Grants Awarded through MN Department of Human Services
The Minnesota Department of Human Services announced the grant
recipients for the Live Well at Home Program. These grants will help
older adults maintain their health, independence and community
involvement. The Live Well at Home grants total $6.4 million and
will go to 45 organizations across the state. The Dancing Sky Area
Agency on Aging, which serves 21 counties in northwest and west
central Minnesota will be providing technical assistance to the grant recipients in those designated counties.
“By 2020, Minnesotans over age 65 will outnumber schoolchildren for the first time ever, these grants will help this growing population of older Minnesotans stay in their homes as long as possible. That’s what most people prefer,” stated Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead.
Grant recipients in the Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging area include:
Habitat for Humanity, Douglas County, $192,269 to help very-low-income patients by making safety modifications to their homes after they receive medical care.
Argyle Living at Home Block Nurse Program, $100,000 to maintain and expand volunteer services for older adults and its role as the primary in-home services resource in the Argyle area.
Hubbard County Developmental Achievement Center, $67,331 to increase access to the programs and caregivers at Headwaters Adult Day Services by offering a scholarship program, providing lower cost transportation and hosting caregiver support meetings.
Mahube-Otwa Community Action Partnership, $425,667 to restore and expand its homemaking and chore program for Mahnomen, Hubbard, Becker, Otter Tail and Wadena counties.
Northwest Community Action, Badger, $258,800 to provide respite for caregivers and home modification services for adults 65 and older and volunteer management in Roseau, Kittson, Lake of the Woods and Marshall counties.
Northwoods Caregivers, Red Lake Nation and Lake of the Woods, Cass, Hubbard, Beltrami, Koochiching and Clearwater counties, $347,715 for community-based services that will benefit the aging rural population, particularly people who are Native American, homeless, mentally ill and/or LGBTQ.
Partners, Rothsay, $60,000 to sustain services in Rothsay, Carlisle and Foxhome and expand health promotion, service coordination and transportation.
Pelican Rapids OAKS Living at Home Network, $78,795 to strengthen caregiver and companion services and relationships with a diverse older population and to expand services in rural Pelican Rapids.
Tri-Community Living at Home Block Nurse Program, Newfolden, $99,997 to provide home and community-based services to older adults and caregivers.
The Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging is a program of the Northwest Regional Development Commission and serves the counties of Becker, Beltrami, Clay, Clearwater, Douglas, Grant, Hubbard, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk, Pope, Red Lake, Roseau, Stevens, Traverse and Wilkin.
The MN Dep't. of Human Services full article can be read here.
Connect Seniors to
Takes Flight in Perham
Otter Tail County Human Services employees,
Perham Health staff, the Dancing Sky Area
Agency on Aging and community members
looked at the challenges the community
faces with elder care. With a Silos To Circles
grant, these stakeholders launched
Blue Cross and Blue Shield is recognizing this collaboration with a Trailblazer Award -
bringing leaders together to promote an integrated approach to health care delivery.
Cheryl Wiskow and Michelle Fischer, OTC, Long Term Care Social Workers are part of the
steering team for the Silos to Circles program in our area.
Dancing Sky AAA Continues to Increase
As the DSAAA continues to work at increasing dementia awareness, the
need was identified for a more comprehensive approach to community
education and awareness. The agency developed “EMS Responds: A
Patient-Centered Approach to Emergency Care of Dementia Patients.”
This program partners with rural EMS and First Responder programs
to provide education to increase their knowledge and understanding
of dementia. The program allows EMS personnel to experience the
Virtual Dementia Tour®, spend time learning about dementia and
how to see beyond it and focus on the uniqueness of these patients.
As part of the goal to increase dementia awareness, the Dementia Friends
Initiative continues to provide participants knowledge on the disease and how
individuals and communities can help those with the disease. Because all
family members are affected by a diagnosis of dementia, “Grandpa and Lucy”,
has been incorporated into the Dementia Friends Initiative. Written by a
ninth grader in St. Paul, the book helps youth learn about dementia.
A high school version of Dementia Friends has also been created to
reach a younger generation.
During the past year, 993 people became Dementia Friends.
2018 Medicare Open Enrollment
The Senior LinkAge Line® experienced an Open Enrollment
for Medicare this year that surpassed any previous years’
service to beneficiaries. Preparing for the Cost Plan changes,
the Dancing Sky AAA educated 3,907 people through:
Medicare 101 classes, Cost Plan presentations, educational
newsletters and a quick reference for Medicare.gov.
Additional staff assisted with the exceptionally high
volume of beneficiaries needing insurance plan
comparisons, SLL phone hours were extended as well.
In 2018, the SLL assisted beneficiaries with 1,630 phone consultations
and 1,338 were provided in person assistance.
Return to Community Partners with
Medication Therapy Management
Medication Therapy Management is an initiative, in which the Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging, Consultant Pharmacies Inc. and the Minnesota Board on Aging have joined forces providing medication regimen reviews to people following a nursing home stay. Our Community Living Specialists (CLS) provide medication lists, history/physical and labs to the pharmacy consultants through secure software. Pharmacy consultants then provide recommendations, which the CLS deliver, with an explanation, to the consumer. A copy of the recommendations are also provided to their doctor.
