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New program available to help seniors

A new and innovative program to help senior citizens remain in their own homes is being introduced in Carlton and South St. Louis counties, including the greater Duluth area. The program is called My Own Home and is made possible through a $25,000 grant from the Northland Foundation.

My Own Home is a membership-based "one-stop" program of service delivery. It is designed specifically to help members remain safely in their own homes. Its members pay an annual fee to access a wide array of flexible home and community-based services. Executive Director Jill Hatfield stated, "We have already received quite a bit of interest from adult children wanting to purchase memberships for their aging parents, in order to assure their parents have their chore, transportation and other household needs taken care of, which gives the children peace of mind and allows their parents to stay in their own home."

My Own Home adapts the urban Beacon Hill Project (Boston) model of "aging in place" service delivery to a rural setting. This program is available to persons 60-plus living in Carlton and South St. Louis Counties (including the greater Duluth area). The menu of services is dynamic and will be modified in response to member needs and preferences. Initial services offered include:

Preferred Provider's List - Screened businesses offering service discounts to members.

Transportation - Rides to medical appointments, personal business, shopping.

Chore Services - Includes lawn care, odd jobs, snow removal, cleaning, minor home maintenance.

Friendly Visitation/Tel-A-Care - Home visits or telephone calls to those in need of conversation and companionship.

Homemaker - Light housekeeping like vacuuming, laundry or sweeping.

Caregiver Respite: Group (social, non-medical model) or In-Home - Care recipients have an opportunity to socialize and engage in activities while providing the caregiver with a much needed break.

Member Resource Center - Includes educational, social and cultural programs, information and referral.

Forms Assistance - Assistance in completing forms, including applications for public insurance, prescription assistance, heating assistance and Community Care programs.

Member Volunteer Opportunities - Providing ways to stay connected with friends and neighbors.

Nobody likes to think of themselves as old. My Own Home changes the "I am not ready for assistance" to "I am ready to regain my power. I am ready to take charge of my life. I am ready to utilize valuable resources to make my life easier and more enjoyable. I am ready to live my life to the fullest!"

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call Deb Lindemood at Volunteer Services of Carlton County at 218-879-9238.