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60/20 Tour: Upscale Living, Our First WWII Vet, and My First Cruise Kiss

Abiitan Mill City and English Rose Suites

Two unique communities wrap up our second day in Minnesota.  Our first stop is an upscale, trendsetting community in downtown Minneapolis called Abiitan Mill City, part of the Ecumen family.  We were a tad apprehensive walking in, as some earlier emails were focused on making sure we didn’t do anything “childish”,  but two minutes into my conversation with Tommaso all was well.  He runs the programming for the community and his Italian charm and accent was on full display. He puts everyone at ease, especially the residents.  We cruised with 3 unique women,  all of whom were comfortable sharing a lot of life stories in the car.  One of the women had overcome a tragic accident as a teenager – an inspirational story of resilience. Tommaso even gave us part of the tour in Italian!  Fascinating community on many fronts.

Our second stop was English Rose Suites, where I was delighted to hang out with a long-time friend of mine, Jayne Clairmont. Jayne was doing person-centered care before the phrase was ever coined. Her model of converting residential homes into delightful places to live for people living with dementia is wonderful. My first thought whenever I walk into her communities is always “this would have been a cool place for Mom and Dad”. Isn’t that the ultimate compliment?  I love the warmth of their community. Katie Rinehimer, who runs the programming, rocks IN2l and all kinds of other resident experiences.  There is such a sense of camaraderie in these homes.

Here we had two great cruising experiences, one with our first WWII vet, an articulate munitions specialist with stories galore of his own band of brothers. It was cool thinking about my Dad and his service so many years ago.  And in the second run, one of their residents was bouncing and singing all over the place,  clearly thriving being out on the road,  sowing her oats.  Full of energy, full of life! Then we snuck a kiss as the ride wound down.  It was completely innocent Jayne, I promise!

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