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Alvada sits in her chair next to a photo of her grandkid

The Ultimate Mothers’ Helper

Since Alvada helped deliver hundreds of babies during her nearly 40-year career, she makes a good Mother’s Day story. And since she served as an obstetrics nurse during that time, she’s also a fitting way to wind up Nurses Week.

Alvada moved to Vista Prairie at Goldfinch Estates in Fairmont, MN from the nearby farm where she and her late husband had lived for 66 years. She took an 18-year hiatus from her distinguished career as an OB nurse to raise four children, returning to nursing in 1973.

By 2005 Alvada’s hospital in Fairmont had become part of the Mayo Clinic network. That was the year her peers chose her to receive the Mae Berry Service Excellence Award, Mayo's highest honor in service excellence. The award honors eight nonphysician staff members from across the Mayo Clinic enterprise. At that time there were about 25,000 employees. Alvada retired three years later.

Her husband Charlie passed away in 2021, leaving Alvada alone on the farm. Following a hospitalization, she needed a place to recuperate, “I chose Goldfinch for several reasons,” Alvada recalls. “I’d heard good things about it from other people, and because of the bus service. That was a big plus for me.”

When she first moved in last October, she viewed it as temporary, planning to go home this spring, even at age 87. “The longer I stayed here, the more I liked it,” she says. “I realized that if I went home, I’d be alone. I would have to hire help for cleaning. I like the social aspect here because you get to know people.”

A recent advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General’s office adds research weight to Alvada’s conclusion, that staying connected with a community is good for your health. It’s worth your time to click the link and read at least the summary.

Alvada is surrounded by a large family, including 10 grandkids and seven great grandkids, one of whom is pictured beside her. Her eldest son is now caring for the land, on the family’s Century Farm that has been in operation since 1884.

Still, Goldfinch Estates is clearly her community now. It offers 92 one and two-bedroom assisted living apartments for seniors who want access to supportive services while maintaining their independence, in addition to its 41 memory care suites.


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