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‘I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else’

Cokato Charitable Trust provides living options, services for all levels of care

By Scott Thoma

In a year in which senior living facilities have had to endure a serious pandemic, Cokato Charitable Trust has followed all pandemic protocol and have not had a single case of COVID-19 among its many residents and tenants to date.

The Minnesota Vikings mascot, Viktor the Viking, was a recent visitor of Cokato Charitable Trust. He even played bingo with the residents. Contributed photos taken pre-pandemic

“It has a lot to do with the longevity of our staff,” said Administrator/CEO Tresha Melquist, the former Director or Nursing at Cokato Charitable Trust. “Many of our staff have been here for 20 years or more and are very dedicated to keeping our residents healthy and doing what they need to so they are not at risk to be exposed to the virus.”

Cokato Charitable Trust is a 56-unit senior living hub of several entities within the community of Cokato. It owns and operates Cokato Manor, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility; Heritage Place, for those with memory loss; Brookridge, an assisted living facility; and Edgewood Gables, an independent living facility with added assistance and supervision.

Also offered within the system is Home Health Care, Senior Adult Day Care Services, Meals on Wheels Program, Congregate Senior Dining, Pro Rehab Therapy and Community Fitness.

Taking care of the residents is the number one priority for the dedicated staff.

“The residents don’t want to just be a statistic,” Melquist said. “They want to be protected. The residents and staff have all been vaccinated, and we are all doing what we can to keep everyone healthy here.”

It’s that dedication that is the reason why residents of Cokato Charitable Trust come from all over the Cokato area and beyond.

“We draw from a large radius, including the metro area,” said Tammi Dahlman, LSW, Director of Social Services. “They like living in a smaller town. We are a tight-knit community here.”

The residents and their families appreciate the kindness and dedication that the Cokato Charitable Trust staff of 175 provide on a daily basis.

“We are spoiled here, but we sure don’t mind,” laughed Alice Swanson, a resident of Cokato Charitable Trust for the past nine years. “They all treat us so wonderful here. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

The Cokato Charitable Trust building was constructed in 1964 as an area nursing home and continues to grow and improve.

Swanson remarked that the family atmosphere is what she and most residents seem to enjoy the most.

This resident tries his luck at a unique glass painting project. Contributed photo

“My late husband and I were living in Howard Lake and he needed nursing care,” she said. “So we first moved into Edgewood Gables in 2012 because we were so impressed with how the staff and residents treated each other.”

After Swanson’s husband passed away, she moved into Brookridge’s assisted living.

“They offer so many things to do here, so we’re never really bored,” Swanson noted. “They help me pick out my clothes, and I can get my hair done right here. It’s just a happy place and a great place to live.”

During the pandemic period, staff members have been assisting residents in being able to communicate with their loved ones through virtual visits, window visits, screening of visitors and keeping everything disinfected.

“We’ve taken a lot of precautions to keep our residents healthy,” said Joy Marschel, Activities Director. “They are our number one priority.”

Cokato Manor

The Manor is a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility offering private and semi-private rooms with spacious lounges and dining area.

Additionally, the Manor offers a large activity area, cafe, library, beauty/barber shop, chapel and central-day lounge.

Residents also enjoy the spacious courtyard area that includes a gazebo. When weather permits, the staff holds grill-outs for the residents.

Cokato Manor focuses on providing services in a caring environment that enhances the quality of life and maintains the maximum level of functioning.


This 16-unit assisted living facility offers affordable efficiency and one-bedroom apartments with varying levels of service according to the needs of the resident, allowing individuals to live in a setting with a level of assistance based on their needs and ability to care for themselves.

“Some residents like to live as independently as possible, but they still might 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 enjoy the spacious apartments with large windows, which lessens the feeling of confinement.

Edgewood Gables

This 30-unit independent living complex opened in 1997, and is for those 55 years of age or older. It offers apartments ranging in size from one bedroom, one bedroom with a den, two bedroom, and two-bedroom deluxe.

