By Christiane Cordero

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Cottage Grove senior care facility got a big surprise Friday — 77 bouquets of flowers. That’s one for each of the people who live at Norris Square, a senior care center in Cottage Grove.

One of the residents goes by the name of Ginny. For several weeks and in an effort to keep Ginny and her neighbors safe from Covid-19, they haven’t been able to welcome visitors, and have used social distancing within the facility. So, when Ginny turned 88, she celebrated at a distance and with a fresh vase of flowers by her side.

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“She said she looked at them every single day and she kept them on her table until the last petal fell off, because other than phone calls, that was the only happy thing in her life,” said Ginny’s daughter, Deb Mason.

Her caretakers, despite their efforts, don’t quite have a rulebook for how to handle a pandemic that targets their people first.

“We’ve really had to think outside the box,” said Anna DeCorsey, who works at Norris Square.

The facility has introduced new activities and encourages conversations to keep residents physically and mentally active. They have a courtyard to get fresh air.

Yet, Anna and her colleagues acknowledged the unique challenges, and in doing so, they helped bring families together by staying apart.

“We made a post on Facebook to the community of Cottage Grove and St. Paul Park, and asked for $400,” said Mason.

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It would cover the cost of 45 bouquets—for each resident in assisted living.

“I knew with this community, that we’d get a lot more,” said Cori Laska of Rustic Floral Boutique. She and her team spent the day prior arranging 77 vases.

Some people donated in the memory of loved ones, many offered gratitude and in total, it added up to $1,800. Laska and Mason only used part of it at Norris Square. They delivered 44 bouquets to another senior care center, and plan to save the remaining $500 for a second delivery at another date.

“It makes me smile (to know) what a bouquet of flowers can do for somebody and what the community has done to make this happen,” Mason said.


Christiane Cordero