Continuing to Work During COVID-19

Our worlds have been flipped on its side recently with the latest pandemic sweeping across our communities. I wanted to take this opportunity to update everyone on how MNRAAA is doing as well as our partners.

MNRAAA enacted its emergency plan and Continuity of Operations Plan immediately upon hearing the Governor’s orders to close the schools. MNRAAA is structured to allow staff to work from home and found that this switch to full-time working from home was relatively seamless.

Currently, MNRAAA is fully operational and working to assist our older populations to thrive. All of our Title III providers are still working; although they may not be doing their normal work, they are still providing services in their communities. Below are a few examples of our partners and what they are doing. For a full list, visit www.helpolderadultsmn.org:

  • Interfaith Caregivers Faith in Action – have added shopping for food and other essential items to the list of services they provide to people who live in Faribault County. interfaithcaregivers.net
  • Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota – are delivering meals on wheels from all of their sites and have the option for frozen meals. lssmn.org
  • Prairie Five Community Action – with their hot/cold food truck, they can deliver meals on wheels and people have the option to also sign up for frozen meals. prairiefive.org
  • Wellspring Faith in Action – are providing support and education to their caregivers via telephone and also assisting in delivering meals. wellspringfia.org
  • A.C.E. of SW Minnesota – are currently providing caregivers with check-in calls and support utilizing phone and face time, when available. aceswmn.org

Every day brings more changes, so we encourage everyone to stay tuned to the following websites for up-to-date information:

Take care, and stay safe.

Jason W. Swanson, HSE
Executive Director, MNRAAA

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Volunteering During COVID-19

With the events surrounding COVID-19, stay at home order from Governor Walz and unemployment uncertainties, we have heard a lot about volunteering. Pre-pandemic, the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging (MNRAAA) was part of a coalition in the State of Minnesota to bring changes to assist volunteer drivers (volunteerdrivermn.org) and how these drivers are defined by current state law. This movement has taken a back seat as we come together to combat this virus. Volunteering now takes on a new meaning, has a new look and feels different.

Historically when you think of volunteering, you may think of a church bake sale, making cookies for a cookie walk or sitting at a booth for an organization. Now volunteering takes on a whole new purpose. Organizations throughout Minnesota are looking for volunteers to help at-risk groups, such as older adults to deliver groceries and meals (meals on wheels, frozen meals, shelf-stable meals, etc.), pick up medications or simply provide telephone check-ins on individuals. You can find these organizations through news outlets, social media, non-profits and at www.helpolderadultsmn.org.

Volunteering does not have to occur through an organization; there are things you can do yourself to help your neighbors, friends and family. You can pick up mail, offer to walk a pet if someone does not feel well, check in with people via telephone or prepare meals for someone as well.

There are many ways to volunteer and give back if you find yourself with cabin fever, now may be a time to look at helping!

Jason W. Swanson, HSE
Executive Director
MNRAAA

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