Bethesda has a rich history of caring for others and serving the community of Willmar and surrounding area.
Bethesda was founded in 1897 as an orphanage in Lamberton, Minnesota. In 1905, the orphanage moved to a site six miles north of Willmar, where children were joined by older adults at what was called the “Country Home.” By 1910, Bethesda began providing services to the older adults, too, and in 1939, began serving exclusively older adults.
In 1953, a new nursing home, Bethesda Heritage Center, opened its doors in the city of Willmar. The “Country Home” was closed in 1979, after Bethesda built and opened Pleasant View nursing home in Willmar.
In 1982, the Bethesda Foundation was organized with the purpose of supporting the efforts of Bethesda and to foster financial development. Currently, the Bethesda Foundation strives to build community by encouraging generosity, promoting civic engagement and enhancing the quality of life for those we serve through philanthropy.
Responding to the aging needs of the community, Bethesda expanded again in 1987, adding Terrace Homes, three independent-living duplex units. This was followed by the opening of Sunrise Village, an independent- and assisted-living complex in 1992.
Aging in place became more prevalent, as people saw the benefits of staying in their home as they aged. In 1993, Bethesda’s Home Health program began providing medical and personal support to assist people in the comfort of their homes.
Following its caring tradition, Bethesda expanded its services in 1996, to include adult day services. DayBreak, an adult day-care program, is designed to provide extra support for people who need assistance to maintain their independence in the community, while also giving a respite to their caregivers.
To meet the growing need for senior housing, Bethesda opened Centennial Square in 1997, providing income-based, independent-living apartments in the community.
Bethesda saw the need for its services beyond Willmar, and opened Park View Village, a 20-unit, assisted-living facility in Olivia, Minnesota, in 2002. Park View Village added memory care in 2005.
Back in Willmar, Bethesda’s Wellness Center opened in 2010. The Wellness Center is home to Club Bethesda, a fitness facility available to people 50 and older living in the Willmar area community and to Bethesda residents and tenants. It features state-of-the-art equipment designed for the older adult. Our Outpatient Therapy Department also is located in the Wellness Center. In 2011, a warm-water therapy pool was added to the Wellness Center for physical therapy and Club Bethesda aquatic classes.
Bethesda Club Suites was added, which offers short-term rehabilitation housing and services for people recovering from acute illness or surgery. Program services include physical, occupational and speech therapy.
To better serve residents, we underwent a major capital project committed to completing a campus expansion and building renovation. This project was completed in 2016 with the completion of a construction project that replaced the outdated 125-bed Bethesda Heritage Center and consolidated our two skilled nursing facilities at Bethesda Heritage Center and Bethesda Pleasant View to one comprehensive campus. The project transformed our model of care toward the household model for residents. It is a beautiful space with ample common areas for group activities, gatherings, and conversations, as well as private spaces for family gatherings and small group discussions.
In 2018-2019, Bethesda remodeled its main entrance and lobby area, which included renovating the cafe and chapel. Our new Town Center includes Brothers Cafe+Bistro, a gift shop, Carrie’s Chapel with floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows, an inter-generational activity center, private meeting room, and fireside area for visiting.
In late 2019, Bethesda embarked on a new project and broke ground on Bethesda North Pointe in New London, a 70-unit, senior lifestyle development. Construction is expected to be complete by summer 2021. The campus will be designed to serve the needs of the area’s aging community through individualized living options, health and wellness services, and modern amenities.
Bethesda has a long history of serving the Willmar community and West Central Minnesota. For more than 100 years, Bethesda has set new standards in quality of care for older adults. With its dedicated team of caregivers and professionals, Bethesda strives to fulfill its mission of, “Serving others together in faith, community and life.”
Please check back for updates, as we develop and grow to better serve our family, friends and neighbors.