Knoll prepares Parker Oaks for future

WINNEBAGO – Chris Knoll remembers spending time in the area when he was a kid. Now he is back as the administrator of Parker Oaks Communities in Winnebago.

Knoll began his new position in January.

“I’m still trying to get into the flow of things, get familiar with residents and staff,” he said.

Knoll claims Sartell as his hometown, but he has lived in Elmore and Mankato. His grandparents, Dale and Marge Knoll, were teachers in Truman.

“I’m familiar with the area,” he said.

Knoll graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in public administration and an emphasis in health administration. He worked at Adrian Care Center before coming to Winnebago.

He has already made one big change at Parker Oaks: decreasing the number of skilled nursing beds from 45 to 35, to meet the demand of aging Baby Boomers.

“[I want to] gear it toward assisted living,” Knoll said. “The younger generation is coming in and know what they want and we have to provide it.

“The word ‘nursing home’ is from the past,” he added.

He sees the future of elder care being individualized.

“With Obamacare coming down the line, home- and community-based service is really the push,” Knoll said.

Parker Oaks will be at the forefront, he said, continuing skilled nursing care that provides physical, occupational and speech therapies. The facility also offers church services, physician rounds and camaraderie.

Parker Oaks Communities includes South Oaks Assisted Living, which has 16 rooms, and Patriot Assisted Living for veterans, with 10 rooms.

Parker Oaks also oversees the senior nutrition program and Meals on Wheels.

“I don’t have a magic ball to see into the future, but the signs are pointing to assisted living or having loved ones stay in the home and have services brought to them,” Knoll said.

“Financially, for the government, that’s the way it has to go,” Knoll said.

“It’s going to be about providing services in the most affordable manner possible while providing the best quality of care for the elder population,” he said. “That’s the reality.”

Knoll welcomes anyone with questions to stop in at Parker Oaks or call (507) 893-3171.