Aging while caring for aging loved ones

Ruth Kivela, a resident of Virginia, Minnesota, began to experience the aging journey when she married her late husband in 2004. Ruth was 59 and her husband was 64. Her husband was a disabled veteran of the Air Force and didn’t let health problems get him down. “A wonderful, wonderful man who always had a…

Local nurse advocates for elder Minnesotans

When Mollie Fragnito began nursing school at St. Catherine University in her thirties, she thought she would be the oldest person in her class. She was wrong. “I sat next to a lady who was 65,” says Mollie. “She had just retired and was going to become a nurse so she could take care of…

Providing solutions for senior care in rural Minnesota

“Serving the senior population has been a passion of mine for years,” says Julia Conroy, owner of Julia’s Place in Hancock, Minnesota, a small town an hour southwest of Alexandria. Julia’s Place offers adult day services for the elderly, including adult foster care and transportation services. Julia was inspired to start her own adult day…

Long-term care experience helps guide family through aging journey

Laura Salonek’s 90-year-old grandmother was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. She received radiation to shrink the masses in her lungs, but she cannot talk without coughing, and her eight children are needing to find services to help support her care. “I am thankful for my experience and the knowledge I’ve gained from working in long-term…

Working in long-term care means having a lasting impact

“Seniors are our wisdom keepers,” says Mary Nell Zellner, a senior health care consultant based in St. Paul, Minnesota. “They are our legacy.” Mary Nell says that of all the states she has been blessed to work, she feels Minnesota has a value system that prioritizes our people. “We are here to help elders in…

It takes a strong village to care for our seniors

“My parents are snowbirds and go to Arizona every winter,” says professional and family caregiver Deb Trygstad. Deb lives in Erhard, Minnesota, a small town about 40 minutes south of Detroit Lakes and a 2016 population of 150 people. In preparation to come home from Arizona, Deb’s mother fell and broke her hip and shoulder.…

Keeping family close through the aging journey

Bobbi Peterson and her mom, Joan, are walking through the aging journey together. Joan receives care at the Country Meadows of Milaca in a town of about 3,000 people in north central Minnesota. “She’s in assisted living and needs help with her medications,” says Bobbi. Bobbi emphasizes that it’s important for families and communities to…

25 years caring for residents with passion and love

Sevelle Kamara says her kids remark that she’s always smiling when she comes home from work. “I tell them, ‘When you do what I do, you understand how it is,’” says Sevelle. “I love what I do.” Having worked as a trained medical assistant (TMA) at Good Samaritan Society-Special Care Community in Robbinsdale for over…

My dad’s aging journey taught me how to love selflessly

“I became a better person in caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s,” says Cindy Lou Ferris, a family caregiver for her father, who passed away from Alzheimer’s. The most rewarding part of the aging journey with her father was being able to give back. “I learned how to selflessly love,” says Cindy. “In some small…

Let’s honor our elders with the care and services they need

Rachel Cummings is the director and owner of Cummings Treasured Time Adult Day Center in Deerwood, Minnesota, a small town about 30 minutes northeast from Brainerd with a population of 520. Rachel started her caregiving career as a nursing assistant in 1991. “I have always loved the hands-on caregiving,” says Rachel. “The best part is…

Caring for mom through memory loss

Apple Valley resident Lauren Edstrom helped her mother move into assisted living and then into memory care two months later. Lauren’s mother now lives in a residential care home for women with memory loss. For Lauren, the most rewarding part of the journey through aging with her mom has been forgiveness. “I now understand her…