For seniors who want to remain in their homes as long as possible, support services can help ease the way. North Central Human Services Center provides services to connect seniors with the help that they need through the North Dakota Family Caregiver Support Program, Adult Protective Services, and Community Ombudsman services.
"The whole reason we continue to meet with people and connect them with services is so that they can stay in their own homes. A lot of people need just a little help, either physical or financial. The goal is to keep people in their communities as long as possible," Jane Ofstedal, outreach coordinator for North Central Human Service Center Aging Services, said.
Ofstedal meets with individuals 60 and over in a seven-county area. During a visit, she gauges the needs of an individual and provides information to connect them with providers that can meet their needs.
Aging Services staff work together to provide services to area seniors. Pictured from left to right are: Jane Ofstedal, outreach coordinator; Theresa Flagstad, caregiver coordinator, and Mari Don Sorum, Regional Aging Services program administrator.
"Our services are not based on income. We are interested in learning about what people can do independently, their nutritional intake and things like that. We refer them to services in and around their community depending on what their needs are," Ofstedal said.
The needs of individuals are gauged in various areas, just as the need for assistive devices in the home, transportation, home health care, nutrition counseling, vision services and many other areas.
With many individuals nearing retirement age, the need for Aging Services, especially in rural communities, is growing.
for Senior Services
North Central Human Service Center:
701-857-8500 or 1-888-470-6968
Minot Commission on Aging: 701-852-0561
Kenmare Wheels & Meals: 701-385-4364
Tri-County Senior Meals & Services (Rugby):
Souris Basin Transportation (Minot): 701-852-8008
"Right now, 30 percent of our population is 60 and over. In the next 10 years, it will double. The services need will be growing," Mari Don Sorum, Regional Aging Services program administrator, said.
"In the Northwest corner of North Dakota, it's so rural that some towns don't have a grocery store. A lot of these smaller towns are getting even smaller. Our concern is getting the basic needs met for these people," she added.
In rural areas, family members have moved away, leaving older adults without the support they need explained Theresa Flagstad, caregiver coordinator for the North Dakota Family Caregiver Support Program.
"We commonly get calls from family members out of state. They're asking how they can get their loved ones living in rural areas connected with services. People just don't know where to start," Sorum said.
As the aging population continues to add to a need for more services, the need for an awareness of the issues is important, Sorum explained.
"There is a need for increasing awareness on how the population changes will affect so many areas. There will be an impact for businesses and aging services. There is a huge need for medication help, health care and meals being provided to rural areas. The rural areas, especially, are where the needs are," Sorum said.
"We commonly see spouses and siblings taking care of each other, people who are hardly able to care for their own needs caring for someone else. There is a huge need for qualified service providers, and there are not enough employees in the rural areas," Ofstedal added.
Aging Services offers the Adult Protective Services program, which can ensure that vulnerable adults who are staying at home alone are safe.
"Adult Protective Services is needed often when vulnerable individuals are left at home alone with no support. They are vulnerable to scams, either by scam artists or by family members," Sorum said.
"Safety is a big thing, too, if they're living alone on their farms," she added.
The North Dakota Family Caregiver Support Program is an additional service, one that can help connect individuals caring for an adult family member with respite care providers.
"This program is unique in that the person being cared for is not the client, the client is the one providing the care. The service can help give caregivers much needed help," Flagstad said.
"With caregiving, even if you're not the one that's there 24-7, it can be an emotional and financial burden," she added.