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…

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…

Life after Alzheimer’s: Six things my husband taught me

After my husband Bob’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, our lives changed forever. He never stopped teaching me and reminding me why I loved him. Here are six things I learned on the journey through Alzheimer’s with Bob: Bob taught me patience. I tried to never raise my voice at him and answer every question, even if it…

Passing on wisdom: aging expert shares insight after 35-year career

As the executive director at the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging for the past 25 years, Linda Giersdorf has experienced the rapidly growing aging population in Minnesota first hand while working with organizations to provide solutions to help our seniors age with the proper resources, support and care. Last month, Giersdorf retired after working…

Helen Miller’s daughter-in-law carries Helen’s lessons forward

Helen Miller, a beloved Face Aging MN advocate and blogger, was passionate about living an active and happy life as she got older. Though Helen passed away in June, her legacy and lessons continue to inspire her friends and family, including her daughter-in-law, Kristi Danielson. She remembers Helen as the front desk secretary at her…