Keeping a Senior Active

Dorothy Hopp, at 99 years old, is a bright, interesting, and engaged woman who always dresses fastidiously and is happy to tell visitors wonderful stories about worldwide travels with her husband, while describing lovely souvenirs that surround her in her sunny condo. Dorothy is an active participant in St. Anthony Park Area Seniors, and receives services that include rides to medical appointments, to the Senior Leisure Center for exercise class and lunch, to various fun local trips, including a light rail train trip to both downtowns, followed by lunch. “I don’t see very well and my volunteer stayed with me every step of the way,” replies Dorothy. “We trust the three women in the office 100%. They are wonderful!”

Dorothy and Susan

Susan Hopp, Dorothy’s daughter, is very enthusiastic about the care and services that her Mom receives from St. Anthony Park Area Seniors.  Susan is grateful for the “peace of mind” it gives her, knowing that her Mom is in good hands when she cannot be with her. “Maude, one of Mom’s volunteers, is exceptional—she’s another ME for Mom. We couldn’t survive without her.”

Scott Apple is another one of Dorothy’s volunteers.  Scott tells us that upon arriving in St. Anthony Park as empty nesters, he and his wife, Jill, used some of the extra time they had giving their senior neighbors a hand. Scott described some of the volunteer jobs they did, such as raking lawns, cleaning up properties and running errands like picking up prescriptions. But when he mentioned that he reads a full two hours on Monday evenings to Dorothy Hopp, he described it as the “highlight of my week.”

Though a voracious reader and lover of books, Dorothy has developed macular degeneration, which limits her vision. Scott laughed as he recalled spending 90 minutes on Labor Day, sorting through 43 books with Dorothy. She had a story for each book and wants Scott to eventually read every one of them to her!

Scott described his time with Dorothy as “just a delight. I think I get more out of our visits than Dorothy does. I don’t have grandparents anymore, and after establishing a close relationship with Dorothy, I now have my own private Granny.”

Through volunteering, Scott said he has learned about what’s important to people and how ready they are to share their lives.  He has discovered that ”the gift of time” is a very precious thing to share.  Scott has also made new friends through volunteering and would strongly recommend it to anyone!

A Neighborhood Couple Gets the Help They Needed


A St. Anthony Park coupleRay and Elizabeth Willis have a long history with St. Anthony Park Area Seniors (SAPAS). The couple became volunteers in the 1980s as a way to help their neighbors. Fast forward to 2013, when Elizabeth fell and broke her hip and the Willises turned to SAPAS for help. Elizabeth received home care provided by a nurse and a physical therapist for several weeks. Ray described the services as a “Godsend.” In addition, Medicare picked up the cost of these services, a huge relief to the Willises. Recently, Ray needed someone to stay with Elizabeth while he went to an appointment; Patsy Demers, a SAPAS volunteer, stepped in, and “was a lovely person who did a great job,” reported Ray.

A St. Anthony Park Senior Gets a Needed Railing!

Nina with ealingTo: St. Anthony Park Area SENIORS Mary Hayes, Program Coordinator, Joan Blake, Service Coordinator, Katharine Tondra, Program Assistant

The statement in your brochure: "For anyone facing challenges that are beginning to limit their ability to live independently we are here to help" is reflected in this photo of Nina, using newly installed railings at her apartment building to climb the step.  

To review:  I needed help as a volunteer to resolve this problem: railings were removed from steps at two apartment buildings that I serve and they were not replaced.  I drive senior residents to health appointments and to Leisure Center meetings etc.  They were unable to independently manage the step without a railing.  I called the rental company whose initial response was "it is code...one step, no railing." and "how many seniors live there anyway?" .  I called the City of St. Paul.  The step was code.

I approached Mary at the Leisure Center.  I feel when I approach one of you I am in touch with the entire team..that each one of you is a dedicated professional, treating others respectfully and privacy is at the forefront. You work on challenges together.  You listened thorghtfully to the situation, discussed possibilities, and provided suggestions for resolution.  Mary assured me that if my attempt was not successful other options would be investigated.

Being able to identify myself as a member of an established organization "St. Anthony Park Area Seniors" that enables seniors to live independently provided me with credibility versus "busy body neighbor" to the rental company.  

It took three months of telephone calls and e-mails but now we have railings at 2044 and 2054 Brewster where we provide transportation to our seniors.  To quote Nina, "I would never have been able to leave the apartment.  I would have been housebound."  I might add that residents in both buildings have told me they have also benefitted.

Carol Mulroy
St. Anthony Park Area Seniors