GREAT FALLS — The Grandview at Benefis marked a milestone Thursday. The facility celebrated 10 years in business with a celebration for staff, residents, their families and the general public.
With 64 assisted living apartments and 48 long term care transitional beds, the Grandview promotes it’s continuum of care.
“So, if a person needs to graduate to a different level of care, a higher level of care, they can stay in the same building,” said David Krebs, Benefis Senior Services Chief Operating Officer. “They can still visit their friends, go up and down the hall.”
The Grandview also has six restaurants and seven kitchens.
From bingo to well-attended wine and cheese gatherings, residents can take part in as many or few activities they choose. Residents also have a say in those activities and field trips.
“The residents get input of where they want to go,” said Krebs. “They vote and we try to take them every place that they choose.”
Krebs added the facility has provided bus rides around Montana and the Grandview has even taken some residents to bars in downtown Great Falls.
Marjorie Kohler was part of Thursday’s 10-year celebration, providing music for the event with her son Rob. She may be best known for her time as the piano player at Eddie’s Supper Club but did spend time at the Grandview after having a hip replaced.
“When I was here, everyone was super good. It was an excellent service,” said Kohler. “I just don’t want to come back. Nothing personal.”
91-year-old Thelma Seyfert has lived at the Grandview for two and a half years. When the family of 93-year-old Carmen Poulsen was helping her move in, they asked Thelma if she’d help take care of her. They became fast friends.
“It's her fault. She started it all,” said Poulsen.
“I stopped and visited with her and it was just like I had known her forever,” said Seyfert.
“We have the best time. We had never known each other till we got here,” said Poulsen.
Even though their names are Thelma and Carmen, the pair quickly took on the nickname of a notorious silver screen duo.
“We got here and one day somebody said something about Thelma and Louise. So, they got us the movie, and we had to watch it,” said Seyfert.
“So, we've had more fun together and getting into trouble,” said Poulsen.
The facility was also able to navigate through the pandemic. Krebs says while covid presented challenges, it also allowed for new ways for assisted living facilities to operate.
“So, it's not all bad. There were different ways of communicating with families. They didn't have to be traditional ways. We can do wireless, we can do iPads, phone communications,” said Krebs. “So, it brought up a lot of different things that we can do differently to help families and the residents.”
The facility isn’t immune from staffing challenges, which Krebs says were present before and accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic. While those challenges remain, the Grandview remains optimistic.
“We have one of the lowest turnover rates of nursing CNA’s in the state of Montana,” said Krebs. “So we're retaining our staff, but we still do need more.”
Krebs says another thing that sets the Grandview apart is that it's not a traditional nursing home.
“Benefis Senior Services, which Grandview is a part of, has dedicated themselves to be single rooms or single occupancy, number one. In the state of Montana, that's not true of every nursing home,” said Krebs.
While the facility offers a safe and social place for residents like Thelma and Carmen, it also offers an endless supply of stories and knowledge to visitors and staff.
“We had a lady that lived here and she talked about that her job at home was sweeping the dirt floor, going back that far, and she passed away at 103,” said Krebs.
“I love it here. When I walked in the door, I knew that I was never going to leave unless they kicked me out,” said Seyfert