Alvin Roath Named as Health Care Hero in Twin Cities Business

Alvin Roath

Corporate Facilities Director, Ecumen


Some Health Care Heroes don’t wear scrubs or lab coats; instead, they’re working behind the scenes to create a safe environment for those on the front lines and the people in their care. Alvin Roath is one of them. In addition to his role as facilities director, in which he works to safeguard the residents and team members at each of Ecumen’s sites, he assumed an additional role in 2020: incident commander, where he helped the organization prepare for and manage Covid-19. Roath’s background in health care emergency preparedness provided a strong foundation, and within days, he had identified all necessary elements and roles and gathered the team twice daily to talk through action plans.

Tillie Dybing

A 107-year-old Minnesota woman beats Covid-19

A 107-year-old Minnesota woman beats Covid-19

(CNN) — Tillie Dybing is a survivor.

At the age of 107, the Minnesota woman recently beat Covid-19 after being diagnosed this fall, according to officials at the Ecumen Detroit Lakes community home, where she has lived since 2015.

This isn’t the first pandemic Dybing has lived through. Born in 1913, she was almost 5 years old when the 1918 flu pandemic hit her family farm in North Dakota, she told CNN affiliate KARE.

“My folks got sick and they were in bed, and I’d run into the bed and my Dad said, ‘Can’t you find another place to run,'” she said.

Throughout her life, Dybing endured other losses, including the deaths of several siblings in infancy and her husband in her 80s. She is also a cancer survivor, having beaten uterine cancer at the age of 95, KARE reported.

Now, she has survived two viral pandemics. The only Covid-19 symptoms Dybing says she had was fatigue.

“Nothing in her lungs. They said she doesn’t have a fever. She just slept all the time,” Tillie’s daughter Susan Berke told KARE.

Dybing recently returned to her apartment at the facility after spending a few weeks away from the general population, Ecumen officials tell CNN. They added that they are happy she has recovered and thanked her family for trusting them with her care.

“We continue to be so grateful to see that smile and hear her infectious laugh each day,” Ecumen Detroit Lakes posted on their Facebook page. “She is such a blessing to our community!”

Senior man and woman having coffee at table seen through window

Ecumen Announces New Housing Projects

Ecumen Announces New Housing Projects

Growing to Serve More

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | By Sue Sorensen Lee | Dec. 10th, 2020

SHOREVIEW, Minn. – (Dec.10, 2020) – Minnesota-based Ecumen, one of the country’s largest nonprofit providers of housing and services for older adults, announced that in 2020, it has opened, launched or moved forward with 12 new owned or managed housing projects in the Midwest, with more on the horizon.

“Our goal is to continue to grow to serve more people through our housing, compassionate healthcare services, and related business lines,” says Ecumen president and CEO Shelley Kendrick. Ecumen’s differentiated model reflects its focus on safety and wellness, and the importance of individually defined holistic health. The organization is including elements of well building design in its new properties.

Ecumen’s projects represent an expansion of more than 975 apartments for older adults. “I’m especially pleased that three of these new offerings are affordable housing,” says Kendrick, who has highlighted affordability as an ongoing housing priority for the organization.

New Ecumen-Owned Properties

    • Ecumen Pathstone Latitude – Mankato, Minn. – February 2021
      • Expansion of Ecumen’s Pathstone campus
      • 56 new independent living apartments in this new building located on the bluffs of the
        Minnesota River – an extension of the large, full continuum of care campus
      • The new building will also house 24 new memory care apartments (Ecumen Pathstone
    • Snelling Yards Senior Housing – Minneapolis, Minn. – summer 2022
      • New development: 100 affordable independent living senior housing apartments
      • 11 apartments are dedicated to homeless veterans
    • Edina Affordable Housing – suburb of Minneapolis, Minn. – summer 2023
      • Owner, Ecumen and Lupe Development Partners
      • New development: 118 affordable housing apartments


