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‘Age in place’ at The Cottage


New senior living facility offers variety of services and living options under one roof


The Cottage in Fergus Falls offers retirement living options for seniors from independent living to transitional care, including assisted living and memory care - all under one roof.

The main entrance of The Cottage in Fergus Falls. The building was originally used to house nurses for the Regional Treatment Center. After a three-year renovation, the building is now open as a senior living facility. Contributed photo

“Our goal is to allow people to age in place,” says Crystal Rhoden, director of The Cottage. “When they come to The Cottage for our independent living offering, they can transition to other services we offer as care needs change.”

Rhoden’s interest in helping seniors started in her hometown in Nebraska where she called Bingo games at the age of 14 at her local assisted living community. The connections she made with the people led other passion and work with seniors. Rhoden has 25 years of experience in senior care, including multiple certifications and licensure specific to dementia care.

She leads The Cottage staff in offering a wide-range of services at the newly remodeled site with 41 apartments.

Independent living at The Cottage is like hotel living in your own home. Services include twice-a-week laundry service, light housekeeping, and plenty of recreational opportunities. Activities include fitness, puzzles, happy hour, evenings out, and special parties.

All utilities are paid, and pets are also welcome.

When more assistance is needed, The Cottage offers transitional care. Residents maintain a social setting where they aren’t limited in their lifestyle. They receive customized personal care in a safe, comfortable environment allowing them to stay connected through The Cottage’s activities.

Caregivers are on-site 24-hours a day. For residents with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other forms of memory loss, The Cottage offers memory care. The staff is specially trained to value each senior and recognize their individual preferences and needs. Residents live in private apartment suites in a warm, welcoming environment.

Those residents in either assisted living or memory care receive three meals a day with snacks, weekly housekeeping with daily light housekeeping, two loads of laundry per week, a 24/7 emergency call system, monthly wellness clinic, safety checks, maintenance, plus concierge services, programs, and activities.

Special features include an on-site beauty salon, free Wifi, and a controlled entrance.

The Cottage has historical significance to the area. Originally known as “The Nurse’s Cottages,” the building housed nurses when the Regional Treatment Center was in its heyday. When it closed, the structure was used as a treatment center and, later, as an alternative high school. It had been empty for 15 years before it was purchased by Northern Oaks Management of Fargo.

Construction on the building started in 2018, and finished December 2021, Rhoden said. New HVAC and electrical systems were installed, and safety features were enhanced throughout the building.

When completing the individual apartments, the contractor paid close attention to historical features. In one room, there was exposed brick which was left, adding to the ambiance of the building. Each room has been updated and modernized including walk-in showers with bench seating.

A look inside one of the apartments at The Cottage shows how much care was taken to preserve the historical charm of the building during the renovation. Contributed photo

“They were meticulous with the rooms noting the era and the finishes,” she said.

While The Cottage has many new features as a result of its remodel, many of its historic architecture features remain intact. Much of the woodwork, wood flooring, and staircases are original. When replacing a feature was needed, similar woodwork was used in the remodel, said Amber Britton, senior enrichment developer for The Cottage.

A fireplace, which had been painted white, was restored to its former glory. The white paint is gone, and the brick exposed to its original reddish color. It is a focal point in The Cottage’s dining room.

“It’s been very important to the community to revitalize and reuse this building,” Britton said. “People have come to tour the building and they tell stories of when they worked here…They are excited to see what we have maintained. A lot of people spent a lot of time protecting these buildings.”

During the remodel, a commercial kitchen was constructed in the basement. The modern facility has the latest equipment to provide meals.

The Cottage offers 24-hour care by its fully trained staff.

To learn more and to schedule a tour, call (218) 998-5777. The Cottage is located at 1639 Cottage Drive in Fergus Falls, MN.

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