Holidays good time to check in on older adults

December 21, 2017

Resources can help families address variety of issues

As people gather for the holidays, family and friends often get a fresh look at how well older people in their lives are doing. Minnesota has several resources to help families address issues that may be noticed.

“While the holidays may not be the right time to tackle problems, they can provide opportunities to talk with our loved ones about how they are doing,” said Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper. “Are they lonely, or struggling with daily tasks?  Do they feel safe?  Do they have ideas for changes they would like to make? These are all questions we can ask along with making our own observations.”

Among helpful resources are:

  • Senior LinkAge Line, at 1-800-333-2433 and by chat at www.seniorlinkageline.com, is the Minnesota Board on Aging’s free statewide information and assistance service. The Senior LinkAge Line is part of a network that also includes Disability Hub MN at 1-866-333-2466 and disabilityhubmn.com, the Veterans Linkage Line at 1-888-LinkVet and www.MinnesotaHelp.info.

“Senior LinkAge Line can help older Minnesotans find supports to remain healthy and safe at home,” said Kari Benson, executive director of the Minnesota Board on Aging. “Aging experts there can explain prescription drug coverage and health care options and point to transportation services, chore help, meal services, housing options, legal services and more.”

  • Family caregivers. Resources for family caregivers, who provide more than 90 percent of the long-term care needed by older Minnesotans, are available on the Minnesota Board on Aging website, mnaging.net. The Caregiver Resource Guide posted on the site includes checklists to plan for caregiving and for self-care for caregivers.
  • Own Your Future. The Own Your Future website, mn.gov/ownyourfuture, provides adults of all ages help to plan for the care and household help most will need in their later years. The website includes the “Own Your Future: Long-term Care Planning Guide.” The Department of Human Services and the Board on Aging lead the Own Your Future initiative.
  • The Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center, administered by the Department of Human Services, has a toll-free number at 1-844-880-1574 where people can go 24/7 to report possible abuse, neglect or financial exploitation of a loved one.

Vulnerable adults include any person 18 or older who:

  • Has a physical or mental illness or other physical, mental or emotional impairment that affects the person’s ability to care for themselves or protect themselves from maltreatment; and/or
  • Is staying in a licensed facility, such as a hospital, nursing home or group home; and/or
  • Receives services from a licensed provider, such as a home care agency. 

Maltreatment can include physical, emotional or sexual abuse; caregiver neglect or self-neglect; or financial exploitation. More information is available at mn.gov/dhs/adult-protection.

LISTEN: Minnesota Board on Aging Executive Director Kari Benson talks about checking in on older adults during the holidays. (MP3 audio) (Transcript)

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