As a registered nurse, Carmel Ledebuhr saw the pain when elderly patients left the hospital, never to go home again. The patients usually went to a nursing home or to a care arrangement in an apartment building. Carmel, who was involved in discharge planning at Gunderson Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse, knew there had to be another option. She saw how traumatic it was for patients who were not able to return to their homes because they required care assistance but did not yet require the full-time skilled nursing care of a nursing home. She knew that someday she wanted to provide a home just like their home for them - a home away from home that could offer them the personalized care they needed.
After 10 years as a nurse on the cardiac unit at Gunderson Lutheran, Carmel and her husband, Larry, opened their first alternative assisted living home for seniors in La Crescent, Minnesota in 1996.
Born and raised in Ireland, Carmel based her care philosophy on the Irish legend of the Claddagh ring, a symbol that stands for love, friendship and loyalty. The Claddagh communities are committed to bringing loving care into the lives of seniors and dedicated to preserving their dignity as they fulfill their retirement.
Stephanie Swartz, a Gunderson Lutheran nursing supervisor who hired Ledebuhr in 1982, jokingly tells people she has made her reservations at the Claddagh Homes for the day when she is too frail to live at home. “That’s where I would want to be,” Swartz said. “I believe so strongly in Carmel’s holistic approach to transitional housing for the elderly.”
Since opening its first community in 1996, Claddagh Senior Living has become one of the leading providers of assisted living care services for seniors in the communities of southeast Minnesota. The Claddagh community is designed for seniors who can no longer live at home alone and for those who require assistance with the activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, or medication administration. Claddagh Senior Living offered housing and care services in a home-like atmosphere where a professionally trained staff is available 24 hours a day to provide the care and support each resident individually needs.