Living at Birchwood

At Birchwood Cottages, we are committed to respecting the path of life and all that the aging process may bring. We offer increased social and health care services at a lower cost than traditional medical-model nursing homes. In addition, it is always our goal to provide care through end-of-life in order to avoid another move for our residents.

It is our belief that those with memory loss adapt best when they are able to live in a home that specializes in their memory care needs. Living with dementia can make it difficult to successfully integrate with conventional nursing home and assisted-living residents.

Birchwood Cottages focuses on these special needs. We train our staff to tailor social and recreational programs to each individual’s strengths and skills. Our small size allows us to get to know each resident’s personal and work history, their interests and hobbies. It is this knowledge that allows us to provide the very best care to each resident.

Birchwood Cottages provides a full-array of personal care services as well as comprehensive social and recreational programs. Our professional staff creates a personal care plan for each resident that addresses his or her needs and desires. Whenever possible, our caregivers accommodate individual preferences and encourage resident-centered choices.

Assisted Living and Memory Care

Memory loss in all of its forms, presents special challenges for individuals and their families. Birchwood Cottages assisted living facilities in Owatonna and North Mankato can help.

Birchwood Cottages memory care facilities include Alzheimer’s care and Dementia care. We have specially designed living spaces that support assisted living environments for those with cognitive challenges brought on by Alzheimer’s and Dementia and requiring specialized care and attention.

Our commitment to the health and wellness at our assisted living facilities doesn’t stop when a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Dementia, or some other form of memory loss that demands a more secure level of care. We also help and support family and friends as they are an ever-important part of the care team.

Birchwood Cottages assisted living offers memory care with all the comforts of home. We take time to listen to each resident at our assisted living facilities and learn their preferences in terms of activity, socializing, eating, and sleeping. We encourage residents to get involved in things they enjoy, and encourage them to make choices about what they’d like to do and when they’d like to do it. It’s a respectful approach to memory care that helps people to thrive.

Dementia-Related Behavior and Medication Usage

Birchwood Cottages is an industry leader in person-centered care. It is no surprise to family members that memory loss often comes with behaviors that can make it difficult to care for their loved one. In fact, it is these behaviors that most often necessitate a move out of their home. It also can result in people with dementia being prescribed antipsychotic medications that come with harmful side effects and negative outcomes.

Birchwood Cottages continually examines our residents’ medications to see how we can partner with their family and medical provider to reduce or eliminate any unneeded medications. When these medications are reduced or eliminated, there can sometimes be an increase in their behavior that we address using a holistic process involving music, engagement, essential oils, and massage. This approach is not to say that traditional medicine does not have a place in treatment of dementia, but rather, that by incorporating non-traditional, non-medical treatments we can often produce the desired result. Likewise, it can also increase a loved one’s recollection and recognition with additionally bettering overall lifestyle.


Birchwood Cottages Life Enrichment Program is developed according to the preferences and needs of each unique individual. Opportunities for movement, socialization, and sensory stimulation are offered daily. An activity calendar is available to residents and their families and is posted internally. Life skills and individualized personal interests are setup and encouraged.

At Birchwood Cottages, residents can enjoy the little things that make a difference in their lives. It is our belief that by performing the routine tasks of daily living helps people preserve their self-esteem and dignity. Residents are encouraged to help with meal preparation and clean up, housekeeping chores, laundry and even grocery shopping. This focus allows our residents to maintain a lifestyle centered on familiar household routines.

We encourage a connection to nature and the outdoors by growing vegetables and flowers in the summer. We are able to enjoy our own tomatoes, green beans, peas and cucumbers. Residents are able to help water the flowers and harvest the vegetables. We also feed the variety of birds that come to our feeders and birdbaths!

Other activities include reminiscing, memory stimulation, sensory stimulation, favorite games, story-telling, pet visits, music and much more. The goal of Birchwood Cottages is to provide residents with an opportunity to have moments of joy.

Music is an integral part of our daily programming. Listening to music, singing, playing instruments, movement to music, Music and Memory and music trivia are just some of the musical events held at Birchwood.

Sample Food Menu

Sample Activity Calendar

Sample Anytime Menu

Cottage Style Living in Southern MN

Birchwood Cottages leads the way in creating smaller settings specializing in care for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementias.

Our cottages are designed with the special needs of our residents in mind. The environment, programs and services allow residents to age in a familiar setting. The result is innovative households with spacious, social kitchens, beautiful sunrooms and living rooms. All are conducive to relaxing visits from family and friends in true home-like surroundings. We also offer our residents the ability to safely enjoy a connection to the outdoors with our enclosed courtyard with gardens and walking paths.

