By Anna Jauhola
Nearly 20 people attended and signed up to be part of the Kittson Living At Home program during a volunteer breakfast at The Station in Hallock on Wednesday, Jan. 11.
The Kittson Living At Home (LAH) program is officially sponsored and housed at The Station, but will serve all seniors in the county. Darcy Hestekind, director of the Tri-Community LAH program in Newfolden, spoke to the crowd. The program officially kicked off on Jan. 1.
Hestekind said since conversations about the program began last year, transportation for seniors has been the hot topic. While every LAH program has a driving element for errands or appointments, for example, the program does not solely provide that service.
“Transportation is the biggest thing you talk about, but what’s the second biggest need?” asked Hank Noel, volunteer.
“The second need here initially will be friendly visiting and outreach,” Hestekind said.
Hestekind told the crowd the core committee has been working on a list of seniors in the county who could benefit from friendly calls or check-ins. They will be working to connect volunteers with these seniors.
“It creates a bond and trust, and leads to seniors keeping better connected to the community,” Hestekind said. “This will be a step-by-step growth for your program.”
Noel said he feels friendly visiting is more of a priority than transportation at this point.
Theresia Gillie, a Kittson County commissioner, noted former Commissioner Darrel Johnson has been working with a separate entity to start a pilot transportation program. There is a grant in the works to fund a one-year non-emergency medical transportation program. When that is up and running, Hestekind said that is a program to which LAH volunteers can direct seniors for rides.
“Living At Home fills a gap between different services,” she added. “ It helps seniors find access to meals, cleaning services, snow removal and the like.”
Currently, anyone interested in volunteering or seniors who would like to be included can call 218-843-2605 and speak with Mary Carlson or Steve Prebish.
Several volunteers who attended the breakfast filled out a volunteer information sheet and agreement form.
By Anna Jauhola