The impact of this program has been far reaching and pharmacists presented this initiative at the National Conference of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. An evidence-based study in partnership with NDSU is another result of this initiative.
In 2018, CLS utilized Medication Therapy for 244 people.
In 2018 the Dancing Sky Area
Agency on Aging formed a
partnership with Juniper
Juniper is a statewide program with a network of community
organizations, local leaders and health systems. Providing a
central resource, www.yourjuniper.org, guides seniors to
evidence-based programs to help them manage chronic health
conditions, prevent falls and foster well-being. Juniper is helping
communities across Minnesota succeed in understanding the
senior population and giving individuals the tools they need to
take control of their own health.
Governor Mark Dayton Proclaims Thursday,
August 30 as Senior LinkAge Line Day in Minnesota
The coming year marks the 25th anniversary of the Minnesota Board on Aging’s Senior LinkAge
Line which is a free service that has helped thousands of older Minnesotans and their families
find information, services and support.
Minnesotans are never too old to actively contribute to their communities and to our state as
engaged, informed citizens, further enhancing our society.
Our society benefits when older Minnesotans age and live well in their communities.
The Senior LinkAge Line has increased seniors' access to state agencies, volunteer opportunities
and employment opportunities and have offered information to people of all ages who want to
know more to "own their future" by doing long-term care planning.
The Minnesota Board on Aging continues to lead the nation in the fields of aging policy,
advocacy and assistance to help older Minnesotans with their goals to age well and live well.
The Return to Community Initiative is
Set to Expand in 2018
The Senior LinkAge® Line’s (SLL) Return to Community (RTC) Initiative, a program of the Department of Human Services and the Minnesota Board on Aging, has been helping coordinate services for 4000 older adults in Minnesota and assisting them to return home after nursing home stays since 2010. We are excited to announce that this initiative will be expanding to focus on five additional groups beginning in January!
The current RTC model focuses on individuals who are in a nursing home, are able to return home and are at-risk of spending down to Medical Assistance. In 2016, the Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging assisted in discharging 163 older adults to their homes after nursing home stays. The Area Agencies on Aging across the state are working together to expand this program! The new RTC model will include older adults who are: discharging from hospitals and meet specific criteria, choosing not to move to assisted living after SLL Options Counseling, have reached the end of their Medicare Certified Homecare or have been admitted
to a nursing home on respite care.
The RTC Initiative is implemented by our Community Living Specialists (CLS) who work with each consumer to develop a comprehensive support plan that includes available home and community supports and services. The Specialists also review the consumer’s finances and medications. This identifies potential cost-saving programs and provides valuable information on drug plan comparisons and coverage. One unique feature to this evidenced-based approach is the intense follow-up once a consumer is home.
We are excited to announce caregiver needs were identified to be a priority within the expanded model. CLS will be able to develop a caregiver support plan. This will connect interested family caregivers with a Caregiver Consultant who can provide 1:1 support and education on available resources!
Minnesota is now the Land of 10,000 Dementia Friends
Minnesota is more than the Land of 10,000 Lakes; it’s also the Land of 10,000 Dementia Friends! A year ago, ACT on Alzheimer’s set a goal to have 10,000 people become Dementia Friends by participating in information sessions and then turning what they learned into action in their communities.
The goal became reality when Kate Storhaug, program developer at the Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging and a Dementia Friends Champion, hosted a January 9 session with 34 participants from the Otter Tail Service Providers networking group in Fergus Falls.
Kate has delivered Dementia Friends Information Sessions to over 300 people, including care providers, faith community members, county and city workers, hospital staff, police officers, and community members. Her efforts along with other Champions across the state made the 10,000 mark possible.
“It has become my passion,” said Kate. “Almost everyone has been impacted by dementia or knows someone who has, and yet most people still don’t know much about the disease. We can show them that people with dementia are people, too, and eliminate the fear factor.”
Patricia Samuelson, manager at Patriot Assisted Living in Fergus Falls, MN, was a participant at one of Kate’s sessions. She found so much value in what she learned that she has asked Kate to offer an information session at her facility. “The need to have compassionate and educated care providers is very important in this industry and I’m a huge advocate for giving people the tools, knowledge and skills to care for people with dementia,” Patricia said.
Join the Dementia Friends movement! If you are interested in attending a session or becoming a Champion, visit www.actonalz.org/dementia-friend for more information.
Senior LinkAge Line - 2017 Highlights
In 2017, our vision to provide assistance to older adults and their caregivers
by assisting them with long-term care options counseling was successful!
Through Medicare and Health Insurance education as well as providing
support through the transitions of care, staff have reached more than 12,616
seniors and caregivers. The SLL has expanded its programs and services
in our region to diverse communities and increased our numbers of
This past year, the SLL programs and services served a total of 27,336 sessions,
which was the result of 19,419 phone calls and in-person interactions.
During open enrollment, Phone Specialists, County Coordinators and Volunteers
compared costs which resulted in $881,892 in savings!
