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Age well in rural Minnesota with age-friendly opportunities. Compass has been working on stories about programs designed to help people age with dignity in southwest Minnesota. Funding for this series is provided by the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging. 

Pioneer PBS

A recap of a caregiver event and resources for rural caregivers

Pioneer PBS recently hosted Care for Caregivers, an event aimed at providing conversation and resources for rural caregivers. The event was hosted in partnership with the Southwest Initiative Foundation, the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging, End in Mind, Do No Harm Media, The Remember Project, Granite Falls Living at Home Block Nurse Program and Prairie Five Community Action Council. To all the family members out there who have made the decision to become the primary caregiver for a family member or friend, thank you for all you do and please remember to take care of yourselves, as well. There are resources available to help you and your loved ones:

Aging with dignity: laundry service

Learn about a special collaboration between the City of Adrian, Rock County Opportunities and Essential Senior Services to help people of all ages and abilities get their laundry done.

Aging with dignity: respite care

What is respite care and who benefits from it? In this personal story, Kurt Hoehne talks about how his family have benefitted from respite care services at Home Front First in Montevideo.

Central Community Transit

Many rural counties have community transit options that are vital supplements to rural transportation networks. One of them is the Central Community Transit. Take a trip with Senior Volunteer Drivers Bob and Lila Rekedal to see what it's like to drive for Central Community Transit. Visit or call 320-214-7433 to learn more.

Aging with dignity: caregiving

Dean and Deanna Hoffman have been married since 1957 and Deanna has been a caregiver for Dean since 1983. Hear their personal story and learn about the caregiver support services offered by Wellspring Faith in Action in St. James. 

Aging with dignity: Milan pergola

Milan, MN recently received funds from the Age-Friendly Community Building Project grant from Southwest Initiative Foundation to build a pergola so people of all ages can sit down and get to know one another.

Aging with dignity: Rebuilding Together Minnesota

Repairing homes, revitalizing communities, rebuilding lives. To help people age safely in their homes, Rebuilding Together Minnesota offers home modification assistance. Judy Mutts from Windom, Minnesota recently had her shower grab bar updated from temporary, unsafe suction handles to permanent, sturdy grab bars.

Aging with dignity: working caregivers

Theresa and Michelle Gehrke Herwynen have been married for 24 years and Theresa has been Michelle's caregiver for the past five. A report by the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers highlighted what they call “invisible overtime,” the often unseen work of family caregivers.

Offerings at Sanford Health Bemidji — where Theresa works— programs like Adult Day Services and organizations like the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers all exist to help better support working caregivers.

Aging with dignity: multigenerational workforces

At the beginning of COVID-19, Joan Cushman was hired to be the resident care attendant at Brookside Senior Living in Montevideo. Cushman, who is 80, is able to connect with Brookside residents, the average age of them is 87, on a different level than the younger staff. And now, there are five generations in the workforce, something that has never happened before. AARP has found that workplaces that have a multigenerational workforce are more productive, more efficient and have less turnover.

Aging with dignity: health care employee recruitment

In December 2020, nursing & residential care facilities had almost 106,000 staff. In 2021, this area lost almost 6,000 staff down to just over 99,500. MN is projected to add nearly 60,000 new health care jobs in the next decade

Learn how Harmony River and Presbyterian Homes & Services are recruiting creatively.