Ecumen Managed Properties

      • Mt. Royal Pines III – Duluth, Minn. – April 2020
        • Existing community: 54 assisted living apartments
      • Rose Senior Living Beachwood – Beachwood, Ohio – June 2020
        • New development: 174 unit blended building – independent living, assisted living, memory
      • St. Croix Forest Heights – St. Croix Falls, Wis. – Nov. 2020
        • Existing community: 30 affordable independent living apartments
      • River Town Heights – St.Croix Falls, Wis. – Nov. 2020
        • Existing community: 25 affordable independent living apartments
      • CedarStone – Cedar Falls, Iowa – early 2022
        • New development: 120 carefree living, assisted living and memory care apartments
      • Quartet – Bettendorf, Iowa – early 2022
        • New development: 120 carefree living, assisted living and memory care apartments


New Cooperative Living Properties

    • Zvago Lake Superior – Duluth, Minn. – Oct. 2020
      • Overlooking Lake Superior, near Ecumen Lakeshore campus
      • 51 units
    • Zvago Stillwater – Stillwater, Minn. – early 2022
      • Located in downtown Stillwater
      • 48 units
    • Zvago Long Lake – Long Lake, Minn. – fall 2022
      • Overlooking Long Lake
      • 57 units


About Ecumen

Founded in 1862 as a Lutheran social service agency, nonprofit Ecumen provides housing choices, compassionate healthcare, and innovative services to older adults. One of the largest providers in the country, Ecumen is recognized for its innovative programming and individualized, person-centered care. The company is a recipient of the 2020 NRC Health Customer Approved Award, reflecting the ratings provided by the residents and family members it serves. Based in Shoreview, Minn., Ecumen operates nearly 100 properties and services in more than 40 communities in multiple states. Housing options include independent living, assisted living, memory care, short-term rehabilitation long-term care communities, and long-term care communities, in addition to offering cooperative living, home and community-based services, hospice, and a durable medical equipment store. The company also provides consulting services in management, marketing, and development. For more information, visit us on Facebook or at

abiitan exterior

Senior Living – Creating Community in Spite of COVID

Senior Living – Creating Community in Spite of COVID

If you have spent much time around Mill City, you might have noticed a gorgeous, boxy building between the Stone Arch Bridge and the Guthrie Theater. It is nice to look at, with a dramatic black trim that starkly contrasts the tan and grey brick, the slate-colored siding, and the many recessed balconies. It looks like any other upscale condominium or apartment building – which is not far from the truth. This is Abiitan: a residential living space for people who are 55 and older

I was lucky enough to spend a little time with Sue Lee, the Chief Communications and Marketing Officer of Ecumen, Abiitan’s parent company, and she gave me the run down on this stunning facility. We talked about everything: the facility itself, the way that Abiitan is dealing with COVID on both operational and personal levels, and Lee’s high opinion of Abiitan’s residents.

It should not surprise you to learn that the inside of Abiitan is every bit as nice as the outside. The building includes comfortable, contemporary, independent living spaces as well as state-of-the-art assisted living and memory care facilities. Abiitan truly has something for everyone. The property, which opened in 2016, feels modern, accessible, and trendy. Its bar/restaurant, café, and gym, are respectively classy, cozy, and full of high-tech machines.

Abiitan’s fresh aesthetic alongside Ecumen’s long history as a successful care provider makes for a winning combination. Ecumen “has a legacy of more than 150 years…[and is ] one of the country’s largest nonprofit providers of housing and healthcare services,” Lee says. The organization is “committed to exceptional care, advocacy for those it serves and employs, equality, and inclusivity.”

Of course, neither its beautiful facilities nor its historic legacy could shelter Abiitan’s staff and residents from the ramifications of COVID, but because Ecumen took the pandemic seriously from the beginning, when I ask Lee how the pandemic impacted residents, her first thought is of local business closures.

