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The Minnesota Department of Human Services provides Minnesotans with a variety of services intended to help people live as independently as possible.


Reform 2020 helps older Minnesotans remain in their homes

Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson recently visited older Minnesotans and the caregivers and organizations that support them in Greater Minnesota to highlight Reform 2020.

Leslie with her mother Judy, caregiver Jackie, and Elder Network Executive Director Laurie.Reform 2020, which advanced through the Legislature and received funding this session, transforms Minnesota’s Medicaid program to better meet the challenges of rising health care costs and a growing aging population while better serving Minnesotans’ long-term care needs. One of the priorities of Reform 2020 is keeping more seniors and people with disabilities living in their homes and communities.
“Reform 2020 builds on our strategy to help seniors and people with disabilities be as independent as they can be with real choices about how they live their lives,” said Jesson. “We must target the development of the long-term services and supports that they need early on to prevent the use of more costly services later.”

On a recent visit to Rochester, Jesson met with Leslie, her elderly mother Judy, and Jackie, a volunteer respite caregiver from Elder Network, a local non-profit organization that provides services to help people stay in their homes.

Leslie takes care of Judy in her townhome, where she occupies the downstairs floor and her mother the top floor. Through Elder Network, Leslie was able to take a caregivers class where she learned a variety of tools to better care for Judy as she ages and meets different challenges.

The organization also connected the two to Jackie, a local nurse, who visits once a week. Together, Jackie and Judy crochet and tell stories, allowing Leslie some time away to volunteer for Elder Network herself, and giving her mother an additional social outlet.

Virginia shares her story with Commissioner Jesson.Elder Network, which serves seniors in Olmsted, Winona and Wabasha counties, is one of the many organizations throughout Minnesota that has received a Community Service/Community Services Development grant from DHS in the past. The grant allows communities to rebalance their long-term care service delivery system and increase their capacity to help people age 65 and older stay in their homes.

Great River Faith in Action in Becker, just south of St. Cloud, is one organization that is currently receiving a DHS Community Service/Community Services Development grant. Through its social respite program, The Gathering, and the eldercare and caregiver support program, Live Well at Home, Great River Faith in Action provides professional and volunteer services to empower and educate its clients to make choices that will help them to remain living independently and safely.

Virginia, a one-time Great River Faith in Action volunteer, now utilizes the organization’s services to help her care for her husband Don, who has advanced Parkinson’s disease. When visiting the couple on their family farm, Virginia told Jesson that with the help of friends and family members, and Great River employees and volunteers, she was able to receive the support and make the necessary adjustments to the farm so that she and Don may live out their remaining days together at home.

“Reform 2020 will ensure that older Minnesotans have access to home and community-based services no matter where they live,” said Jesson. “We want to make sure that all Minnesotans know that there are services available to help them remain in the comfort of their own homes and communities.”

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