Elder Network was founded in 1988 in Rochester Minnesota. Our mission is “Those 55 and better and their caregivers have the opportunity to thrive and lead rewarding lives.” We are a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit. We primarily serve three counties in Southeast Minnesota: Olmsted, Wabasha, and Winona. However, our educational offerings and support groups are open to anyone that would like to attend.

Elder Network currently provides the following ten services for caregivers and seniors: Respite Care for caregivers (both paid Companion and volunteer Respite Care), Friendly Visiting, Medical and Non-Medical Transportation, Senior Advocacy, PEARLs, Support Groups and Caregiver Support, Education, and the Technology Assistance Program. We offer support groups and Caregiver Supports through REACH coaching for those supporting someone diagnosed with a dementia, dementia and caregiver support groups, an art group, a mindfulness group, Memory Cafés, and a Chronic Conditions Support Group. Educational programs include Powerful Tools for Caregiving and Aging Mastery.

Throughout the past 34 years of service, Elder Network has been dedicated to serving older adults and their loved ones-which includes caregivers, family members, and friends. We collaborate with other organizations so that we are able to support seniors and their caregivers whether we do the service or whether we refer them to an organization that provides the services they require. Through these 34 years of operation, Elder Network has committed resources to training staff, volunteers, clients, and community members on dementia, accessibility, diversity, end-of-life planning, grief support, suicide prevention, mental health in the aging population, and many other vital areas of service delivery that pertain to those 55 years of age and older. Our outreach, programs, and services extend to all eligible persons regardless of elder traditions, cultures, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, national origins, and other characteristics of their person. 

TransportationMedical Transportation Program

Transportation is provided by volunteer drivers to and from crucial health care appointments such as medical, dental, support groups, mental wellness, hearing and eye, chiropractic, medical device stores, etc. Please call us at 507-285-5272 for more information or to set up this service. This service is available in Olmsted County.

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 TransportationNon-Medical Transportation Program

Elder Network started a pilot program to provide transportation to non-medical locations this year, in order to serve emergent needs of seniors in quarantine. Locations that volunteer drivers transport clients to include the grocery store, hair salon, social service agencies, places of worship, legal services, their designated voting location, etc. Please call us at 507-285-5272 for more information or to set up this service. This service is available in Olmsted County.

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Companion ServicesCompanion Program

Companion Services provide a companion to assist in everyday task completion. The companion provides tasks that the clients would like someone to assist them with, so they can remain safely in their home.

These tasks may include:

  • Driving
  • Shopping
  • Planning meals together
  • Watering plants
  • Respite assistance and socialization
  • Walking the dog
  • And more!

We will help with a variety of tasks that make everyday life easier. Please call us at 507-285-5272 for more information or to set up this service. 

  • Olmsted: Holly Brown
    • 507-285-5272
  • Wabasha: Bonnie Sandberg
    • 651-565-3237
  • Winona: Barb Parker
    • 507-452-0580

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VisitingFriendly Visiting Program

The Visitors program provides weekly socialization through having someone in home conversing with and engaging an older adult. This helps avoid loneliness, isolation and supports positive mental wellness. Clients facing depression, relationship issues, anxiety, addiction, retirement, grief, major health changes, etc. receive weekly home visits from trained volunteers to provide a listening ear, support and encouragement for positive change. Please call us at 507-285-5272 for more information or to set up this service.  

  • Olmsted: Kathy Scheid
    • 507-285-5272
  • Wabasha: Bonnie Sandberg
    • 651-565-3237
  • Winona: Barb Parker
    • 507-452-0580

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EducationEducation Program

Education opportunities consist of evidence-based workshops, monthly aging education events, health fairs, and community presentations. We provide Powerful Tools for Caregiving and Aging Mastery, as well as other programs, according to client interest and staffing capabilities. We often collaborate with other agencies and entities to provide specialized, educational opportunities. Please go to our Events and Calendar (link) for descriptions of programs being currently offered and their respective dates.

  • Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts Collaborative Arts Classes
  • Aging Mastery
  • Powerful Tools for Caregiving

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Respite Care Respite Care In-Home

Respite Care In-Home provides relief for the caregiver to complete out of home duties and non-medical tasks, confident that their loved one is with a competent respite caregiver. Please call us at 507-285-5272 for more information or to set up this service.