Pre-Admission Screening Specialists processed 5,566 screenings for nursing home
admissions and provided follow up calls to 398 people upon returning home from
a short-term nursing home stay.
Community Living Specialists in our Return to Community program discharged
164 older adults to their homes with a support plan and a five year follow-up. The
savings impact of older adults returning home from a nursing home stay is, on
average, $5166.00 per person per month.
Also, we are excited to announce that we received additional funding to expand
our Return to Community program to 5 new populations scheduled to be
implemented throughout 2018!
Healthy Living As You Age
Dementia Friends is a global movement that is changing the way people think,
act and talk about dementia!
Developed by the Alzheimer’s Society, the goal of the Dementia Friends sessions
is to help community members understand dementia and learn small things
they can do to make a difference for people living with dementia.
Our Development staff were trained to facilitate Dementia Friends sessions
in March and since then have provided 26 sessions in 16 communities,
resulting in 453 people becoming Dementia Friends!
Another tool used to spread awareness and help create dementia-friendly
communities is the Virtual Dementia Tour.
This groundbreaking, evidence-based method, uses sensory tools and
instruction to simulate the effects of dementia so people can personally
experience the physical and cognitive challenges.
Service organizations such as Police and Fire Departments, EMS,
Social Services, faith-based communities and communities at-large
have all benefited from this experience.
Our Development staff have also become trained to lead these tours
and this past year agencies such as Polk County Social Service,
Lake of the Woods Providers, the NWRDC and even MN Rep.
Deb Kiel participated in Virtual Dementia Tours!
2017 - By The Numbers
In 2017, the DSAAA supported over 34,913 older adults wanting to continue to live at home in their community and the caregivers that support them.
This was accomplished across their 21 county service area of: Kittson, Roseau, Marshall, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, Norman, Lake of the Woods, Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard,Mahnomen, Clay, Becker, Wilkin, Otter Tail, Traverse, Grant, Douglas, Stevens and Pope Counties.
Knowing your Options is Important for
Planning a Successful Return Home
Written by Karin Haugrud
After a two-and-a-half- month stint in a Detroit Lakes
nursing home following hip surgery and rehab, Annetta
Haley was happy to return to her home on Rose Lake in
rural Frazee, MN. Discharging a few days before the
Memorial Day holiday in 2010, the thing she looked forward
to most was spending the time on the patio. She credits a
service provided by the Senior LinkAge Line®, which helps
older Minnesotans transition out of the nursing home, as
the reason she returned home successfully.
Haley was one of the first nursing home residents served
in the Return to Community initiative. She is the longest
consumer the program as followed to date.
Haley was no stranger to calling the Senior LinkAge Line®, which is sponsored by the Minnesota Board on Aging. In the fall of 2010 she called to report a telephone scam. She had no idea at that time that the service would assist her in returning home from the nursing home.
The Return to Community service is a partnership between the Minnesota Board on Aging, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, nursing facilities and the Area Agencies on Aging. This initiative started in 2010 to help Minnesotans in nursing homes return home has just hit the milestone of assisting 2,000 people.
The Return to Community service focuses on nursing home residents who have been in a nursing facility for at least 45 days and meet a set of health and functional criteria. Studies show the longer a person stays in the nursing home, the less likely they are to return to the community and the more likely they are to spend down their resources. A 90- to 180-day window after admission is the ideal time period to identify residents for community transition. Identifying people earlier in the hospital who transition to a nursing home enables people to make better decisions about their long-term care needs and using their savings and income more effectively. The Return to Community service helps people entering a nursing home become aware of their choices and live in the community if that is the consumer’s choice and they want help to leave. In that way,
it helps to delay older Minnesotans from going on public assistance when their resources are spent down for nursing homes. That means savings to Minnesota’s state budget.
Nancy Sandahl-Finstrom, a registered nurse and a Senior LinkAge Line® Community Living Specialist with the Dancing Sky Agency on Aging helped Haley to return home. With 35 years of nursing experience, she helped set up services to ensure Haley would be successful in the community once she returned home. Those services included home health nursing services, a personal response system and a TTY Text Telephone. Haley, who lives with her daughter and son in law, didn’t feel she needed home delivered - meals as her family assists with that.
While her daughter helps her with laundry, cooking and transportation needs, Haley lives fairly independently. She gets around her home with the use of a walker with a built-in seat. A blood pressure machine allows her to check her blood pressure weekly without having to go to the clinic and she has set up auto payments for paying her bills.
At the age of 82, a typical day for Haley consists of reading, watching TV, playing Solitaire on her Ipad, going on Facebook, sitting on the patio and going on pontoon rides on Rose Lake. She also enjoys traveling and recently returned from visiting her son in Orlando, Fl.
Haley says she appreciates the quarterly follow up check in calls she receives from the Return to Community program. “Return to community is a great service that helps a consumer live at home,” said Sandahl of the service. “Plus the follow-up calls and visits for five years are helpful in keeping the senior aware of services that they may need now or in the future.”
For more information on helping someone move out of a nursing home to a home in the community, call the Senior LinkAge Line® at (800) 333-2433 or go to MinnesotaHelp.info™, an online directory of human services in Minnesota.