The Stars Among Us campaign is an initiative of Aging Services of Minnesota. Our goal is to recognize and celebrate the individual caregivers and aging services professionals who dedicate their lives and careers to serving older adults. They are the backbone of our senior care system. Their stories don’t often make headlines, but they are changing lives every day.

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Today, we’re shining a light on Katie Kopher, Assisted Living Program Coordinator at Jones-Harrison in Minneapolis:

What inspires you to serve older adults? Is there a mentor or fellow caregiver who motivates or helps you? What keeps you going on tough days?
The stories I’ve have heard, the lessons I’ve learned, the tears I’ve shared and the happiness brought to my heart to know such a wonderful generation! I wake up every morning excited to go to what some may call work, I call an energizing community. I can thank my mother for being an Activities Director at a nursing home when I was born. She continues to work in therapeutic recreation.

My mom taught me that it isn’t about “me”. I plan to pass the same passion and spirit on to my daughter as my mother did with me. It’s being supportive and having compassion no matter who you work with. There are tough days. I keep a picture of my papa on my desk and when it is tough I look at it and say “What next papa?” I then remember that there is a reason for life’s events and to keep painting the fence or the paint will dry!


What does a career serving older adults mean to you? What is the most meaningful or rewarding part of your job? The most challenging part?
I learn something new every day. It is about finding a way to reach the person who no longer comes out of their room because the sun came up that day. To talk to family and friends to get stories and odd information that may mean nothing to someone else. I strive to make the quality of life for each individual fulfilling for residents and their family.

The biggest reward is that I get to be a part of someone’s memories, stories…life. I love when they smile and the not so happy person says “Thank you.” The most challenging part is to try to be there for everyone all at the same time.

What do you advocate for? What do you want public policy makers to know about the work you do?
I am a big advocate that people cannot be stressed and relaxed at the same time. It just isn’t possible. That is why my co-worker and I work in getting as many folks involved in our senior community as possible. Trying new activities at 100 is better than not trying it at all. I want policy makers to know that people in Therapeutic Recreation are here and here to stay. Baby boomers are coming and they will need places to go and MANY activities to do. I value my job. I wish that we had a little more money for the hard work we do. Policy makers need to remember that it is us that will be organizing their leisure pursuits in the future.

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Thank you, Katie, for all you do. You are a great example of the dedicated, talented people who serve Minnesota seniors each day.

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