Administrator aims to spread the word about Thorne Crest

Published 6:07 am Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Thorne Crest Senior Living Community’s new administrator brings a varied background to the position.

Jennifer Wood, who officially started in the role in late April, said she began in the gourmet food industry and then became a registered dietitian. She worked as a corporate consulting dietitian for Kwik Trip and then worked as a traveling dietitian — to states such as Texas and Pennsylvania. At that time, she realized she enjoyed being in senior care.

“Then COVID hit and shut down my travels,” she said. “I went home for what I thought was going to be a four-day weekend and flew back to Texas. It was probably about a year before I got called from that company.”

Email newsletter signup

During the pandemic, she took the opportunity to complete classwork to go toward her long-term care administrator’s license and obtained her certificate through Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she grew up.

After that she went back and forth between being a dietitian and an administrator — knowing that many of the places she worked as an interim had needs to elevate their food.

“When I took this job as an interim temp-to-perm possibility, I knew that they wanted to elevate their food a little bit,” she said.

She started as a temporary administrator at Thorne Crest on March 12 and became a more permanent employee on April 26. She previously had completed admin-in-training work at Villa Healthcare in the Twin Cities and worked as administrator in Grand Meadow, among other interim positions.

She said she was actually born in Rochester but grew up in Nebraska, driving past Albert Lea many times on the interstate. She said she moved to Minnesota in 2001.

She actually moved to Albert Lea when her daughter and son-in-law, who lived in the city, were expecting their first child.

She said she didn’t know much about Albert Lea before that.

“I actually really like it,” Wood said. “It’s big enough to have some amenities but still small enough to navigate.”

She also has a son who lives in Rochester and another son who lives in Australia.

Since starting, she said she has been busy familiarizing herself with the position and the systems in place, as well as working on elevating the food at the facility. They have been developing a new menu with feedback from the residents.

There has also been a big focus on staffing and making sure the facility is adequately staffed. She is working on better staff systems for onboarding.

Looking to the future, Wood said her goals include being out in the community more so community members know more about Thorne Crest. She also looks forward to continuing to collaborate with hospitals and other senior care services.

“Making sure we’re spreading the word about our hidden gem,” she said of the senior care facility.
She said Thorne Crest has availability for all levels of care, and they welcome people to the care center.

Thorne Crest offers everything from assisted living without services to assisted living with services, skilled nursing and memory care. Combined there are about 120 residents.

“I’m just excited to be here— I really am,” Wood said.

She looks forward to Thorne Crest’s annual car show later this month and the Third of July Parade.