Ecumen Gets $3 Million Grant to Develop Model Improving Rural Senior Living

Ecumen, a non-profit senior housing and services provider, has announced it has received a $3 million grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation meant to support the development of a model to improve senior care in rural settings. 

The grant will enable Ecumen to transform Ecumen Detroit Lakes, a longstanding nursing home in rural Becker County, Minnesota, into a one-stop aging services hub that will utilize telehealth, among other features, for senior care.

The goal is to develop a model that maximizes existing community infrastructure, integrates technology and combines services in one location, with the intent of helping seniors remain independent in rural America, according to President and CEO Kathryn Roberts. 


“Our goal is to help keep people healthier and out of the nursing home and hospital,” says Roberts. “This initiative will take a whole-person approach and create a community hub that helps integrate technology, socialization, fitness, nutrition and health care.”

Ecumen has commenced design work on the new center for the Ecumen Detroit Lakes campus, with construction anticipated to begin in Spring and conclude in 2014.

With U.S. Census Bureau data showing less than 9,000 residents living in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota in 2011, Ecumen’s new campus has the space for a wide range of amenities. 


Notable components include a telehealth center for physicians, nurses and other health care professionals to conduct patient consultations; on-site 30 private rehabilitation suites for short-term stays; and facilities for occupational, speech and physical therapy.

Because rural areas make it difficult to incorporate a mix of services such as these, Ecumen hopes a hub approach will open the door to making other community resources more accessible. 

Written by Jason Oliva

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