Greeley Daily Tribune from Greeley, Colorado on April 16, 1973 · Page 80
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Greeley Daily Tribune from Greeley, Colorado · Page 80

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Greeley, Colorado
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Monday, April 16, 1973
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Page 80
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GREELEY (Colo.) TRIBUNE MM., April If, 1I7J Bonell dedicates $1.2 million Fritchel Center with 180 beds . BONELL COMMUNITY -- Greeley's $3.2 million Bonell Retirement Community, the state's largest, has grown during its near-40-year life-span to house 500 residents. But Bonell officials now say they oppose further growth lest Bonell become too large and de-humanizing. (Tribune photo) The idea had its roots m tne plains of North Dakota, has been reality in Greeley for more than a third of a century -- and it had a big day in mid- February as the Bonell R e t i r e m e n t C o m m u n i t y dedicated its 180-bed, $1.2 million Fritsche! Center. With 500 residents and a staff of 230, Bonell is the largest elderly-nursing facility in the state, according to its administrator, Oris Okerlund. Its total worth at $3.2 million, Bonell is operating under a 1973 budget Okerlund places at about $1.5 million. It is a facility of a non-profit Lutheran corporation, The Good LSamaritan Society, Inc., of Sioux Falls, S.D. The agency was started in the early 1920s with the excess funds from a drive to aid a boy crippled by polio in a small north Dakota community. The first Good Samaritan home was opened in 1923 at Arthur, N.D. Bonell was opened in 1937 after the first administrator of the Good Samaritan Society oversaw the purchase of a former Episcopalian seminary -- the current Bonell site. Now, 37 years after it opened, Bonell offers Ihree levels of care for its residents. The highest level is in the new Fritschel Center, whose 180-bed space has been 90 per cent occupied since the facility was completed last November. The second level of Bonell care -- for Ihose mentally alert and ambulatory or nearly so -includes room, board and other support services plus available nursing care 24 hours a day. Cost for this ranges from $11.25 to $15 a day. Bonell has 193- patient capacity at this nursing- service level. For residents who are fully ambulatory and mentally alert, Bonell's third service level is its 116-unit apartment complex. Monthly rent for apartments ranges from $80 for a small unit to a high of $185 for a two- bedroom apartment. An initial residency fee for an apartment ranges from $4,000 to $7,000, and is refundable on a percentage basis. Although its facilities and staff had grown until the Fritschel Center was completed late last year, Bonell's Okerlund says it is the stance of his administration that it should grow no further. The risk of a massively de-humanizing atmosphere in too large a facility is too great, he feels. And Okerlund feels a facility such as Bonell is not necessarily "the" answer in care for Ihe elderly. "No," he said, "it's our philosophy that the elderly should stay in their homes for as long as possible." Backing up thai idea, Bonell carries on a meals-on-wheels service and Okerlund has plans for a day-care program that would offer daytime-only care initially for upwards of 75. Diet deficiencies often pose problems for Ihe elderly living at home, Okerlund says. The B o n e l l m e a l s - o n - w h e e l s program brings a hot meal five days a week lo the homes of about 40 elderly persons jn the Greeley area. But Okerlund says increased support for this program -necessarily from donations -could expand it to a county-wide basis and perhaps make meals available to Ihose who cannot pay. That is but one of the money problems facing Bonell and its residents, however. And nearly all these problems seem to revolve around tne iact that elderly persons, with low and-or fixed incomes, can only watch as inflation and shifts in social- aid programs erode their self- support power. When the County Commissioners closed the County Retirement Home last November, all 88 residents -most on welfare -- were moved into Bonell. Okerlund estimates nearly 60 per cent of the Bonell residents subsist under federal Medicaid assistance. The charge per-patient for skilled nursing care is $15.30 a day. Although private and welfare patients generally receive the same level of care -- except for private-room services -- Okerlund says the federal Medicaid support level falls $2.5fl a day short of the $15.30 charge. That difference mounted to a red-inked $92,000 in 1972, he says. . ' . . "So far we've been able to keep our heads above water," says Okerlund. "But for this" future -- I don't know." He, naturally', urges increased donor-support for Bonell and; the Good Samaritan Society.; There are'some "Catch 22" aspects in the self-support .picture for the elderly. When Social Security payments were increased * a while back,' Okerlunri says, several persons at Bnnell found themselves in an increased income 1 bracket Continued on page B25 THE LONELINESS -- Bonell Retirement Community can offer health and personal care plus dining and other services. .But there are things an institution cannot provide. Bonell Administrator Orvis Okcrlund, in fact, favors elderly persons staying in their homes for as long as possible -- and backs that up with a meals-on-wheels program and plans for a day-care . effort. (Tribune photo) Let Gilbaugh Help You Plan A Bright Tomorrow - In a A New Home! Here Are Just A Few Of The Many Ways The Gilbaugh Agency Can Help You Select The Right Home For Your Family · Fourteen knowledgeable, friendly people to serve you. · They are educated and experienced in determining the true worth of property and skilled in helping families select the right home. i They are realtors. 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