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SENIORS: Community Connections

Fall is in the air, leaves are turning, and many people are looking to settle back into routine. If your routine isn’t quite routine, or you’re looking for change, please consider offering some of your time as a volunteer. Volunteering has many faces, from delivering critical services to educating the public to visiting the elderly or reading with a child. Needs abound and we would be happy to help you find your niche.  Please check out the options below for some ideas.


“Be Aware, Know Medicare: Updates and Emerging Issues” — Do you have Medicare questions or concerns? The Carlton County Council on Aging is sponsoring this presentation, so bring your questions from 9-10:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 27, at Grace Church, 601 – 14th St., Cloquet. The guest speaker will be Loren Bergstedt, State Health Insurance & Assistance Program (SHIP) counselor. There is no age limit for those who want to attend. The information is for all to learn from and to share. We will be having our end of year potluck; please bring a dish to share.

A Matter of Balance — Have you fallen recently or do you have a fear of falling? Statistics show one-third to one-half of older adults acknowledge a fear of falls. In addition, the fear of falling is associated with depression, decreased mobility and social activity, increased frailty, and increased risk for falls as a result of deconditioning. We want to help you reduce or overcome that fear!  Volunteer Services of Carlton County will host this eight-week program geared toward keeping you independent, active, and reduce your fear of falling. Matter of Balance will meet Wednesdays from 1:30-3:30 p.m. for eight weeks, beginning Oct. 22, at Volunteer Services of Carlton County, 199 Chestnut Ave., Ste. 3, Carlton. Please note the change of date. Program cost is $10. A workbook is provided and refreshments will be served. Minimum class size is eight participants. To register or for more information, please call Cathy at 218-879-9238.

Volunteer opportunities through RSVP:

  • Book Sale, Assist with Donations, Special Programs: Cloquet Public Library needs volunteers to assist with these tasks. Some duties require computer and Internet skills.

  • Do you play piano, or do you enjoy sewing, playing games, or visiting? Assisted Livings currently need volunteers to fill several needs, such as those listed above. Time commitment and frequency is flexible: 30 minutes to an hour, every day or once a month.

  • Chore Services: Volunteers are needed to help with chores, homemaking, or able to do light maintenance around the home.

  • Reading to and/or playing with preschoolers: A local day care is seeking volunteers interested in reading stories to children and doing quiet activities. Lunch is provided.

  • Matter of Balance Coaches: Matter of Balance is a program that addresses factors affecting fear of falling and teaches fall prevention strategies. People interested in volunteering will receive eight hours of classroom learning and direct experience with strengthening exercises. The next training is Oct. 22.

  • Respite and Home Health Aides: Volunteers are needed who are willing to assist Mondays at DayBreak, a program which provides a break for caregivers of loved ones with memory issues. They’re also looking for certified home health aides and people willing to provide in-home respite.

  • Share lunch and your love of reading: The Cloquet Power Lunch Reading Program seeks volunteers to share the fun and joy of reading with first- and second-graders. The Power Lunch Reading Program begins mid-October and concludes in March. Volunteers meet with students one hour a week.

If interested in classes or in volunteering, please call Volunteer Services and ask for Cathy Niemi, RSVP Director, at 218-879-9238.

Writer Cathy Niemi is the director of the Aitkin-Carlton County Retired Senior Volunteer Program, operated through Volunteer Services of Carlton County, Inc.