Connecting with kids

At this retirement community, you could be a 'grandfriend' to toddlers.

TowerLight Senior Living
Founded in 2012, TowerLight Senior Living in St. Louis Park includes an on-site daycare center that hosts 124 children, who often interact with residents.

TowerLight Senior Living in St. Louis Park may seem like the typical retirement community. It offers independent living, assisted living, memory care and enhanced care (for anyone recovering from illness, injury or surgery).

But this community of 115 apartments, located about three blocks west of the St. Louis Park Target off Highway 100, boasts a feature that represents a new (and growing) trend in housing for older adults — an on-site daycare center, TowerLight Childcare.

Thanks to specially designed intergenerational programming, 124 lively and energetic children (age infant through preschool) are allowed to play a major role in residents’ daily lives.

Seniors — known amongst the children as “grandfriends” — get together with kids for supervised activities, including art projects, MacPhail music classes, story times, stroller rides and even a Rockabye Baby Hour.

Such programming has been proven to dramatically enhance not just the lives of seniors, but also the emotional development of children.

“This program teaches toddlers to embrace others and make friends, even if they are different,” said TowerLight executive director Jake Schneider. “No longer is it ‘scary’ to see someone in a wheelchair. In today’s world, we all need to learn acceptance more than ever — acceptance of different generations, acceptance of those who look different than us.”

Seniors who participate in TowerLight Childcare activities often enjoy new meaningful experiences.

Schneider cited the story of one gentleman who started participating in the programming when he was in the mid-stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

“He told the same stories to the eager kids each day. Life became exciting,” he said. “As Alzheimer’s started to take effect, all he would remember is joining the kids at 3 p.m. Each day, he would get his dress shoes on to visit the kids. While there, he’d smile. His life had purpose.”

Meredith Johnson, the adult daughter of a memory care resident at TowerLight, said she’s taken comfort in the community’s intergenerational culture.

“TowerLight is a great match for my mom and my granddaughter,” Johnson said. “I have already told my own children that if I ever need similar care, they have to find me a place that has children in it.”

TowerLight Grandfriend and child
TowerLight Grandfriend and child


  • Restaurant-style dining
  • Movie theater with weekly movies and popcorn
  • Large club room for daily activities and private family gatherings
  • Fitness room with equipment, plus daily classes
  • Beauty salon/barber
  • Library and billiards room
  • Craft room
  • Reflection room for weekly church services and Bible study
  • Spa room with a walk-in tub
  • Bus for transportation to the grocery store, scheduled weekly outings, dining
  • Housekeeping
  • Underground heated parking
  • Outdoor patios
  • Care visits from Bluestone Physician Group
  • Partnerships with Fairview Home Care and Hospice
  • Pet friendly and smoke free.
TowerLight Senior Living Lobby
TowerLight Senior Living Lobby


WHERE: 3601 Wooddale Ave. S., St. Louis Park

AGES WELCOME: 55 and older

OPENED: 2012

AVAILABILITY: There are openings in assisted living, memory care and enhanced care.

NUMBER OF UNITS: 115 apartments, including studio, 1 bedroom, 1 bedroom/den, 2 bedroom/2 bath

COST RANGE FOR A SINGLE RESIDENT: $1,765 to $4,345; nursing care costs are separate and can range from $0 to $4,500 per month.

CARE OPTIONS: TowerLight also offers a Continuum of Independence age-in-place model for residents. That means a resident can move into independent living and stay in the same unit, even when a higher level of service is required. Staff are trained regularly in Dimensions, a special technique for delivering innovative, hands-on, ongoing dementia care through person-centered, relationship-based interactions as well as purposeful, pleasurable, creative activities (including intergenerational programming with kids at the on-site daycare).

PROPERTY OWNER: TowerLight is privately owned and is managed by Ebenezer, which is part of the Fairview Health System in Minneapolis.

INFO: 952-881-6322,

Do you know of a new or interesting senior housing facility in the Twin Cities that might make a good Housing Spotlight? Write Minnesota Good Age editor Sarah Jackson at with the subject line Housing Spotlight.