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Our Stories

PMeet a few of the guys at The Boulevard, Crest View Senior Community’s independent senior housing on Reservoir Boulevard in Columbia Heights.
Art, retired from the U of M maintenance department, moved in 14 years ago. He remembers walking around the campus grounds and seeing Lloyd, who lived nearby, walking his dog.

Lloyd, who worked as a technician in the garage that launched Medtronic, met Shirley Barnes, CEO, when she came to his rummage sale about 22 years ago.

Lou, a member of a restaurant family known for fabulous Northeast Minneapolis food, used to visit his mother on the campus.

Bill, Art’s brother, regales the guys with stories of his days bartending in a downtown Minneapolis hotel. He shakes his head and chuckles when he recalls how Johnny Weisman, the actor best known as Tarzan, would do his famous yell for drinks.

It’s fun to look back, but their days are full, too. A weekly happy hour in the dining room, card games, bingo, sing-alongs, rides to the grocery store or a scheduled outing—these are the kinds of simple but essential choices that keep them connected to a community.

“Having something to do is key,” says Lou.

Bill says one of the most attractive things about The Boulevard is “location, location, location.” Just a few blocks away on Central Avenue, Bill goes to the stores, barber, bank, and more.

Living on a campus multiplies your choices of things to do with your neighbors. Different buildings on the campus, all connected, blend their activity calendars. It’s a big draw when Bill calls bingo on Sunday nights. Religious services are plentiful and varied, with worship opportunities for people of all faiths.

Lou, a retired postal worker, says it’s very convenient to be on a campus with all the care you’re likely to ever need. “If you have health problems, you can get into assisted living or nursing home care without changing addresses,” Lou said.

Art, the retired maintenance man, has a work ethic that won’t quit. He checks the outside doors to make sure they latch on the market-rate rental building. The staff does a “pretty good job” maintaining the place, he says. The grounds are lovely, they all agree, with gardening opportunities for people who have green thumbs.

It’s important to have a purpose, whether it’s keeping a watchful eye over the place or participating in activities on the campus. Crest View Senior Communities strives to nourish people and their purpose. It’s our ministry to take care of seniors and their loved ones.

Lloyd’s purpose includes sharing his dog Lalu, a star at The Boulevard. Her name is a phrase coined by a grandson who couldn’t say “I love you” when he was small. It came out, “Lalu.”

Lalu, Lloyd, Art, Bill, Lou, the staff, and everyone else on the campus help create and sustain a community that is a blessing.

Pete had watched Crest View rise from the ground just down the street from his apartment. Another plus was his son lived a few miles away, along with Pete’s adorable granddaughters, ages 3 and 8.

Talking about the granddaughters makes his eyes sparkle. They’re dancers. “Point a camera at them and they go into a dance pose,” Pete said. He attends their dance recitals and enjoys frequent visits.

Pete didn’t want to look anywhere else. Crest View Senior Community at Blaine was brand new, yet owned and managed by a nonprofit with 65 years of experience, and in his neighborhood close to family.

How did he decide to move into assisted living? He saw the writing on the wall.
How many times can you call 911 after a fall in your apartment before someone else makes decisions for you? Pete wondered, and worried.

Since moving to Crest View in July, Pete has used the emergency call button on a chain around his neck four times. “It works great!” Pete said. His family no longer worries about him lying on the floor, unable to get up on his own.

Pete spent 37 years working for the same company in Minneapolis, after doing four years in the Navy. He was a tool and die maker. He made parts that went in missiles, planes, Leatherman tools, BMX bikes, and even cowboy spurs, for example.
So what does a man with such a keen eye for small detail notice about Crest View Senior Community at Blaine?

“The hallways are angled,” Pete said. “You don’t have long hallways, like in a hospital. It seems more private.”

“Here, things are always happening,” Pete said. While living in his old apartment, there were days he didn’t get out, didn’t have any contact. Now, he enjoys chair exercises and Tai Chi. His apartment on the third floor has friendly neighbors he sees all the time. When the band, The Panic, played in October, Pete loved it. “I used to know a sax player and when I saw they had a sax I thought, ‘Ok, this is gonna be good.’” He watches with amazement when the firefighters do their drills next door. He drives his motorized wheelchair down the sidewalk to the nearby stores, too.
The facility is secure, but he has easy in and out access. His neighbors say it isn’t unusual to see Pete outside late on a warm summer night.

