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Health care veteran leads assisted living facility

Julie Chollett will be the director for Preferred Senior Living in Ellsworth. The first occupants of the new 40-unit assisted living facility on the village’s northwest side are expected to move in in early August, Chollett said Thursday. (Herald photo by Bill Kirk)

”Welcome home” means a lot to Julie Chollett, perhaps more than to most.

Chollett has certainly taken the phrase to heart as the director of Preferred Senior Living in Ellsworth, the new assisted living facility set to open later this summer on the village’s northwest side. But for the local native, it’s also a reminder of how glad she is to have returned to her hometown.

“I talked my husband into coming back here 13 years ago,” she said Thursday.

Since April of this year, Chollett has been employed by Oxford Management of Rochester, Minn., she said, the company hired by owners Greg Johnson and Pete Kociscak to operate the new facility. Her focus has been on the 40-unit complex where seniors will live.

Some of the units have one bedroom, which can not only accommodate individuals but married couples, she said, while others will feature two bedrooms. Sixteen are considered memory care units. Their kitchens will contain the refrigerators and microwave ovens found in all of the units, though not the stoves which are in the others.

Every tenant will be provided three meals each day, she said, explaining the kitchens in the units can be used for entertaining guests—if someone wants to cook a pizza, for example.

“Our tenants can pick and choose,” she said about much of the facility’s amenities, specifically indicating home-cooked food will be served.

There will be a central gathering area and a large fireplace as focal points on the premises, the director said. As tenants exit their rooms indoors, they’ll enter either a sitting area or a dining area. Although a parking lot will enable those with vehicles to park them, the lot is primarily for visitors and staff.

Asked to compare assisted living to nursing homes, Chollett said the latter are skilled care places where nurses are on duty 24-7 and services such as physical therapy are housed on-site. While the former have many of the same amenities, nursing care is given up to 40 hours per week and physical therapy, for instance, is outsourced through home health services.

However, assisted living has staffers on duty 24-7 to help coordinate therapies, assist tenants with exercises and the like, she said. Certain staff members are specially trained to pass medications on every shift.

Preferred Senior Living of Ellsworth’s mission is to serve the senior community, she said. So most of the local tenants will probably be age 60s and up. Yet, if someone was 59 and their health suggested assisted living would be appropriate for them, this would be taken into consideration.

For more please read the June 25 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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