Knute Nelson - Celebrating 75 Years of Dedicated Service
Apr. 14, 2023
By Kaylee Yamry
Enriching lives and serving individuals for 75 years
On behalf of our entire Knute Nelson family, we want to extend a warm thank you to the families and loved ones we serve. For over seven decades, your ongoing trust has empowered us to deliver uncompromising quality of care throughout Central Minnesota.
This month, we are proudly celebrating our 75th anniversary. In turn, we’d like to pay tribute to our history and growth while recognizing the ever-present need for aging services throughout the communities we serve.
Looking Back to 1948
Just a few short years after the end of the Second World War, the US was in the midst of a multi-decade period of significant economic and societal change. For older adults in Central Minnesota, these changes would come to include the life-enriching support of our facilities and caregivers.
Although 1948 marks our founding year, the plans had been laid out over two decades earlier by the acclaimed congressman, governor, and senator, Knute Nelson. Before his passing in 1923, he dedicated both his family home and 23 acres of land "for the construction and equipment and maintenance of a suitable ‘Old People’s Home.’” To this day, his legacy of selfless service and societal betterment lives on.
As a senior care community, we began our expansion by building the Knute Nelson Care Center just one decade after our establishment. From there, our growth quickly accelerated.
Answering the Call for Care
As the needs of aging adults have evolved, so too have our capabilities and capacity. To keep up with the needs of our community, we constructed a 60-bedroom addition to the Care Center in the 1980s. In 1996, we further expanded by building Nelson Gables as a world-class assisted living facility.
Inspired to make as significant of an impact as possible, our expansion also included a mosaic of service offerings such as home health care, rehabilitation, hospice, enhanced assisted living, and beyond. Along the way, we continued our growth by constructing sprawling senior living communities such as Grand Arbor in 2011 and Crystal Brook in 2018.
Throughout our 75-year history, our growth has always been underscored by our values, including our Christian heritage and people-first approach. Every step of the way, quality has kept pace with our expansion. Meanwhile, we have remained steadfast in our mission: to enrich the lives of everyone we serve.
Where We Stand Today
At present, our Knute Nelson family is actively making our biggest impact yet. With a staff of nearly 1,000 and an economic footprint of nearly $300M, our community support has never been stronger. Most importantly, we impacted 9,000 lives last year through our residential and community programs, and that number continues to grow.
To maintain our high standards, we seek out not only the best caregivers and staff, but also the best technologies. By bringing a uniquely human touch to healthcare innovations such as remote health monitoring, advanced therapy equipment, and medication management devices, we are constantly raising the bar for our quality of care.
Through our compassionate, growth-minded approach, we have earned a myriad of awards and accolades. These include 1st Place as the Best Senior Living, Assisted Living, and Senior Care Center in the Lakes Area in the 2022 Echo Press Awards, Gold Winner of Minnesota’s Best Hospice Care and Speech Therapy in the 2022 Star Tribune Readers’ Choice Awards, and many more.
We attribute our success to our dedicated staff who show up day in and day out with our mission at heart. In the words of Amanda Johnson, our scheduling manager for Grand Arbor, Nelson Gables, and the Care Center, “I started here at a very young age, and so I've grown up with Knute. It has changed me as a person for the better.”
Preparing for the Road Ahead
As with the past 75 years, we are continuing to take a proactive stance to support the evolving landscape of senior care. By 2025, the first members of the Baby Boomer generation will turn 80 years old. Just five short years later, the entire Baby Boomer generation will be 65+ years old.
Best said by Jerry Hansen, a Knute Nelson Foundation Board Member and Legacy Donor, “we need to continue to look ahead and support the people coming after us.” This is especially true given that over sixty thousand Minnesotans will turn 65 every year through 2030.
While these numbers pose challenges from both an economic and labor standpoint, our Knute Nelson family is committed to keeping our residents and communities thriving with uncompromising access to quality care. At the same time, the cost of care for aging services is rising. In turn, increased state funding for senior care is imperative.
Maximizing Our Impact
Today, we proudly offer the most expansive choices of all time. These include 24-hour skilled nursing care, results-oriented short-term rehab, specially-designed memory care, maintenance-free independent living, compassionate hospice care, and so much more.
Our impact extends beyond the scope of our services alone. For example, our dedicated employees committed nearly 300 hours to volunteer service in 2022 alone. Meanwhile, we’ve donated over $180K in scholarships to continue supporting the next generation. Likewise, we play an active role in the Christian faith community by affiliating with 16 area congregations. These connections of faith are an integral part of our spiritual care program.
From 1948 until now, we have always aspired to make a meaningful difference everywhere we go and in every life we touch. Whether we’re breaking ground on a new facility or sharing a music therapy session with a community member in need, every step counts.
As we reflect on 75 incredible years of service, we are inspired by what's possible on the road ahead. Moving forward, we are seeking out new and innovative ways to bring a sense of home to the friends, families, and neighbors we serve. All the while, we believe in bringing dignified, life-enriching support to everyone in the same spirit that Senator Knute Nelson envisioned.
From our Knute Nelson family to yours, thank you for your support over the past 75 years.