As Itasca County ages, ElderCircle supports older adults and caregivers

PHOTO: (Back row, left) Robin Gangl, Nashwauk Area Community Fund, presents a check to Lisa Randle, ElderCircle for the Bone Builder Program in Nashwauk.

Dedicated to helping aging adults and care givers, ElderCircle received funding for Bone Builders, Lawn and Snow Removal Service and Respite Caregiver Support during the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation Annual Grant Cycle.

“ElderCircle quietly goes around our community touching and improving many lives,” says Sarah Copeland, Director of Grants and Programs at the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation. “They not only support older adults but the entire family with care and services that help families stay together in their home for as long as possible.”

Elder Circle Bone Builders helps maintain the independence of older adults

Bone Builders is a no-impact, non-aerobic fitness and exercise program designed for older adults to build physical strength, increase flexibility and improve balance, all of which help maintain active living and healthy independence, and provide socialization for older adults who may otherwise be isolated and lonely. Designed specifically for older adults, Bone Builders helps already active older adults maintain fitness and activity levels and prevent or delay the physical effects of aging. Less active adults who participate in Bone Builders can increase and/or regain their physical strength, balance and flexibility to remain independent in their own homes as long as possible.

PHOTO: Brianna Spry, Program Administrator at the Community Foundation (far right, back row) presents grants to ElderCircle for their Bone Builders program.

The June 2018 Itasca County Bone Builders participant survey results indicate that in addition to preventing/reversing osteoporosis, health benefits of Bone Builders include: improved balance (85% of respondents), increased physical strength (87%), improved flexibility (85%), and increased energy (78%). These survey results indicate that Bone Builders has a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of participants, which directly supports the mission of ElderCircle to maintain active living and healthy independence for older adults.

The success of Bone Builders is summed up in a few participant comments: “I’m able to live in my home because I’m physically stronger from Bone Builders.” “I’m able to reach the top shelf in my pantry again.” “I’m less afraid of falling because I feel stronger and more stable on my feet.” “My bowling game improved after only six weeks of Bone Builders!”

PHOTO: (Back row, left) Robin Gangl, Nashwauk Area Community Fund, presents a check to Lisa Randle, ElderCircle for the Bone Builder Program in Pengilly.

There is no cost for participants to attend due to funding from the Grand Rapids Area Community Fund, Nashwauk Area Community Fund, other local grants and private donations.

Bone Builders is unique because the sessions are held throughout Itasca County, bringing fitness, exercise and socialization to residents in immediate outlying communities. Currently, Bone Builders is offered at 15 locations:

Rural Bigfork at Old Scenic Community Church (since 2009); Bowstring Town Hall (since 2009); Deer River at Bethany Lutheran Church (since 2015); Dora Lake at Kinghurst Town Hall (since 2015); Grand Rapids--Majestic Pines (since 2016) and two groups at Zion Lutheran (since 2009 and 2018); Hill City at Trinity Lutheran Church (since 2018); Jacobson Community Center (since 2018); KOOTASCA Senior Center in Northome (since 2010); Lawrence Lake at Lawron Presbyterian Church (since 2009); Nashwauk City Hall (since 2009); Pengilly Boost Club (since 2009); Togo at Carpenter Town Hall (since 2017); and Wabana Town Hall.

The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation awarded $4,500 from multiple funds through the Annual Grant Cycle.

Three Bone Builder sites—Lawron, Nashwauk and Pengilly, are in the Nashwauk Community Fund area, where 64 participants attended (22% of Itasca county participants). The Nashwauk Area Community Fund awarded $1,000 to Bone Builders.

ElderCircle supports lawn care and snow removal

Lawn maintenance and snow removal is a part of home ownership, but for some aging individuals, this becomes physically impossible. Further, the ability to pay someone to provide these services, can mean the difference between remaining in their own home and moving to a place with lower maintenance needs.

Many aging individuals can mow their lawn and complete snow removal. However, there are just as many who cannot. Unplowed driveways make it impossible to deliver meals or emergency services. These issues can also reduce the ability to remain at home due to current medical conditions, blight issues, increased fall risks and other medical situations. Many aging individuals cannot afford the cost of paying someone to mow their lawn or plow their driveway. ElderCircle recognizes the importance of remaining in your own home. To learn more, call ElderCircle at (218) 999-9233.

A total of $2,500 was awarded to ElderCircle; ($2,000) from the Edgar and Hannah Hetteen Fund and ($500) from the TJ Maroney/Barzen Donor Advised Fund during the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation Annual Grant Cycle.

Caregivers find respite support through ElderCircle

PHOTO: (Back row, left) Lisa Randall of ElderCircle accepts a grant to provide needed respite for families dealing with Alzheimer’s from Cathy Sayward of the Community Foundation, along with others from ElderCircle’s Day Stay program.

The Respite Caregiver support program has trained staff to care for loved ones who cannot be left alone while providing respite services for families dealing with Alzheimer’s. Respite enables a family member valuable time away from the demands of caregiving, which allows time to focus on their needs and achieve a healthy life balance. Respite care can take place in the care receiver's/caregiver's home or ElderCircle's Adult Day Stay.

A “caregiver” is an unpaid individual who is assisting someone with the activities of daily living and/or medical tasks. Usually the caregiver is a family member who lives in the home with the care receiver and performs more than 90% of the needs/tasks for them and household duties.

In the year 2020, it is estimated that there will be 1,450 adults over age 85 who need some sort of assistance/care to remain in their home in Itasca County. By 2030, it is estimated that approximately 35% of Itasca County population with be age 65+. Itasca County is the second fastest growing county for this age group in the state of Minnesota.

ElderCircle received $3,992 from the Alzheimer’s Family Support Fund through the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation Annual Grant Cycle.

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350 NW 1st Ave, Suite E  | Grand Rapids, MN 55744  |  218-999-9100

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