Parkinson’s changed my life; an unexpected journey in caregiving

Heidi Weinberg started her caregiving career in a rather untraditional and unexpected way. As a professional in public administration and non-profit work, she never expected to work with seniors until she switched careers to personal training a little over six years ago. Weinberg is originally from Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin,…

Award-winning Minnesota senior says volunteering saved her

When it came time for nominations for the 2018 Outstanding Senior Award, Judy Peterson of Grand Rapids was an obvious choice. Judy visits patients with Itasca Hospice; she oversees the receptionist volunteers at Itasca County Tax Aide, which assisted more than 1,000 clients during the 2017 season; she directs ElderCircle’s free grocery shopping and delivery…

Caring for a senior loved one is the most important opportunity you could have

Missy Jenner of Grand Rapids was inspired by her strong relationship with her grandparents to become a professional senior caregiver –  a career that would span more than 40 years. Missy remembers her grandmother’s perseverance and dedication to fighting cancer and becoming a great cook regardless of her circumstances. “My grandma had her right arm…

Lifelong educator Scott Rohr finds his passion in senior care

In the fall of 2015, Scott Rohr’s parents passed away 70 days apart – in the same room and the same bed. During the final stages of their lives, Scott saw something in the caregivers who provided critical support to his parents. He was moved by how every day they treated them with kindness and…

First in Minnesota: High school gerontology course changes perspectives on aging

About 18 months ago, Julie Mundahl, a family and consumer sciences (FACS) teacher at Buffalo High School, had a meeting with a group of local business leaders to discuss career development for her students. One of the topics was the rising demand for professional caregivers in Buffalo and across Minnesota. By 2025, one million Minnesotans…

Minnesota senior, nurse and family caregiver reflects on her career

Shoreview resident Judy Anderson has seen the world of senior care through various perspectives. As a professional nurse, she regularly cared for seniors during her 36-year career. As a daughter, she helped care for her mother during her last years until she passed at the age of 100. And now, at the age of 70,…

Why I started an Alzheimer’s support group – and never left

I became trained as an Alzheimer’s support group facilitator while I was still the caregiver for my late husband. For me to cope with the Alzheimer’s caregiving journey, I needed to educate myself, understand the disease and connect with others. Understanding the facts, potential issues and strategies kept me sane from the horrible emotion of…

Walker Methodist’s Tanya Welch is making her dream a reality

Tanya Welch learned about the value of senior care during the final years of her mother’s life. Tanya’s mother was stricken with Alzheimer’s and was moved to a senior care center when her caregiving needs expanded beyond what Tanya’s family could provide. Tanya would regularly visit her mother, continuing to find ways to make a…

Jenna Pogorels helps Alzheimer’s patients and their families face the challenge

Jenna Pogorels knows the fears and the countless questions families go through when a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia. Pogorels is the senior program manager for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Duluth office, which has been providing support to people with dementia since 1979. Pogorels and her colleagues deliver…

At 95, Minnesota artist proves “creative people do not retire”

One of the most influential Minnesota artists of the 20th century, Bettye Olson, has always known that art would be an essential part of her life. “I’m 95. I’ve been around and alert — and I’m still painting,” says Olson. “I never retired and never will retire either. Creative people do not retire.” Being a…

Preparing for the future: an accountant’s perspective on aging

When Ron Woltjer of Little Falls was in his 20s, he was a high school teacher. When he switched careers and became an accountant 32 years ago, he picked up 300 of his former students as clients. Now, the young kids who were once his students are grandparents. “I’ve aged, but my clients have aged…