These apartments are designed to be “senior friendly,” allowing residents to be self-sufficient and independent. There is also a guest room available for visitors.

Edgewood is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Also offered at Edgewood are meals, housekeeping and laundry.

Heritage Place

Residents were delighted when goats came to visit one day. Contributed photo

This is a 10-bed secured housing alternative for those with memory loss. Quality care is provided, along with support and companionship. Heritage Place is a home where everyone is treated with respect and dignity.

The purpose of Heritage Place is to provide housing for those individuals not able to stay in their own home, yet are not ready for skilled nursing care services.

Heritage Place is registered with the State of Minnesota. It offers five semi-private rooms. Residents also have access to a spacious central lounge, dining room and outdoor courtyard with safe and secure outdoor activities.

A specially-trained staff provides individualized care in a therapeutic environment. There is a 24-hour trained on-site staff with a registered nurse on call at all times.

Home Health Care

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

Home Health Care is available within a 30-mile radius of Cokato.

“We provide short and long term services such as wound care, post-surgical care, new diagnosis education and monitoring, medication set-up and shower assistance,” said Bethany Fiecke, Director of Home Health Care. “We offer services to fill the gap that can keep clients in their home longer.”

This can be through the services of homemakers who are specially trained to not only meet the needs of the clients, but also report subtle changes in the seniors’ health to the nursing supervisor.

“Our agency is Medicare certified, and we work closely with the Veterans Administration, private insurance companies, and managed care coordinators,” said Fiecke.

Meals on Wheels Program

This service has been offered by Cokato Manor for many years within the city limits. It is a home-delivered meal program that is offered seven days a week and is delivered by volunteers. The meal is provided by the food service staff at Cokato Charitable Trust.

Adult Day Care Service

Because of the stress that can be associated with the daily care of a loved one, Cokato Manor offers this service. Adult Day Care Service provides a loved one with an enjoyable and stimulating atmosphere that respects the dignity and self-worth of each individual. A caregiver can relax and have peace of mind knowing that their loved one is receiving excellent care from qualified providers.

Services include: Opportunities for mental stimulation, creative expression, spiritual growth and personal achievement, socialization with others, well-balanced and nutritious noon meals and snacks, support and respite care for caregivers, and community fitness programs.

Note: Because of COVID restrictions, please call first in regard to the availability of Adult Day Care Services. Call Joy Marschel at 320-286-2158, ext. 111.

Pro Rehab Therapy

Cokato Charitable Trust, in partnership with Pro Rehab, offers in-patient and out-patient physical, occupational and speech therapy services.

They are a team of dedicated health care professionals who work with people of all ages to address pain, strength and motion deficits, and functional impairments.

Specifically, therapy will benefit people following orthopedic surgeries, strokes, sports medicine injuries, and people experiencing chronic pain and movement disorders such as Parkinson’s. All sessions are specifically tailored to the needs of the individual.

Community Fitness

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

This resident knitted a whole bunch of hats and scarves for other residents this past year. Contributed photo

Cokato Charitable Trust and Health and Wellness uses equipment specially designed to provide comfortable, safe and highly effective strength building for seniors.

A staff trainer is available to teach correct techniques and help customize an exercise regiment to fit your needs.

Congregate Dining

Seniors are welcome to enjoy a noon meal Monday through Friday with the company of friends and neighbors in this dining area in the Cokato Apartment 1 Community Room.

A 20-person food service staff at Cokato Manor prepares the food and caters to the residents. Residents are welcome to suggest food items.

“We get a lot of input from the residents,” said Joanie Corbett, Food Service Supervisor. “We try to follow a low-sodium diet while offering home-style cooking.”


For more information, call Cokato Charitable Trust at (320) 286-2158 or visit them at 182 Sunset Ave. in Cokato. Also visit their website at or on Facebook.

This is a paid business profile. If you would like to learn more about promoting your business in the Sr. Perspective with a business profile, call Jim at 320-334-3344.

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