Go for a morning stroll around Lake Camelot in Plymouth, MN, and you just might bump into Ann Jasperson snapping pictures of the local flora and fauna. “It’s been wonderful to live so close to a habitat that includes swans, turtles, muskrats, deer, geese, ducks, turkeys, Great Blue Herons, and Sandhill Cranes,” the Trillium Woods resident says. “The local Trumpeter Swans are unusual in that they allow people to get fairly close to them, sometimes within 6 to 10 feet. I love to watch them each year as they raise their cygnets.”
Jasperson isn’t alone in her enthusiasm for Trillium Woods’ proximity to nature. “I routinely meet at least a few of my neighbors when I walk to the lake,” she explains. “It’s a great place for birding, wildlife photography, or getting some exercise in beautiful surroundings.”
Jasperson is proud to be a founding member of the premiere life plan community, having moved in on the third day it was open. “When my husband Steve was diagnosed with a serious illness, we looked for a place where we could be together while he received the support he needed,” she says. “Trillium Woods was the right decision for us. I lived in independent living while he became the first resident in the Birches Health Center. It was definitely beneficial for both of us to have each other so close by.
We were able to spend time in our apartment and we were also able to travel together to his family’s cranberry marsh in Wisconsin before he passed away. The cranberry marsh has been in his family for five generations. His brother, my brother-in-law, also lived in the Birches.”
Jasperson now leads an incredibly popular annual trip for her neighbors to the 150-year-old Whittlesey Cranberry Company to watch the harvest and tour the Ocean Spray Receiving Station nearby.
The Jaspersons met while they were both students at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. After marriage, Ann taught physical education and coached field hockey, basketball and tennis, while Steve became a physics professor. “He loved learning, and teaching was his passion,” she says. “That never stopped. Even when his eyesight made it difficult for him to read, people read articles to him from his favorite science magazines, Discover and Sky & Telescope. At the end of every session, he would always ask the reader, “Did you learn something new?”
A year after Steve’s passing, Ann commissioned two of her neighbors in the Woodshapers Group at Trillium Woods to create a book cart in his memory. The Birches Activities Coordinator designed it specifically to be easily accessible for people in wheelchairs. “It’s built in such a way that you can see everything on the cart when it’s brought to your room.”
In many ways, this cart is highly symbolic of life at Trillium Woods. The beautiful end-result represents the care neighbors have for one another and how open and welcoming residents are. The thoughtful design highlights how alert and responsive the community’s team members are to residents’ specific needs. And the cart’s mix of interesting books, magazines, and puzzles highlights Trillium Woods’ commitment to lifelong learning, growth, and wellness.
“After my husband passed away, I wondered if I should move back to my townhome,” says Jasperson. “But the amazing care and hospitality residents received during the pandemic made me incredibly glad that I stayed. The community’s team members made the holidays so special for us during that tough time.”
When Jasperson isn’t taking pictures of her favorite Trumpeter Swans at Lake Camelot, she’s busy filling up her schedule with all sorts of classes and events. “Trillium Woods offers an unbelievable variety of activities … excursions to many sites in the Twin Cities, as well as auditorium programs presented by excellent speakers and musicians,” she says.
“I exercise regularly in the Fitness Center and play ping-pong and pickleball. I serve on two Resident Committees and volunteer in the Birches Health Center. I attend as many programs in the auditorium as I have time for, and especially enjoy opportunities for discussion, like the Great Decisions series and the Wellbeing Series from the University of Minnesota’s Earl E. Bakken Center. For me, a prime benefit of living at Trillium Woods is interacting with the fascinating residents who live here, sharing our stories with each other, and developing new friendships.”