  • Olmsted: Holly Brown
    • 507-285-5272
  • Wabasha: Bonnie Sandberg
    • 651-565-3237
  • Winona: Barb Parker
    • 507-452-0580

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Senior Advocacy

Senior Advocates, licensed social workers familiar with the long-term care system, are available to provide information and assistance to seniors and their caregivers navigating the sometimes difficult and convoluted care services matrix. These specialists can often help, even if you aren’t sure exactly what you need. Please call us at 507-285-5272 for more information or to set up an appointment. This service is available in Olmsted County.

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Elder Circles  Support Groups and Caregiver Support

Elder Network provides support groups focusing on those caring for another with memory loss and/or dementia, as well as caregivers who are caring for another without memory concerns. Elder Network also provides support to grandparents through a walking group that is moving online for the winter season. Elder Network also hosts a mindfulness support group that provides partcipants the opportunity to practice group meditation, conversing on the benefits of this practice to their health and well-being.

  • REACH (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health)
    • Elder Network provides Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health (REACH) to caregivers. This program is a proven approach used by trained caregiver consultants to support family members and others who are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. The goals are to teach caregivers how to reduce stress, solve problems, and manage difficult behaviors the person with memory loss may display; as well as to help caregivers feel confident in the care they provide and improve their ability to cope. After the caregiver completes the REACH assessment, four core sessions are offered and tailored to what the caregiver most needs. The caregiver consultant holds the sessions in person (though alternative service options may be available) typically over 2-3 months. The session fee is on a sliding scale. Please call Holly Brown at 507-285-5272 if you are interested in this service.   
  • Caregiver Coaching
    • Goal-focused process of assisting individuals to improve personal and professional achievement through appointments with a Trained Caregiver Coach, arranged on a weekly or monthly basis. Clients work through this personalized and client-focused service to receive the following outcomes:
      • Decreased depression and strain on the caregiver
      • Help with increasing self-care
      • Support so that caregivers no longer feel isolated and alone
      • Reduced caregiver burden
      • Reduced or delayed nursing home placement of the care receiver
      • New solutions to current issues or problems
      • Overal goals of 1) Producing a stronger caregiver who is capable of self-directed care, and 2) The ability to help the caregiver continue to give care as long as they can and desire to
  • Support Groups
    • Caregivers Support Group
    • Support Group for Partners with Memory Loss
    • Mindfulness Book Study and Group

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Companion Services PEARLS (Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives)

"This is a treatment program designed to reduce symptoms of depression and improve quality of life among older adults and among all-age adults with epilepsy. More than 50 sites in 18 states use PEARLS, with more organizations enrolling each year. The program consists of six to eight in-home counseling sessions that focus on the following goals:

  • Solving problems.
  • Becoming socially and physically active.
  • Scheduling enjoyable activities.

PEARLS helps individuals to lead more active and rewarding lives. The PEARLS tool kit includes instructions for conducting the program and holding sessions with clients, as well as forms and materials to create the organizational structure for PEARLS. A 2-day in-person training session in Seattle, Washington, prepares staff to implement the program." (CDC, 2018). Read more about this evidence-based program.

Elder Network staff have been trained to provide this service, and we are actively working to implement this program. We are creating a waiting list of interested individuals. More information to come. Let us know if you are interested by simplying emailing us at info@elder-network.org, or by calling us at 507-285-5272.

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VisitingTechnology Assistance Program

Elder Network is actively recruiting volunteers for this program. This program provides access to iPads and mobile hotspots for clients in need of assistance with technology access and education. Volunteers are matched with clients to provide weekly or semi-monthly support, direction, and education on how to access applications on the iPads to enable them to complete tasks of daily living, such as grocery shopping, emailing their landlord, accessing their medical portal, engaging in telehealth visits, joining a Zoom support group, etc. Volunteers dedicate 1-2 hours, weekly, with clients to educate them on technology, and staff offer support on an on-going basis as well. Clients also receive assistance from staff and volunteers to support their needs for set-up, application installation, software updates, and questions regarding use. This program supports clients in understanding how to safetly access applications that use the internet. If you would like to learn more about volunteering or receiving this service, please call the office at 507-285-5272.

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Not all services are available in all counties. Please contact us if you aren’t sure what you need. We are here to help.