“Each of Ecumen’s communities has a long-standing commitment to helping residents stay connected,” Lee explains “At Abiitan, those connections sometimes reach beyond the walls to downtown arts and cultural centers, dining and recreational activities. Those activities outside the community have been curtailed during this period.” Residents, many of whom specifically chose Abiitan because of its close proximity to favorite Minneapolis touchstones, have been sad to see favorite dining establishments close and nearby theaters go dark during this time.

From the beginning of the pandemic, Abiitan has worked hard to provide safe opportunities for residents to engage with artistic, cultural, and educational opportunities that are no longer available in the surrounding area. “Abiitan’s wonderful community partners have found innovative ways to bring music, lectures, classes and other opportunities to residents virtually, via technology,” Lee says, “Across all of Ecumen’s communities, more than 23,000 virtual and in-person visits have been scheduled with the help of technology. The resilient spirit of our community members has been completely inspiring.”

Abiitan has also helped residents maintain social connections safely through the pandemic. “Outdoor visits from friends and family were enjoyed all summer and through the fall and we introduced a Connection Station, a 3-sided plexiglass booth that allowed those residents who have challenges wearing masks the opportunity to see their loved ones.”

In addition to the visits from friends and relatives who do not live at Abiitan, Lee has noticed the Abiitan community growing stronger. “We’ve seen that this time has brought residents together more than ever before – as they reach out by phone to connect and support one another,” she says, “One group of independent living residents has regularly sent beautiful, hand-crafted cards to residents in memory care, to remind them that they are part of a caring community. There are so many innovative ways to safely share stories and make new friendships.”

The tight-knit community at Abiitan is a direct result of the residents, who Lee is routinely impressed by. “We have a truly outstanding community at Abiitan – it really is a place where interesting people do interesting things,” Lee says, “We have socially conscious residents…Some are artists and educators, others come from business.” Abiitan is an exceptional place to live, not because of the amenities, but because of the strong community built by the hands and hearts of each resident.

As we wrapped up our conversation, Lee made a point to remind me how important it is for everyone to stay connected to the people they love. Residents at Abiitan are already excelling at giving the “gift of connections”, as Lee calls it. Giving that gift is something that the rest of us should strive to do for our family and friends as well.

We can all benefit from Lee’s final words of advice: “Stay safe and stay connected.”

Lupe Development Partners is moving forward on two rental projects aimed at low-income renters: An 111-unit building that opened on Lake Street in Minneapolis, shown above, and a senior rental in Edina.

Developer moves ahead with Lake Street, Edina apartment projects

Developer moves ahead with Lake Street, Edina apartment projects

Amid pandemic, apartments in Minneapolis, Edina target low-income tenants.

Twin Cities-based Lupe Development Partners has moved forward on two rental projects aimed at low-income renters: an 111-unit building that opened recently on Lake Street in Minneapolis and a senior rental building in Edina that’s in its infancy.

Both projects come at a challenging time for low-income renters. Though vacancy rates for market-rate rentals are on the rise in much of the metro and rents are flat or falling in some areas, wait lists persist for the most-affordable units.

To help meet that demand, Lupe is proceeding with additional phases of that Lake Street project, and on Monday the developer participated in a virtual community meeting where people who live near the Edina project will discuss its plans to build 118 rentals for low-income, older adults on a site that’s owned by the Edina Housing Foundation near Southdale Center in Edina.

“This project will be ideal for individuals who want to remain in Edina after retirement,” said Steve Minn, vice president and chief financial manager of Minneapolis-based Lupe Development Partners, in statement. “This area is rich in services, restaurants, shopping, transit and other essentials to keep senior residents connected to their community. It’s a perfect match with the amenities we plan to bring to the development.”

Lupe will partner with Ecumen, a nonprofit that specializes in managing low-income senior housing. The team was selected last month to develop and manage the proposed project at 4040 W. 70th St. in Edina. It would include one- and two-bedroom units with rents ranging from $650 to $1,600, making it affordable to seniors with annual household incomes ranging from $22,000 to $58,000 per year.