An aide does laundry for him. “Makes it easier on me,” he says with a smile.

Corned beef hash is his favorite breakfast. He has a stove in the apartment, but he’s not using it, at least not yet. Pete used to make and give away 15 jelly roll pans of pumpkin bars every fall. His baking secret? Use applesauce instead of oil.

That makes two life lessons from Pete: Plan ahead for your care and use applesauce when baking.

Crest View Senior Community at Blaine offers assisted living, memory care, care suites and independent senior housing. The Columbia Heights campus, ten miles south, offers the full continuum of services, including short and long term care.

The caring staff at Crest View Senior Communities are ready to help you plan ahead, for yourself or a loved one. For more information, call 763-762-8430 in Blaine or 763-782-1601 in Columbia Heights.

Crest View Senior Communities is an Equal Opportunity Employer

The Caterpillar Project took flight Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018 at Crest View Senior Communities in Columbia Heights with the release of about 40 butterflies raised by seniors with the help of three college-aged young people.

The idea took root last year at the Minnesota State Fair. Kinsey Philips, a University of Minnesota student, worked in the butterfly house.
“People were mesmerized by metamorphosis,” Philips said. All ages stopped and enjoyed, which got Philips thinking.

Two fellow students, Thomas Paget and Jason Sakizadeh, joined her to form the Caterpillar Project. Crest View Senior Communities in Columbia Heights became their launching pad because of a connection to a staff person.

In July, caterpillars were given to Crest View residents, along with supplies, like milkweed. Every few days, the young people returned to freshen the cages and visit.

“Our vision is to bring joy to the residents. A little piece of nature to brighten their day,” Philips said. “Our focus is on getting to know residents. We chat about their experiences with butterflies.”

In between visits, the residents kept a close eye on the caterpillars. Together, the volunteers and the seniors moved the chrysalis to a large cage.
On Aug. 4, they gathered in the parking lot of Crest View Lutheran Care Center, 4444 Reservoir Blvd., to release the butterflies.

“Surrogate Mother”
Betty, 92-years-old and a member of Crest View Senior Communities for little over a year, was raised in southwest Minnesota farm country, but she had never witnessed the stages of life for a butterfly before this project.

In July, the volunteers brought her two caterpillars in a container.

“I was very curious to see what would happen,” said Betty, who called herself a surrogate mother.

“They went from being so tiny, about a half an inch, and within a couple days they grew into great big caterpillars. They ate a lot of milkweed. They just chomped at that stuff!”

She kept a watchful eye over the caterpillars and cocoons for several weeks. When it came time to release the butterflies, Betty had mixed emotions.
“It was wonderful, but hard to see them go,” Betty said. “I’m wondering what’s going to happen to them. Some of them were reluctant to go out of the containers. Most were happy to fly out and go way up in the air.”

Poised for Growth
Philips has graduated from the U of M. Paget and Sakizadeh are still in school. Philips would like to see the Caterpillar Project grow next year. Philips has a goal of attaining nonprofit status. The volunteers put in their own money to cover some startup costs and received donations, like milkweed seeds from American Meadows and Save Our Pollinators, seed mix from Nature’s Seed, biodegradable seed starting pots from CowPots, soil from Gerten’s, compostable deli containers for cages from World Centric, cage supplies from Uline, and project t-shirts from Big Frog Customer T Shirts.

Crest View Senior Communities CEO Shirley Barnes hopes they’ll come back.

“This has been a wonderful, inter-generational experience,” Barnes said. “There’s something magical about butterflies. We’re so grateful to Kinsey, Thomas and Jason for their generosity of time, talent and heart.”

Connect With Us


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  • Lutheran Services in America

Contact Information

Columbia Heights Campus
Phone: 763-782-1601
Address: 4444 Reservoir Blvd NE, Columbia Heights, MN 55421

Blaine Campus
Phone: 763-762-8430
12016 Ulysses St. NE Blaine MN 55434