Bartels Retirement Community is still located at the same address where it opened in 1954

Waverly’s only nursing center has evolved from a “home for the aged” to a multi-level retirement community, offering a full range of health care and retirement living services on ONE campus.

The Past

Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community, Waverly, sits among the rolling hills and trees on a beautiful campus in the northwest corner of Waverly. The facility, which now offers a full range of services, has a rich history and an even brighter future. Bartels has grown exponentially over the years to meet the ever-changing needs of senior living and will continue to expand and evolve to provide senior and retirement living options.

In 1950, Anna Bartels, the widow of a Lutheran pastor, August Bartels, bequeathed her Waverly home to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Waverly, to be used as a home for senior citizens. Considering this project an impossible assignment many felt like voting against it. However, Pastor William F. Schmidt spoke movingly about making “an old lady’s dream come true.” The results was an affirmative vote. The congregation couldn’t accept the gift, so they created a related group of laymen and pastors to organize Bartels Lutheran Home. They were given a state charter and full title to the Anna Bartels property. Anna’s home was not well suited to caring for the elderly, but proceeds from the sale of the property let the group purchase the Ted Bany home on a 40-acre lot in northwest Waverly.

Opening its doors in 1954, Bartels has been serving the needs of aging residents of the Cedar Valley for 67 years. Based on Christian beliefs, Bartels has been enriching lives and providing quality care to over 6,000 people since first opening. Waverly’s only nursing center has changed from a “home for the aged” to a multilevel retirement community on a 20-acre campus including in-home care, two independent living communities, an assisted living, assisted living memory care, skilled nursing and rehab, nursing care and memory care. Many extra services and amenities have also recently been added including a respite room, Almost Home as a transitional service from skilled rehab to home, the expansion of the Bartels-At-Home in-home care including a monthly foot spa and donation-based equipment lending program.

Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community’s mission is enriching lives through quality services and Christian care. The continuum of care offered by Bartels allows for the security and peace of mind knowing our residents can transition from one level of care to the next if needed with ease and priority admission.

Bartels is located at the same address where it opened in 1954, but a succession of construction projects has changed its look and expanded its services to the community. Building additions in 1955, 1962, 1967, 1972 and 1977 increased the home’s capacity from 11 residents to more than 230.

Apartment living made its first appearance on the Bartels campus in 1987 when the Eichhorn Haus 38-apartment retirement complex opened. This new level of service was one of the first independent living retirement centers in the area, offering secure, comfortable living for those who want to be part of a broader retirement community.

The 1990s brought specialization of services to the nursing center. A 15-bed skilled nursing unit opened in 1991 and a 17-bed Memory Care center opened in 1994.

A new Future Planning Committee was established in 1997 to address updating the condition of the nearly 50-year-old buildings. The committee worked with architects to study the condition of buildings, assess future needs and develop a strategic plan for the Bartels organization. The result was a new master site plan to renovate and replace current facilities and add a new assisted living service to the community. The $10 million building project began in 1999 with construction of Linden Place, the new 30-unit assisted living facility which opened in 2000.

Work soon began on a new 30-bed Memory Care center, Evergreen Arbor, to replace the current 17-bed unit, and the new 96-bed nursing center Woodland Terrace. The project included a new 2,635 square foot community room/chapel, ice cream den, and other special amenities. Grand opening festivities took place in May 2002.

The organization changed its name to Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community in 2000 to better reflect is evolvement into a continuing care retirement community. Corporate church sponsorship grew from nine to 13, including the addition of non-Lutheran churches.

Bartels-At-Home, the organization’s new in-home services program, was introduced in 2007.  This program offers clients the opportunity to receive the quality, Christian services Bartels is known for in the comfort of their own home.

The Future

Ground-breaking for Eisenach Village, a 55+ Active Adult community located on 31 acres north of the Bartels campus, was held in 2009.  Eisenach Village showcases architecturally appealing and thoughtfully designed homes with amenities to enhance a care-free lifestyle.

In 2010, Bartels received a historic charitable contribution for the expansion of Bartels Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility, including the Fireside Room, which was completed in 2011.

Bartels once again recognized a need in the community for additional services and set to work to construct a unique Assisted Living Memory Care for those with the early stages of memory loss in a home-like atmosphere. Community support and capital campaign donors and pledges made this project a reality and Aspen Cottage opened in 2019. The community is designed to look and feel like a home with shared activity areas in the kitchen, dining, living room and outside terrace.

Respite was an added service in Aspen Cottage, allowing for a stay of a loved one and giving the caregiver a breather or break.

In 2021, new services including Almost Home, the Foot Spa, Equipment Lending Program and expansion of Bartels-At-Home came on the scene.

Almost Home services made its debut, offering transitional care between a patient’s skilled rehab stay and going home independently. It provides peace of mind in a safe setting with assistance if needed to make sure one is comfortable going home.

Bartels-At-Home continues to expand and is committed to providing quality, compassionate assistance in the safety, comfort and convenience of your home. Bartels assists individuals in maintaining the highest quality of life and health, enabling them to remain independent in their home. Services include transportation, housekeeping, meal prep and shopping, personal assistance of bathing, dressing, exercise, companionship, medication reminders and much more.

Bartels has opened a new Foot Spa, which is available to the public for ages 55 and older and wanting assistance caring for their feet. The 30-minute appointment is much more than a foot massage and includes a foot assessment, blood pressure and pulse check, warm foot soak, cleaning and clipping of toenails, filing and smoothing of rough edges, Dremel care and massage with lotion.

A new equipment lending program was also rolled out in 2021. This is a donation-based program for a variety of medical equipment including wheelchairs, walkers, canes, crutches, knee scooters, bath benches, commodes and more. This is open to the public and Bartels residents.

The independent living community of Eisenach Village continues to grow and is in the final building stage with limited lots and homes available. This townhouse-style of living in a close-knit community for active adults has really hit a chord with many who are looking for a lifestyle of less work and more freedom.

The rich, solid and proactive history of Bartels has set it up to be successful in the future, along with the vision of the future by the current administration and board of directors. Bartels will continue to be a leader and on the cutting edge of senior living opportunities as retirement and senior living options evolve and change, all while sticking to the core values of the faith-based, non-profit organization.

Throughout Bartels history and into the future, the vision will be the same of engaging hearts, transforming lives and celebrating the strengths of seniors. Striving to build communities where individuals flourish in an environment where spirituality is nurtured and independence and joy are fostered.