Partners in caregivingNine years ago, Northshore Area Partners was just a group of Silver Bay residents who wanted to help elderly neighbors stay in their homes. “It’s an organization that began around someone’s kitchen table,” director Susan Michels said.
By: Sonja Peterson, Lake County News Chronicle
Nine years ago, Northshore Area Partners was just a group of Silver Bay residents who wanted to help elderly neighbors stay in their homes.
“It’s an organization that began around someone’s kitchen table,” director Susan Michels said.
It’s now a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves 415 seniors and coordinates 4,500 hours of volunteer work in the rural area that includes Silver Bay, Beaver Bay, Isabella and Little Marais. Its mission is to help adults over 65 live independently in their homes and strengthen the sense of community commitment to older residents.
NAP recently received a $10,000 grant from the Northland Foundation and Essentia Health that will help fund caregiver support programming.
Mary Aijala is the caregiver consultant for Northshore Area Partners whose job will be partially supported by the grant. She said that caregiving can be as simple as checking in on a neighbor, making sure a parent takes his or her medicine, or giving someone a ride to the hospital.
Some caregivers come up on weekends to care for a parent or elderly loved one. Local volunteers can provide care in between times.
She started as a volunteer for the organization when it was first formed in 2003.
“I live out in the country and I’d like to live there as long as I can, so I figured I’d help now so someone would help me later on,” she said.
Now she is one of the organization’s four part-time employees. She runs the caregiver support group that meets on the second Tuesday of each month. “It’s a round-table discussion,” Aijala said. “There’s a great wealth of knowledge shared.” The group is open to new members at any time.
Caregiving, and the services provided by groups like North Shore Partners, are in high demand due to Lake County’s aging, rural population. “Demographically, our area is aging at a faster rate than the state average,” Michels said.
“People want to live in the place they call home, but we need to have a few things in place to make that happen,” Michels said.
The group is always looking for new volunteers. They are located at 99 Edison Blvd., Room #21 in Silver Bay, and their phone number is 218-226-3635. Visit their website for more information at northshoreareapartners.org.