“This property will be a wonderful opportunity for residents to remain actively connected with all that they love in this special community as they explore new interests and build new friendships,” said Shelley Kendrick, president and CEO of Ecumen, in a statement.

Amenities would include a fitness center, community room with kitchen, business center, below-grade parking, a package and mail center, outdoor garden beds and a green roof. Walking paths would connect to the city’s trail system. The team has just begun the development planning and approval process and is still seeking financing for construction. If approved, construction is expected to begin in 2022.

The announcement of the Edina project followed the opening of Lake Street Dwelling, a new 111-unit rental building at 410 W. Lake St. in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis. That six-story building is one of three buildings that Lupe plans to build as part of a mixed-income redevelopment project.

Residents, who began moving in on Nov. 1, must earn $30,000 to $42,000 a year. There will also have units reserved for veterans who have dealt with homelessness. Those veterans will receive services and support via a partnership between Hennepin County and the nearby Ballentine VFW Post 246.

“It’s a tough time right now in our community,” said Winston Kettle, VFW Post 246 quartermaster, in a statement. “And we’re looking forward to better and brighter days ahead when we hope the residents of Lake Street Dwelling will visit for a meal, a drink, or some entertainment.”

On an adjacent site, construction is already underway of a 135-unit market-rate building at 500 W. Lake St. which will later be joined by a third building that will have another 95 income-restricted rentals at 550 W. Lake St.

senior housing, senior living

Construction well underway on Ecumen Pathstone’s new Independent Living and Memory Care

Construction well underway on Ecumen Pathstone’s new Independent Living and Memory Care

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) – The 3 story building will be connected to Ecumen Pathstone’s existing assisted living units.

It will feature 56 independent living apartments and 24 new memory care units which will replace existing units.

“There is strong research that independent living is very much something that the Mankato community could use right now and we are committed to keeping seniors safe and connected during this time,” said Ecuman Pathstone Sales Marketing Manager, Laura Templin.

The Independent Living community will be called Latitude and the Memory Care Community has been named Landing.

The building is set to have a Scandinavian theme, equipped with a lifelong learning center, library, club lounge and rooftop patio overlooking the Minnesota River Valley and bluffs.

The project plans to be completed in February of 2021.

Construction well underway on Ecumen Pathstone’s new Independent Living and Memory Care
Construction well underway on Ecumen Pathstone’s new Independent Living and Memory Care

senior housing, senior living

Ecumen Pathstone Announces Names and Details for Its New Independent Living Offering

Ecumen Pathstone Announces Names and Details for Its New Independent Living Offering

New complex, now offering full continuum of care, scheduled to open in February 2021.

Ecumen | Oct 7th 2020

Ecumen Pathstone Latitude Independent Living - Exterior 2MANKATO, Minn., Oct. 7, 2020 — Ecumen Pathstone today announced the names for its new Independent Living and Memory Care offerings, as well as the opening of its new sales office downtown. Celebrating its location on the 44th Parallel North, the Independent Living community will be called Latitude. The Memory Care community has been named Landing.

“We’re so delighted to be adding this service to our community, offering residents a full continuum of care, and welcoming new residents in February,” said Jennifer Pfeffer, regional operations director for Ecumen. “Construction is well underway and we’ve begun to take reservations at our new storefront sales office. We’re excited to meet our potential residents in this new space.” Sales office visits are by appointment only, and can be made by calling (507) 381-3255 or visiting

The storefront sales office is located on 600 S. Riverfront Dr., Mankato, and also will house The Ecumen Store. The Ecumen Store’s hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday – Friday. “We wanted to have an off-campus place where we can safely invite our neighbors in to see floor plans, review artist renderings of the space, and ask questions,” Pfeffer said.

