Health’s Adith Miller Manor and Roger Metz Manor, are celebrating 25 years of serving people who have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Adith Miller Manor was the first memory care home in the Winona area, outside of a long-term care setting.
When Rose needed more care than could safely be provided in their multi-level home, her husband of nearly 63 years, Dick Kowles, a retired professor of genetics and biology at Saint Mary’s University, chose Adith Miller Manor.
“I looked at our options and visited Adith Miller Manor a couple of times,” said Kowles. “I talked with the people and toured the rooms and got familiar with the place, and it looked like what she needed. There are always a couple of helpers and they are excellent—you can see that it’s genuine care. That’s the way it appeared to me, and that’s the way it worked out. We’re almost like a family, the residents and the visitors, it’s a very homey setting.”
Something else that’s important to Kowles, “They have a lot of activities, table games, entertainment, music and singing together. Sometimes it brings tears to your eyes. So I enjoy coming in every day.” He notes that he’s only missed three days, due to weather, of spending time with Rose and the other residents. Kowles also shows 35 mm slides to the residents about twice a month (flowers, animals, scenic views, historical sites, etc.), and he enjoys doing it.
Meeting a community need
Located on the Winona Health campus, Adith Miller and Roger Metz manors are home to people who thrive in an assisted living environment where they can continue to enjoy the activities of daily living in spite of the challenges they face due to Alzheimer’s or dementia.
In the early 1990s, Ben Miller, a Winona-area businessman and philanthropist, known for his generosity and caring and for finding ways to improve the lives of Winona residents, had a personal interest in providing a home-like setting for persons with Alzheimer’s disease. Miller shared his interest with Roger Metz, Winona Health’s CEO at the time, and, in honor of his wife Adith, Miller provided funding to build Adith Miller Manor in 1992. A second home, Roger Metz Manor, was built a few years later.
Adith Miller and Roger Metz Manors can accommodate up to 10 residents each with early-to middle-stage Alzheimer’s or other memory diseases. Often residents and their families are seeking a safe and home-like setting where they can continue to be engaged in their day-to-day routines and meaningful activities.
When is it the right time to consider memory care?
Often people wonder: When is the right time for someone who has memory challenges to move? According to Cheryl Krage, director of Assisted Living at Winona Health, “Each individual has unique needs and access to resources. Safety concerns at home, fear of wandering outside and getting lost, limited socialization and needing more help throughout the day with personal cares, balanced meals, etc. are often areas of concern when seeking out our memory care home for their loved one.”
Krage added, “I’ll never forget how a gentleman I worked with described how his family made the decision to move their mom to our memory care. His mom, who moved to Winona from another state, had been living with him and his family. While they had the usual safety concerns about leaving his mom at home alone while they worked, the decision was all about her. He realized her life was revolving around their work and school schedules and he really wanted her to live somewhere where activities, socialization, meals, and other life events revolved around her and her needs.”
Consider your options
People who choose Adith Miller and Roger Metz manors generally do so because of the smaller, home-like setting. The homes are in a beautiful, quiet location that faces Lake Winona, where residents can spend time outside enjoying views of the bluffs and the lake from their garden area.
“Our residents participate in a variety of activities that keep them engaged throughout the day,” said Krage. “Activities are designed to keep everyone moving and socializing if they wish, with storytelling and reminiscing, board games and trivia, crafts, opportunities to enjoy nature and planting, and even live music.”
Krage also noted that residents who enjoy getting out and about go on rides in the Winona Health van for activities such as seeing the changing seasons, visiting an apple orchard or participating in the Minnesota Marine Art Museum Spark program.
“We see firsthand the comfort these homes bring to residents and their families,” said Krage. “And we are grateful to Benjamin Miller for his generosity and compassion, which will continue to benefit people in our community.”
Those interested in scheduling a tour of Adith Miller or Roger Metz manors, discussing costs or getting additional information about Alzheimer’s or memory loss are invited to call 507.494.7400.
Photo: Celebrating 25 years: Winona Health’s Adith Miller Manor, Winona’s first assisted living residence specially designed for people needing assisted living due to Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
Photo: In addition to visiting his wife, Rose, at Adith Miller Manor daily, Dick Kowles, a retired professor of genetics and biology at Saint Mary’s University, frequently shares slide presentations, including nature, historical sites and photos from travels to other countries, with the residents.