Designated: Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh and the Bethel Foundation of Oshkosh Work to Enrich Lives of Community Senior Population

Putting Faith into Action: Fifty years ago, the community came together and put their faith into action by establishing Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh.

Founded in 1963, leaders from Oshkosh area churches assembled the resources to establish a facility that would share God's love, respond to the changing needs of the community and reach out to people in need. And so began a strong partnership of meeting community needs with support from the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, which provided a grant to help the new facility get started. Over the years, the Community Foundation and its donors have provided vital support to seniors in the Oshkosh area through the programs and services of Lutheran Homes.

The demand for senior services in the region continues to be on the rise. In Winnebago County, the number of senior citizens has risen by 4 percent over the past five years to more than 23,000 people, 8 percent of which live in poverty, according to the Southern Winnebago County L.I.F.E. Study.
It's no wonder that Lutheran Homes has experienced rapidly growing demands for its services in the community.

Each day, Lutheran Homes serves almost 600 seniors through residences on two campuses. Lutheran Homes provides holistic health care, housing and services for senior citizens. While some residents receive state of the art skilled nursing care, others live in independent apartments or assisted living. The campuses include Eden Meadows and Bethel Home, which offer skilled nursing, rehabilitative care, dementia, palliative and end of life care. Lutheran Homes also offers seniors of modest means apartments at Simeanna Apartments, Simeanna South and Simeanna III. Upscale apartment living is provided at Carmel Residence and assisted living is provided at Gabriel's Villa. Specialized dementia care is provided at Elijah's Place.

The Lutheran Homes team works with community partners and volunteers to enrich the lives of its residents.

"Lutheran Homes is committed to providing opportunities for meaningful, purposeful living today and expects to enhance and magnify efforts in providing increasingly individualized responses to people as they age," says Lois Jaenke, chair of the Lutheran Homes Board of Directors.

The Bethel Foundation of Oshkosh is the philanthropic arm of Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh to support all of the programs and services offered throughout Lutheran Homes. This year, the Bethel Foundation and Lutheran Homes took steps to strengthen the relationship with the Community Foundation by creating a Designated Fund to manage its assets.

"Lutheran Homes counts on the generous support of our donors to further magnify its work," says Kathryn Nichols, Bethel Foundation director. "We engage donors in an ongoing dialogue about its work, the opportunities to invest and the outcomes made by possible gifts."

With a focus on the future, Nichols says the Foundation helps to fund new ways to enrich residents' lives, maintain and establish facilities to meet rapidly growing senior population and provide quality health care for seniors, including those who out-live their financial resources.

Today, as Lutheran Homes celebrates its 50th anniversary, it is honoring the generous support of the Oshkosh community and implementing innovative strategies to meet the needs of seniors for the next 50 years.

"Lutheran Homes plans to shatter the frail, dependent images of older persons and work with them to identify significant roles as they age," says Theresa Bertram, president and chief executive officer.

"Lutheran Homes will inspire positive images of aging and lend courage to imagining a world where people can learn to create for themselves a sense of purpose in aging and where a belief in the fullness of possibility in later life is nurtured."
 

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