Life takes on New DimensionsPublished 6:57am Thursday, May 9, 2013
After years as a pediatric nurse, Erlandson joined New Dimensions when it was owned by Greg and Lori Burau, and quickly discovered she truly enjoyed the work.
“I felt so good coming to work, helping people stay in their home,” Erlandson said. “Most people want to stay in their home or on the farm- if people are safe and comfortable and getting all their needs met, it’s great.”
Erlandson started out as a private duty nurse, and then moved on to case management in the office. When the Burau’s were thinking of getting out of the business and trying something else, she expressed interest in taking over, and formed a plan with another employee, Julie Braeger.
The pair had planned on taking over the business in January of 2007 when fate intervened.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2006- it really messed with my world for a while,” said Erlandson. “My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer two days later. We were known as the only mother daughter team going through chemo.”
Working while undergoing treatment, Erlandson is thankful to have the support of her family, co-workers and friends like Brenda Knutson.“
Brenda would drive me to chemo in Fargo, sit there for hours, keeping me company, bringing me food,” said Erlandson. “Co-workers would see my patients when I was too sick to go. A lot of great people stepped up to the plate and helped me out.”
Fortunately both mother and daughter fought back from cancer, and Erlandson can be philosophical looking back on the experience.
“It’s good stuff because you become stronger and more empathetic for people you care for,” Erlandson said. “Your children learn from it and become tougher, compassionate.”
Plans to take over the business were completed by the end of 2007, with Erlandson as CEO and Braeger as the CFO. The pair was joined by partner Kim Lindgren as the Director of Nursing.
New Dimensions has grown and flourished in recent years, and currently serves a 20 county area in West Central Minnesota. Services range from skilled nursing or home health aide tasks to respite for caregivers and homemaking such as house cleaning and cooking. While the focus in on senior care, the company provides services for all ages, including those recovering from injury or surgery.
The trio of female business owners grew up in the area and all of them attended Fergus Falls High School. Erlandson married her high school sweetheart Dean, and lives with him on the lakeside family farm in rural Dalton where they raised three children.
Erlandson is also known locally for her beautiful singing voice, performing pop and spiritual tunes at community events and annually at A Center for the Arts.
Due to early cancer detection, Wendy Erlandson is able to continue to enjoy life on the lake, her family, singing for pleasure, and caring for others at New Dimensions Home Health Care.
“A monthly self-breast exam and mammography every year means a lot less discomfort in the long run, more treatment options, and a better chance for survival,” Erlandson said.
By Darla Ellingson