News & Events

February Spotlight: Serenity Suites

by: McKenzie Taylor


For the month of February, the Wabasso EDA, Commercial Club, and Redwood Area Development Corporation are highlighting Serenity Suites, a newer but well-established assisted living center on the edge of Wabasso. Anne Barber, the RN and Licensed Assisted Living Director for Serenity Suites says, “The community saw a need for an assisted living facility to serve our area and worked together diligently to bring it to fruition.” Jack and Colleen Fischer, two residents at Serenity say they are happy that Wabasso was able to make this assisted living come to life and that they love how the facility is tighter knit and not so large.

Anne has been employed there for the last three years. She received her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Mankato State University.  Most of Anne’s professional experience has been in long-term care.  Prior to coming to Serenity Suites, she was a home-care dialysis nurse for six years.  She found she missed working with the senior population which prompted her to apply for her current position.  The primary goal of Serenity Suites is to provide a home for our residents so that they can remain living in their community. The facility offers three different levels of care:  independent living, assisted living, and memory care. Serenity Suites offers a variety of services such as meals and social hours, personal care, medication management, activities and crafts, housekeeping services, and much more.  Specifically, the delicious food that Anne mentioned they provide was noted by several of the residents. Rita Goblirsch and Jack and Colleen Fischer stated, “We have really great food here and plenty of it!”

Anne went on to explain, “The difference between an assisted living center and a nursing home is that assisted living facilities are for those individuals who may require assistance with day to day tasks while skilled nursing is for older adults who require a more comprehensive care.” Kathy Fischer, daughter of Theresa Fischer–a resident, says, “From the minute my mom entered Serenity Suites, the staff, activities, atmosphere, and amenities made her new surroundings feel ‘like home.’ Serenity Suites has been her home for three years now and our family feels very fortunate that the high level of care and compassion is available in Wabasso–her lifelong hometown.”

Serenity Suites offers six suites in their memory care section and nine apartments in their independent/assisted living section, and they currently have nineteen happy residents! When asked if there were any volunteering opportunities for the community Anne happily expressed, “We love to have volunteers!”  Any community member that is interested in volunteering is encouraged to contact the director.   The employees at Serenity work hard to provide fun and welcoming activities for their residents.  Once or twice a month Karen (our in-house baker and craft expert) will plan crafts to do with the residents. They also have movies with theater popcorn days, games, hymn sing-a-longs, and occasionally have outside entertainment come into the facility. Margaret Wambeke, daughter of Lorraine Wagner says that Serenity is able to provide an environment of caring and support and offer the residents the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities, both indoors and out in the surrounding communities. Anne continued, “We are so fortunate to have a great relationship with both St. Anne’s Catholic School and the Wabasso Public School as students will come here for special events such as playing games with the residents, costume parades during Halloween, and the high school choir singing Christmas carols during the holidays.” Serenity has recently started to collaborate with the Wabasso Rehabilitation and Wellness Center to plan certain outings and in December they took two trips to see the Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights in Motion display! All the hard work that the staff at Serenity Suites puts in for the residents does not go unnoticed. Take it from some of the residents themselves. Donna Groebner says, “I really enjoy doing the craft projects and visiting with others.” Another resident, Jerry Moldan says, “I feel like I have everything I need or want living here. I really enjoy having my meals in the dining room and visiting with others, and the staff are really good!”

Anne says the most enjoyable aspect of her job is being able to spend time with the residents and hear from their experiences in the past. “They have a wealth of knowledge from all of the events they’ve gone through in their life and it's so wonderful to hear stories from their past; I love that we all treat each other as a family,” Treating their residents like family is something that many other family members of residents can attest to. Cris Knott, daughter of Colletta Louwagie says, “Our family’s experience with Serenity Suites has been nothing but positive. From the day she moved in they treated my mom like family and have always kept us updated on everything going on with her. If you have staff that truly cares, that’s what matters, and the rest will fall into place. We consider ourselves lucky to have her living here!” Some of the more challenging parts of Anne’s job has been the implementation of the new and updated Minnesota Assisted Living requirements but Anne also said that Serenity Suites is fortunate to have a partnership with Minnewaska Community Health Services who serve as a tremendous resource for navigating these challenges.

Currently, Serenity Suites employs thirteen staff members who work regularly scheduled hours. They also have a few seasonal and on-call employees that are available to help ease the stress of their busier stretches at times. “I encourage anyone that is interested to apply at any time as well as to reach out to me if they have any questions about employment here,” said Anne. Another couple living at Serenity–Floyd and Judy Kumerow–would like people to know, “The staff here are so friendly, helpful, and go above and beyond. Serenity is a wonderful community to be able to live in and call home.”

Something interesting Anne said that Serenity has to offer that not all assisted living centers offer is their scholarship program. The program is available to any employee that works a minimum average of ten hours each week and for which the course of study leads to career advancement. “For example, an employee who wishes to obtain his/her certification to become a nursing assistant or a licensed nurse would be eligible for this program,” explained Anne.

            Anne is so thankful for the residents and their families who have chosen to entrust them with their care as there are other wonderful facilities from which to choose.  We also want to acknowledge that the community itself has been so supportive of us. We could not do what we do without any of them.  If you are looking for a warm, cozy, and friendly environment for any of your loved ones, or looking for a way to get out and volunteer in your community, be sure to contact Anne. She and the residents would be more than happy to give you a tour of the facility and show you what life at Serenity Suites is like.