Ecumen Pathstone Latitude Independent Living - Interior

Latitude will feature Scandinavian-influenced architecture and furnishings, and the floor plans all named after other cities around the world that are on the 44th Parallel North. Other amenities in the community reflect that theme. The club room — Club 44 — includes a fireplace as well as pool and poker tables. Telescope Terrace overlooks the beautiful Minnesota River valley and bluffs. The Parallel fitness room, Cardinal Point learning center and Compass Corner activity room are among the many shared spaces for safe community and private gatherings. Ecumen Pathstone is near downtown, Sibley Park, and many trails.

“For some time, we’ve been asking what people in this community are looking for in terms of living spaces,” Pfeffer said. “What we’ve heard is that in addition to the location and amenities, people want to live in a welcoming community and in a place they trust — especially at this time. We’re so proud to have been part of this community for more than 80 years, and we look forward to serving even more people at Latitude.”

With the addition of Independent Living, the Pathstone community offers comprehensive care services, including Rehabilitation/Transitional Care, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Adult Day, Care Center, Home Care, and The Ecumen Store. Ecumen, one of the nation’s top nonprofit providers of housing and services for older adults, was founded in 1862 as a Lutheran social service agency and began serving the greater Mankato area in 1937 as the Mankato Lutheran Home.

Named one of six senior living providers to watch in 2020 by Senior Housing News and recipient of NRC Health Customer Approved Award, Ecumen’s mission is to continue serving more people in meaningful, innovative ways.  Ecumen develops living spaces, home and community-based services and workspaces that reflect its commitment to exceptional care, advocacy for those it serves and employs, equality and inclusivity.  Based in Shoreview, Minn., Ecumen operates nearly 100 properties and services in more than 40 communities in multiple states. Additionally, the company provides consulting services in management, marketing and development.

NRC Health Customer Approved award badge 2020

30 senior living organizations recognized for delivering ‘exceptional experiences’

30 senior living organizations recognized for delivering 'exceptional experiences'

Thirty senior living and care organizations have been recognized as winners in NRC Health’s second annual Employee Approved Awards and Customer Approved Awards, the healthcare consumer data and content company announced Tuesday. The awards, which were presented at the 26th Annual NRC Health Symposium, a virtual event this year, recognize organizations from across the country for “delivering exceptional customer and employee experiences.”

Customer Approved Awards were selected based on performance ratings from family and residents, and the awards also were based on net promoter scores, a measure of satisfaction, and a proxy measure for loyalty. Organizations with fewer than 10 eligible facilities were omitted from consideration. Systems were then rank-ordered, and the top 20 organizations were selected for each award category.

2020 Customer Approved winners

  1. National HealthCare Corp., Murfreesboro, TN
  2. American Medical Facilities Management, Charleston, WV
  3. Ascension Health, St. Louis
  4. Vetter Senior Living, Elkhorn, NE
  5. Lutheran SeniorLife, Mars, PA
  6. Schonberg Care, Metairie, LA
  7. Solaris Healthcare, Orlando, FL
  8. Berkshire Healthcare, Pittsfield, MA
  9. Americare Senior Living, Sikeston, MO
  10. Ecumen, Shoreview, MN
  11. American Senior Communities, Indianapolis, IN
  12. Diversicare Healthcare Services, Brentwood, TN
  13. HCR ManorCare Assisted Living Facility Division, Toledo, OH
  14. Twin Rivers Health & Rehabilitation, Cleveland, TN
  15. Covenant Health Systems, Tewksbury, MA
  16. Providence Health and Services, Renton, WA
  17. Lutheran Services Carolinas, Salisbury, NC
  18. Trinity Health Continuing Care, Livonia, MI
  19. Ethica, Gray, GA
  20. The Goodman Group, Chaska, MN

Ecumen Connection Station, senior housing, senior living

Ways To Keep Senior Residents Engaged, Connected During COVID-19

Ecumen Lakeshore gets creative to offer outdoor visits

Shelley Kendrick, president and CEO of Ecumen, shares some ideas (2:59). WCCO Mid-Morning – July 17, 2020