Return To Community Initiative

A majority of Minnesotans have said they would rather stay home than live in a nursing home over the long-term. A state legislative initiative, called Return to Community, has been helping people find the services and resources needed to make this wish a reality for nearly a decade. In many cases, it’s just as safe, and more cost-efficient, for older Minnesotans to live at home.

Success Stories

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Cooperation and Planning

It began as a plan to work in partnership with public agencies and nursing facilities to help nursing home residents return home. Now, it has expanded to enlist the help of all health and home care providers. It starts with a referral to the Senior LinkAge Line® where an expert works one-on-one with the person to help plan to return to independent living.

Follow Up

A unique feature of this initiative is that the Community Living Specialist from the Senior LinkAge Line® stays in touch with the individual over the long-term. The specialist may call or visit for up to five years after the initial consultation.

How Does it Work?

The Community Living Specialists at the Senior LinkAge Line® have countless resources from which to draw. The ideal candidate will meet the following conditions:

  • Desire to live independently
  • Support of friends and family
  • Willingness to accept help
  • Not currently receiving Medical Assistance (Medicaid)

When a consumer is referred to the Senior LinkAge Line®, a Community Living Specialist (CLS) will meet with the consumer and/or caregiver to determine wants and needs. The CLS will generally follow these steps:

1)   Design a success plan

2)   Explore and recommend community services to help the consumer at home.

3)   Help the consumer and/or caregiver build a budget for success.

4)   Follow-up in person and over the phone for up to five years to ensure long-term success.

For more information about how to get started, click here to see a PDF of our “Returning Home” publication.


The Return to Community initiative has won two awards since its launch in 2010:

2015 State Government Innovation Award

Return to Community was one of ten State Government Innovation Award winners honored by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

2017 Bright Idea Designation

Bright Idea recognizes creative and promising government programs and partnerships. It is offered through the Innovations in Government Program, a program of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School. Find out more at the Government Innovators Network website.