"Silver Linings Day" honors staff of local long-term care facilities

A CountryHouse resident safely celebrates Mother's Day with her family. (CountryHouse photo)

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit senior individuals particularly hard as concerns for their health led to isolation from their families. In Dickinson and other areas across North Dakota, workers at long-term care facilities stepped up to lift their residents' spirits.

In recognition of their efforts, Gov. Doug Burgum and the North Dakota Long Term Care Association have declared June 23 as “Silver Linings Day” in North Dakota, during which North Dakotans are invited to help honor the dedication of long-term care staff during the pandemic.

Five senior living communities in Dickinson are being honored: St. Luke’s Home, St. Benedict’s, Edgewood Hawks Point, Evergreen Senior Living and Basic Care and CountryHouse Residence for Memory Care. Together, they employ more than 500 people locally and provide housing for nearly 600 residents.

During the pandemic, these facilities were not only responsible for increased sanitation, health screenings, social distancing and use of personal protective equipment, but also the mental health of their residents amid restrictions from outside visitors, including residents' own family members. Employees worked to facilitate increased phone calls, video chats and window visits to help families stay connected. They held parades and other creative events to celebrate birthdays and holidays including Easter and Mother’s Day and provided increased one-on-one activities to ensure residents felt cared for and loved.

From hosting fashion shows and taking road trips to hosting parades, CountryHouse has made its residents' lives a little brighter.


Tessa Johnson, director of CountryHouse Residence for Memory Care, said the effort she’s seen from staff is truly remarkable. “I’m so proud of our employees and the employees at each of Dickinson’s care communities," she said. "We’ve continued to provide outstanding care for residents despite restrictions that were beyond what any of us ever dreamed. Our people have shown commitment and dedication and proved their willingness and want to go the extra mile for all in our care.”

Jon Frantsvog of St. Benedict’s added, “Our staff has worked tirelessly, 24/7, to care for our beloved seniors. To our community, we see caregiving as carrying out God’s command to love others. This time has reminded us of our mission more than ever before.”

St. Benedict's lifted residents' spirits with themed snacks and music, painting residents' fingernails and welcoming a new dog to the facility.

Darla Baranko, director of Evergreen Senior Living and Basic Care said, “We’re grateful for the recognition from the governor. This situation was unexpected and hasn’t been easy on anyone – our staff, residents and residents’ loved ones. We’re blown away by the support we’ve seen from families and the community of Dickinson as well as from our state leaders. We’re thankful that our staff has stepped up and shown true compassion, commitment and integrity during this time. We’re truly blessed.”

Evergreen residents kept busy by gardening, participating in a sing along and dyeing eggs for Easter.

Statewide, North Dakota has 218 assisted living, basic care and nursing facilities. The industry employees around 16,000 people state-wide. These dedicated professionals deliver high-quality medical care and other essential services to vulnerable populations including the elderly and disabled.

Kayla Henson is a former Dickinson Press reporter.
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