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Knute Nelson caregiver receives state award

Diana Andrews of Alexandria has been named the Aging Services of Minnesota 2012 District C Caregiver of the Year for her years of service to the residents at Knute Nelson in Alexandria.

This special award is the highest honor awarded to Minnesota caregivers who dedicate their lives and careers to serving older adults.

Andrews was honored by Aging Services of Minnesota, a trade association for older adult services organizations in Minnesota.

Andrews has worked at the senior care campus for 28 years; first as a nursing assistant, and for the last four years as its wellness coordinator. She oversees the wellness programming for care center residents, which includes exercise and fitness.

"Our residents look to her as someone they can trust and turn to for help," said Angie Johnson, Knute Nelson's wellness director who nominated Andrews for the prestigious award. "I know her work ethic, professionalism, and commitment to serving others will guarantee that our programming is successful and focused on meeting the needs of our residents."

Andrews knows the benefits of exercise for older adults from her years as a nursing assistant. Using this knowledge, she shares the importance of the program with seniors and does her best to encourage them to participate, Johnson said. She added that Andrews shows amazing patience and her words are always caring; always staying positive and encouraging them.

"The Caregiver of the Year award is about honoring the very best of the best," said Gayle Kvenvold, president and CEO of Aging Services of Minnesota. "It's also an important opportunity to show Minnesotans the face of the people who care for our loved ones when we cannot. Diana Andrews is the kind of caregiver we all hope will be there for us when we need help."

Caregivers like Andrews are the unsung heroes in Minnesota's health care system. Kvenvold said. The deep commitment, talent and contributions of caregivers like her rarely receive the public recognition they deserve, he added.

For more information about the 2012 Aging Services of Minnesota Stars Among Us awards, visit the YouTube website: