Colette Miles, Executive Director, Prairie Meadows Senior Living

A knack for being in the right place at the right time

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Colette Miles, executive director of Prairie Meadows Senior Living in Kasson, has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Colette grew up as one of three daughters on a dairy/ hog/crop farm near Leroy, MN. One of her sisters was living in Florida so Collette as a young adult moved to Fort Lauderdale with $1000 and belongings that fit in a car. She soon found employment (not in the field of senior living) and a friend she made there had taken a new job at a senior care center. Knowing Colette liked to work he convinced her to work weekends at the facility as a receptionist in addition to her other job. He was soon promoted and Colette was offered his position thus ushering her into the field of senior living and housing. She lived and worked in Florida for six years and then spent a very short time in Pennsylvania before moving to Indianapolis, a town she grew to love. The face of senior housing and living options was changing and Colette was right in the middle of it. She was there when discussions of assisted living first occurred-an unheard of living option for seniors up until then. Her sister and family lived nearby giving Colette the opportunity to see her niece and nephew grow up. She spent 11 hardworking years in Indianapolis with a schedule filled with travel for work, meetings, seminars and all the other responsibilities of the position. Colette loved her life, job and friends in Indianapolis, but something was starting to pull her away. The realization that her own parents were aging made her return to Minnesota to seek employment.

Having been away from the area for a while she was unsure what was available in terms of employment in the senior housing/care field. She shared this with a friend over lunch who had a friend whose husband had connections to the field. Colette's friend gave her a number to call as soon as possible (Colette remembers using the pay phone at the restaurant) and was granted an interview for a position at a facility that was not open yet. In September 2000 Colette started working for Meadow Lakes Senior Living before the actual building opened in October of that year. For the last four years she has been the executive director at both Meadow Lakes and Prairie Meadows. Her schedule is not set in stone but in a typical week Tuesday and Thursday are spent in Kasson with the remaining week days at Meadow Lakes. "I am basically on call 24/7. If something needs my attention, I deal with it", said Colette referencing her work days. She is responsible for the day to day operations at both locations. "Comfort Home Health Care handles the medical aspect, but I am responsible for the rest", said Colette.

Prairie Meadows Senior Living opened in Kasson in October of 2005. The Blum family owns Meadow Lakes and shares ownership of Prairie Meadows. The city of Kasson helped pave the way for the senior living complex to become reality. Community members are aware of Prairie Meadows' presence in the community, but may not be familiar with all that is offered. There are 50 units available for independent living or assisted living. Services included are housekeeping and dining. Assisted living is the same as independent living yet with additional support of staff to provide assistance with daily living needs or health care needs handled by the Comfort Home Health staff. A large dining room, plus a private dining room, chapel, library, movie room and activity room are all available. Respite care is also offered. Prairie Meadows differs from Meadow Lakes in that memory care is offered here. Rose Court offers a total of 11 suites providing independence in secure surroundings.

Prairie Meadows is also conscious of their decision to be an active part of the community. Pancake breakfasts, quilt shows, library programs, veteran presentations, entertainment and car shows are all ways they encourage the community to visit and interact.

When Colette moved back to Minnesota she reconnected with someone she'd known since she was 16. Ten years ago wedding bells rang as Colette married Bill Miles also from Leroy. Colette also was able to spend time with her parents and extended family after returning to the area. Colette's youth on the farm has served her well in her profession; offering her empathy for seniors who have moved off the farm or grew up as she did on the farm. "My father had three daughters and we did it all-chores, milking, field work. My sisters and I each had our own cows to milk and nobody had better milk the others' cows", she said with a smile. "I stood in the yard and cried the day the last of the Angus cows were sold and trucked off the farm. Knowing how I felt I am not sure how my dad handled it. It was his life and he was good at it. I loved the farm and I know he did too", said Colette. Happily Colette and her husband were able to purchase the farmstead she grew up on and she is once again living there.

The knack for being in the right place at the right time. Colette Miles has it. She's also working to provide the right living arrangements for seniors at the right time. And that takes a special knack as well.

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