by Louise H. McGregor, staff writer
There was a presentation at the Deer River Golden Age Club on April 21 on the Joy of Aging that was arranged by the Committee on Aging.
Doing the presentation were Cindy Stapleton and Cindy Brummer, who are licensed social workers with the Home Visitor Program that serves Itasca County.
“This is a program that was originally organized in 1993 to help people with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues,” said Brummer. “It didn’t take us very long before we figured out that there were a lot of other problems that needed to be tackled….The program expanded and became a program that reached out to seniors, 60 and older, for any reason.”
Brummer and Stapleton, who are also both notaries, have been with this program since 1993 and work out of their homes.
“We do home visits,” said Brummer. “Anyone can contact us for even the small things, such as getting us to check on a neighbor or relative they are worried about.”
“And,” said Stapleton, “our services are always free. We can come to people’s homes or meet them somewhere else if that’s what they want to do.”
Some of the many things that Brummer and Stapleton can help seniors with include educating them on the community resources that are available, making an assessment of their overall well-being, strengthen their support network, provide supportive counseling, assist with paperwork and practical needs, find supportive options for individuals caring for a senior citizen, provide follow-up visits and provide education to groups in the community on the Home Visitor Program and the issues of aging.
Brummer listed some of the various ways that they have helped seniors. She said, “We’ve helped people get new septics, fuel assistance, new roofs and have helped some get medical assistance so they can pay for a homemaker and have accompanied individuals who are nervous about doing something for the first time, such as ride the AEOA bus.”
Brummer explained how the Home Visitor Program is funded. This is done in part by the Blandin Foundation, the United Way of 1000 Lakes, the MN Flex Fund and the Itasca Health Fund through Itasca County Health and Human Services, Grand Itasca Foundation, the Edgar and Hannah Hetteen Fund through the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation and the Bigfork Valley Hospital, Clinics and Communities.
“So,” she said, “we don’t have any restrictions on who we can or can’t visit.”
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