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Seniors enjoy life at Emmanuel

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Seniors enjoy life at Emmanuel
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

This week is Long Term Care Week, a celebration of age. And Emmanuel Community employees are helping celebrate the week, honoring the senior citizens in their facilities.

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The theme, Community Treasures, defines how Emmanuel employees feel about their residents. Residents like Hazel Bimberg, Lamplighter Manor; Alice Nordstrom, Emmanuel Nursing Home, and Betty Matzueff, The Madison.

In 1963, President Kennedy declared May Senior Citizen's Month. In 1970, it was changed to Older Americans Month. Now the week following Mother's Day is considered the Homes for the Aging Week.

"Just because they are aging, doesn't mean they stop contributing to the community," said Angie Blazek, occupancy coordinator at Lamplighter Manor.

Bimberg, 87, has been living in Lamplighter for 18 years. She was born and lived in Menahga until moving to Lamplighter.

"I thought I was going to die there, but I fooled them," she said.

Bimberg, who was married for 51 years before her first husband passed away, had eight children, some of who still live in the area.

Since she was 12 years old, she has been sewing. In fact, residents and employees of Emmanuel call Bimberg "Grandma Fix It" because of the alterations she still does for anyone and everyone.

Besides alterations, Bimberg also sews the Santa caps and suits and elf costumes at Emmanuel during the holidays.

When she's not sewing, Bimberg fills her time making corsages for birthday parties, reading to residents, entertaining those in daycare and serving coffee every Sunday morning in the chapel.

After several years in Lamplighter, Bimberg got married again.

She said her first husband once asked her why she never grayed, and she replied, "I don't worry, I just pray." Must have worked.

Matzueff, 84, has been a resident in The Madison since last fall. Her husband lives in Emmanuel Nursing Home, so it's convenient for her to visit him.

"I've met a lot of friends between here and there," she said of her trips from The Madison to Emmanuel.

Matzueff and her husband have a home on Cotton Lake, where they moved after leaving Gary, Ind. They had fished in the Detroit Lakes area for years, and it seemed fitting to move here.

Since leaving the Cotton Lake home and moving to The Madison, she said, "My kids don't worry about me. If you need anything (at Emmanuel Community) just ask."

Nordstrom, 97, has been in Emmanuel since Christmas time. She said she was near death at the time, but no one would know that now.

"I love it here," she said. "They are so good to me."

Nordstrom taught fifth grade at Lincoln Elementary until she retired in 1967. She said she would have liked to continue teaching, but teachers were told to retire at a certain age back then. So, she went to Cameroon, Africa, and taught for a year.

"I saw an ad in the newspaper and thought 'why not Cameroon?'" she said.

She taught missionaries' children in Africa. After a year of teaching and a year back in the States, she returned to see how things had changed in Cameroon.

In her spare time, Nordstrom has written two short books, "The Dolls' Adventures" and "The Little Crown Bearer."

She is also a part of the library club, retired teachers organization, the St. Mary's Regional Health Center and Emmanuel auxiliaries, and she attends most meetings. She was also named Outstanding Senior Citizen in the 1980s.

Emmanuel is planning celebrations each day this week in honor of the seniors. Wednesday, to celebrate Syttende Mai, Sons of Norway is coming to serve Norwegian food.

The three women all agreed they don't mind being seniors.

"They say 'let Alice go first, she's the oldest,'" Nordstrom said is her benefit.

Matzueff agreed that senior discounts are a plus.

But there is a downside, too.

"The thing about seniors, the aches and pains that come with it," Bimberg said.

"They say to grow old gracefully, but they don't tell you about all the aches and pains," agreed Matzueff.

Theses ladies seem to find the grace to disguise the aches and pains.

Matzueff said she still drives from time to time, but doesn't like sports at all. That will change with more time at Emmanuel Community.

Bimberg said she wasn't into sports much until she moved to Lamplighter. Then what did she do? Her second husband was an umpire. So, she sat with him and he explained baseball. Now a Twins fan, Bimberg helps make up calendars with Twins games listed for the residents.

Whether it's watching baseball, visiting with others or serving coffee, these residents have a week dedicated to them. And Emmanuel Community isn't passing up the opportunity to recognize them.

"Ask any caregiver and they'll tell you how deeply they are connected to the people who live in Emmanuel Community," Blazek read from a press release.

"I'd say that's true," she added.

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