Birchwood Cottages believes that those experiencing memory loss benefit from living in a true home-like environment with traditional floor plans and furnishings.

This familiar environment helps our resident’s feel comfortable; unlike conventional assisted living facilities or nursing homes where long hallways, identical doors and similar rooms feel confusing, overwhelming and threatening to those with dementia.

We believe that offering free meals to our visitors and staff encourages a family-like atmosphere and gives our residents an opportunity to have a connection with others in the community. What better way to get to know one another than by sharing a meal together!

Levels of Care

We offer a higher level of social and health care services at a lower cost than traditional medical-model nursing homes.

Prior to admission, one of Birchwood Cottages’ Registered Nurses will conduct an assessment of the resident’s care requirements. The daily fee is tailored to their care requirements. The resident’s fee will rise proportionately if the level of care the resident requires increases.

We offer both private and semi-private rooms. This fee is reduced for a semi-private room. While it may seem that having a roommate is not a desirable situation, there is compelling research that people who have a roommate often sleep better, are less depressed and exhibit fewer signs of isolation and loneliness. In addition, they live longer.

Services Included in the Daily Fee

  • Free guest meals [within limits]
  • RN supervision and case management
  • On-going care assessments & care plan developmental revisions
  • 24/7 on-site, specially trained caregivers
  • All resident meals and snacks each day
  • Safety surveillance in common areas
  • Medication supervision and administration
  • Daily Life Enhancement activity & leisure programming
  • Assistance with all “activities of daily living”

Care Level A – Basic Home Care Package

  • Licensed nurse on call 24-hours per day for staff support
  • On-going health care supervision, assessments, and care plan revisions by a licensed nurse
  • Staff on-site and awake 24-hours/day
  • Verbal cues for dressing, nutrition, grooming, and toileting
  • Medication administration for up to 9 scheduled meds per day
  • Personal laundry, linen, and towel service
  • May require occasional redirection and emotional support
  • Emergency pendants and other life safety technologies available based on individual needs
  • Life enrichment programming

Care Level B

Includes level A plus:

  • Incontinence support including prompts and cues for toileting
  • Assist of 1 staff for ADL’s including transfers, mobility, dressing, toileting
  • Assistance with special dressing needs (compression stockings, ace wraps, braces, etc.)
  • Blood thinner management
  • Crushing of approved medications
  • Assistance with therapeutic exercises as ordered
  • May require moderate redirection and behavioral problem solving

Care Level C

Includes level B plus:

  • High risk of falls requiring additional interventions
  • Incontinence management requiring regular physical assistance from staff
  • Insulin injections
  • Blood sugar testing
  • Assistance with dietary needs
  • Monitoring of disruptive wandering
  • May require advanced redirection and behavioral interventions

Care Level D

Includes level C plus:

  • Assist of 2 staff with all mechanical lifts
  • Assist of 2 staff with ADL’s, mobility, transfers, etc.
  • Resistance to cares
  • High risk of elopement
  • May require intensive redirection, constant interventions and increased monitoring due to resistive and aggressive behaviors.

Care Level E

Includes Level D plus:

  • Colostomy Care
  • Nebulizer treatments as ordered
  • Catheter Care
  • Simple dressing changes
  • Oxygen management
  • Communicable disease infection control management (active C-Diff, MRSA, etc.)
  • Special diets (modified gluten-free, pureed, thickened liquids, etc.)

Additional fees may apply for:

  • Outside pharmacy selection and setup: When a resident’s family chooses a pharmacy other than the Cottages preferred pharmacy, medication setup by nurse is an additional charge per month.

(Fees waived if receiving medications through Veteran Services.)

  • Medication Administration
    • Administration of ten or more scheduled medications (not including controlled substances)
    • Administration of all controlled substances
    • Administration and handling of hazardous medication
  • Cable in resident rooms (TV included)
  • Colostomy Care
  • Catheter Care
  • Wound Care (not fully managed by an outside source)
  • Oxygen management
  • Nebulizer Treatments
  • Communicable disease infection prevention
  • Special diets (modified gluten free, pureed, thickened liquids etc.)

Housing Package Includes

  • Private or semi-private companion bedroom
  • 24-hour monitoring and surveillance with controlled building access
  • All utilities (except private telephone and cable)
  • Community telephone and cable in common areas
  • Property taxes and building insurance
  • Building maintenance and repair
  • Lawn care and snow removal
  • Laundry and light housekeeping services
  • Gated courtyard and gardens
  • Spaces for private gatherings
  • Community dining areas

Examples of items supplied by family/individual vendors/private insurance

  • Incontinence products
  • Medications and pharmaceutical services
  • Medical supplies
  • Medical equipment
  • Physical/occupational therapy
  • Nutritional/dietary supplements