Each morning that a resident arrives to move into their new home at Gladys’ Place, they find a friendly face in Bob Kauffman. The 77-year-old volunteer welcomes them, assists with their move and invites them to sit down for a cup of coffee.
But Kauffman is more than your average greeter: Four years ago, Kauffman was searching for a home for his wife, Gladys, when he found Gianna Homes in Minnetonka. “As soon as we walked into Gianna’s, we knew it was the perfect place … the caregivers were really loving, and it just felt like it was the place we could put her and knew that it was just like our house,” the Kauffmans’ daughter Tina DeRosier recalls.
With a background in health care administration, owner Anne Marie Hansen opened Sursum Corda, Gianna Homes’ first location, in Minnetonka in 1999. Research has shown, Hansen says, that patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia often thrive in a smaller environment with more individualized care and a higher patient-to-staff ratio. “We’re looking to provide some type of normalcy for people with memory loss,” she says. Hansen also hopes to maintain a sense of independence for her residents. “We see them blossom and be content,” she says.
Gladys Kauffman had lived with Alzheimer’s for 14 years prior to moving and found a final home at Sursum Corda. She passed away November 13, 2013, and Gianna Homes’ second location, Gladys’ Place, opened in February 2014 in her memory.
The most recent portrait of Gladys, shot in October 2013
Late in 2013, Hansen had approached Kauffman with the idea to open a second Gianna Home, and he immediately helped research properties in the west metro area. “Through the Kauffmans’ generosity, we were able to purchase the home in Plymouth,” Hansen says. After negotiations over the short sale of the property, it came time to name the new space, a privilege that Hansen bestowed on the Kauffman family, given their volunteer and financial contributions to Gianna’s through the years, also made by DeRosier and her two older brothers, Chris and Rob, and older sister, Cheryl. “To our family, [naming the new home after her] was totally taking care of my mother like she would take care of us,” DeRosier says.
Bob and Gladys Kauffman with their grandchildren
Another part of creating new homes for residents is related to exceptional care. The staffing ratio at Gianna’s is high, the majority being nursing aides. “They have hearts of gold. I think that makes a big difference with connecting with a resident and meeting their needs,” Hansen says.
Dr. Chris J. Johnson, a physician with Consultative Health Medicine, also makes regular visits. Dr. Johnson has been with Gianna Homes for the past six years, and he and his staff of practitioners work in collaboration to meet the medical needs of the seniors. “Certainly for many folks that reside in memory care, that ability to have the medical team come and visit them makes a huge difference in terms of the care and also the convenience for themselves and their family,” Dr. Johnson says. “We have structured our practice in a way that we have more time to spend with our residents, staff and family members.”
Another significant portion of Gianna Homes’ philosophy of care is also devoted to music and art therapy. The individualized care is beneficial for a patient’s family. “There’s a weariness that comes with this kind of care … and when you see them have peace of mind, feel comfortable, see a joy come back into their lives, they can feel OK with them being loved here,” Hansen says.
This quality drew Brent Walton, a pilot for Delta Airlines, to Gianna Homes. His wife, Julie, moved into Gladys’ Place in February. “I don’t have to worry if she is getting everything she needs. I sleep better at night, because I know she is getting lots of attention and exceptional care, and it really takes the pressure off family,” Walton says.
The sentiment is thanks to Hansen’s vision and kindness. “Anne Marie saw how much love there was between the two of them (Bob and Gladys),” DeRosier says. “I think if that continues on with Gladys’ Place, that will be a great legacy.”
Gladys and Bob’s wedding photo, November 5, 1955
To learn more about Gianna Homes and Gladys’ Place, visit