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Cokato Manor is ‘like a big family’

When it was time for Liz Brand’s parents to enter a senior living facility, she and her sister, Kristin, methodically checked out as many options as they could throughout the state.

“We wanted them to live in a place that was clean, where the staff was friendly, and we were confident they would be given the best of care,” explained Liz. “It was important to us that they would be happy in their final years.”

The sisters had little doubt that Cokato Manor was the place that met their requirements.

“No question about it,” said Liz. “This is such a great place. It’s like a big family, and the staff makes the tenants and their families feel so welcome. We didn’t find those things in some of the other places we looked at.”

Cokato Manor, which sits just a block north of U.S. Highway 12 in Cokato, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary on Dec. 3. When the nursing home first opened, it had just two residents.

“The qualities that residents expect to find in a nursing home or senior living setting,” said Tammi Dahlman, director of social services, “reflect a strong interest in maintaining personal dignity and a sense of self-worth, social interactions, and a continuation of meaningful life.”

Cokato Senior Care, which has a staff of 174, has undergone extensive growth since its inception in 1964.

“I was a nurse for many years so I know the importance of treating people well and making them as comfortable as possible,” said Viola Anderson, now retired and living in Cokato Manor for the past two years. “They have nice, big rooms here, and the staff is attentive and very kind. They are always trying to make sure we’re cared for and always trying to please us.”

Cokato Senior Care is the hub of several entities within the community. Cokato Manor is a long-term facility. There is also Edgewood Gables, an independent living facility with added assistance and supervision; Brookridge, an assisted living facility; and Heritage Place, for memory care assisted living. Also offered within the system is Cokato Manor Home Health, Rehab Center offering inpatient and outpatient care (physical, occupational and speech therapies); Community Fitness Program; Senior Day Services (adult day care); Playhouse (child day care); Meals on Wheels program; and Congregate Senior Dining.

“We’re a small town, but we offer the same things as a big city,” said Cokato Manor Administrator Jim Broich. “We’re actually much more than just a retirement facility.”

Cokato Manor The Manor is a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility offering private and semi-private rooms with spacious lounges and a dining area. There is also a large activity area, chapel, and a central day lounge to meet residents’ spiritual and psycho-social needs.

“I really like the big courtyard they have with a gazebo and a running stream,” said Anderson. “I spend a lot of time out there when the weather is nice.”

As well as being a long-term care center, Cokato Manor focuses on short-term rehabilitation, with patients able to go home following therapy and/or medical attention.

“We offer a rehab for all the divisions (within Cokato Manor),” said Stephanie Olson, the director of therapy. “We have a wide range of modern equipment to assist in therapy with our residents. But we also reach out to the community.

“If someone has a knee replaced and needs short-term rehabilitation, we assist them here and follow up with their recovery at their home. It’s a continuity of care.”

Besides physical and occupational therapy, Cokato Manor also provides speech therapy to residents and outpatient clients.

“We believe that everyone who stays here is unique and may require various types of care,” said Broich. “That’s why we offer such a variety of care and treatment. We try to treat everyone with the same respect and dignity as though they were our family members.”

Brookridge Brookridge Assisted Living opened in 2000. It offers 16 affordable apartment units with various levels of service according to the resident’s needs. Residents can live independently here, but also with additional assistance and supervision that is staffed 24 hours per day.

Some residents like to live as independently as possible, but they still need help with a few things,” said Dahlman. “We have someone available at all times to assist them with whatever those needs might be.”

Residents here don’t feel as though they are in  a closed-in setting, as apartments are spacious with large windows.

Edgewood Gables Edgewood is in its 17th year of existence as part of the Cokato Manor system. The independent living facility for those 55 years of age or older offers 30 apartment units, ranging in size from one bedroom, one bedroom with a den, two bedroom and two bedroom deluxe.

“We also offer things like meals, housekeeping, laundry and transportation,” said Dahlman. “Or any help they need with medication.”

The apartments are designed to be “senior friendly” and allow tenants to be self-sufficient and independent. There is also a guest room available for visitors.

Heritage Place This is a housing alternative for people with memory loss or Alzheimer’s disease. There are 10 semi-private rooms in a secure environment for those who are no longer able to live in their own home but are not yet ready for a nursing home.

Staff members strive to maintain the individuality of each of the residents of Heritage Place in an attempt to maintain their optimum level of independence.

“Everyone here is important to us,” said Broich. “It doesn’t matter which place here they are in or what their situation is. They are all given the utmost care when they come to stay here.”

Home Health Due to the need in and around the Cokato area for an alternative to nursing home placement, Home Health was formed in 1993 to provide in-home care, ranging from skilled nursing care to homemaking services.

“Home Health serves all ages, not just seniors,” said Dahlman. “We had clients from ages 10 to 90. We currently have over 60 people using this service.”

Home Health covers a 30-mile radius from Cokato, Buffalo, Montrose, Watertown, Hutchinson, Litchfield, South Haven and everything in between. It’s a Medicare Certified Agency that provides home care to allow clients to stay in their home.

Among the services provided are: housekeeping, bathing, dressing and grooming, medication management, nursing duties and rehabilitation.

Meals on Wheels This service has been offered by for many years with the city limits of Cokato. It is a home-delivered meal program that is offered seven days a week and is delivered by community volunteers.

Senior Day Services/ Adult Day care Senior Day Services is a community-based program offered through Cokato Manor to provide services and activities enabling functionally-impaired individuals to remain in their homes and community longer and to provide respite relief to their care giver.

Participants in this program receive opportunities for mental stimulation, creative expression, spiritual growth and personal enrichment. They can also receive a nutritious and well-balanced noon meal and snacks, activities, medication administration, baths or therapy.

Activities available can range from card playing, to leisure van rides to community fitness.

Community Fitness and Therapy Located on the Cokato Manor campus, this department opened in 2000. The therapy department provides inpatient and outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy.

The Community Fitness room is open to the public and provides modern Nautilus and cardiovascular equipment.

“We want to promote fitness and wellness by offering these programs to residents here, people in the community and staff members,” said Olson.

Senior Dining Site Located at Cokato Apartments I north of Cokato Manor, seniors are welcome to enjoy a noon meal with the company of others. Cokato Manor prepares the food and caters to the residents next door. To promote healthy eating, staff members of Home Health will offer presentations on various health topics during meal time.

The Playhouse Child day care located on the Cokato Manor campus is a home day care within the facility. The day care is open to the community and Cokato Senior Care employees. As a participant of day care, the children have the opportunity for creative expression, personal enrichment, physical and mental stimulation, interaction with the residents, and quality care by a trained staff.

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