The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation is all about community. Sarah Copeland, Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation Director of Grants and Programs notes the significance of this simple statement. “Community is part of our name. Community foundations are unique. There is a saying that ‘if you’ve seen one community foundation, you’ve seen one community foundation’, and it’s true. Your community foundation is specifically tailored to your community.” Copeland continues, “Together with individuals, families, organizations and businesses, we support both the needs and activities that help our area thrive in the Greater Itasca Area. We join charitable intentions with community needs.”
Many of these community needs include our more vulnerable citizens, both young and old. In the case of our older friends and neighbors, our local area is incredibly fortunate to be served by ElderCircle. Through their endowment at the Community Foundation called the ElderCircle Fund they work to ensure a bright future for older residents as the needs of our “seniors” change over time.
ElderCircle provides many services empowering older adults to remain independent longer by providing services and linking them, their families and caregivers to services. “Many people know ElderCircle by just one or two of our programs, because they participate, such as going to their local Bone Builders class. But we have numerous programs to support and sustain the health, well-being, and independence of older adults and the people who care for and about them,” says Renee Bymark, ElderCircle Executive Director.
Adult Day Stay promotes healthy aging with the focus to improve and enhance overall wellness. Through a supportive service system, this program assists people experiencing isolation due to physical and social demands. Participants have a choice of activities, exercise and social interaction, which helps maintain physical and emotional health and makes it possible to remain living in their home and their community.
In Home Care Service is a licensed service that provides an individualized assistance plan to help maintain and support healthy independent aging in the home and community. Aging individuals receive assistance in their home from trained staff with a daily personal plan, which can include, laundry and cleaning, home management (phone calls, organizing, reading mail, arranging appointments), and socialization.
Assisted Transportation volunteer drivers provide transportation to/from medical appointments anywhere in Minnesota for individuals age 60 and older.
Supporting Family Caregivers – Caregiving Consulting offers family caregivers a personalized service that equips them with knowledge, skills and tools to achieve a balanced lifestyle, while caring for a loved one. The goal is to promote resilience and empower the caregiver.
Grocery Shopping & Delivery is a weekly service that offers grocery shopping and delivery for anyone (no age or income guidelines) so adults can remain living independently in their homes. Grocery shopping and delivery service is offered in Bigfork, Grand Rapids, Deer River and Nashwauk areas.
Lawn & Snow Removal provides assistance for lawn mowing and snow removal for persons age 60 and over who qualify within income guidelines.
HandyHands is a program where volunteers provide minor home repairs, maintenance projects and safety checks for individuals age 55 and older. Volunteers offer their labor at no cost, and clients pay only for materials.
ElderCircle support groups
Groups meet at the YMCA Campus in the Active Living Center Classroom
Caregiver Support Group is for Caregivers of an ailing parent, child, spouse, or other individuals of any age. At times, caregivers can feel overwhelmed and alone. This new support group meets the first Tuesday of the month from 1-2:30 pm.
Parkinson’s Support Group is for anyone who has Parkinson’s or a similar movement disorder and his or her caregivers. People join together to hear speakers and discuss issues or concerns. This support group meets every second Wednesday of the month from 1 to 2 pm.
Memory Loss Support Group is for Caregivers to meet and support each other with memory loss issues. Partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association, participants learn communication techniques, offer resources and support for all aspects of caring for someone with memory loss issues. The Memory Loss Support group meets the second Tuesday of the month from 1 to 2 pm.
Health & Wellness
Fitness and education for active living offered throughout Itasca County.
Bone Builders classes empower you to prevent or reverse osteoporosis. Guided by trained volunteers age 55 and older, these stretching and weight training exercises can improve balance and mobility, and revitalize your energy.
Matter of Balance classes are designed to manage falls, increase activity levels, strength and balance.
Tai Ji Quan is a fall prevention program that uses the principles and movements of Tai Ji in helping older adults improve their balance and increase their confidence in doing every day activities.
Living Well with Chronic Conditions helps participants and their caregivers with ongoing health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, COPD, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, anxiety, heart disease and others.
Living Well with Diabetes helps participants with Type 2 diabetes develop strategies to improve well-being and practical daily techniques to manage symptoms. You will learn techniques to deal with symptoms. This class runs six weeks for two and a half hours, once a week.
Living Well with Chronic Pain addresses the management of pain for those with a chronic illness. Topics include techniques to deal with frustration, fatigue, isolation and poor sleep. Also, how to communicate effectively with family, friends and health professionals.
Guardianship coordinates and assists volunteers whom act as delegate guardian for individuals who are unable to make informed decisions on their own.
Volunteer Engagement connects community members of all ages with meaningful volunteer opportunities at nonprofits in Itasca that best suit your schedule. You'll experience the positive health benefits of volunteering while giving back to the community.
Volunteer Service of Itasca County & Koochiching Counties connects adults age 55 and older with meaningful volunteer opportunities in Itasca and Koochiching Counties that best suit the volunteer’s skills and preferences and the needs of local nonprofits.
Warm Fuzzies puts volunteers creative skills to work through knitting, crocheting or sewing items that are offered to local families and community members in need.
The Community Foundation accepts donations and gifts of all types to support the ElderCircle endowment. Supporting the ElderCircle Fund helps the existence of ElderCircle and its programs for years to come. Visit our website at www.gracf.org for more information, and to see videos of the Nashwauk Bone Builders, or call the Community Foundation at (218) 999-9100 to speak to Chris Fulton about Leaving a Legacy to ElderCircle.