Learn, plan and gather support to cope with a loved one’s illness.
Support and Companionship on the Journey of Aging and Serious Illness
Care Partners of Cook County provides vital support and services to help clients and their families address the transitions of aging, serious illness and end of life with safety, dignity, and confidence.
Free Tax Preparation Help for Cook County Seniors
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program will begin tax drop-off and return services for Cook County residents starting February 2nd. This free assistance is available to income-eligible households and people aged 60 and over for basic tax returns (not for small business or complicated returns.) For more information, please call the CC Community Center at 218-387-3015.
Tax information including supporting documentation can be dropped off at one of the following locations and times:
Tofte Town Hall - closed for the season
Cook County Community Center - Tuesdays - 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (through May 11)
Grand Portage Post Office - Every Day
Taxes will be prepared off-site by a tax volunteer and returned for pick-up at a later date.
For a list of what to bring for supporting documentation click here.
For information about the Minnesota VITA Program click here.
News & Updates
Caregiver Coffees Moving to Thursdays!
Caregiver Coffees are informal gatherings open to anyone who offers care and support to an older adult. Participants encourage one another, share resources and discuss topics related to care-giving. Caregivers are welcome to "stop by" for coffee whenever their schedules allow! Beginning April 22, Caregiver Coffees will be offered virtually via Zoom on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month from 10-11:30 am. When it is possible to meet face to face again, we hope to resume at Birch Grove in Tofte. Call Care Partners or click here if you'd like to get the meeting link or more information.
Care Partners Assists with Nourishing Food Project
Care Partner’s own Jennifer Trowbridge led an initiative exploring ways to bring nourishing foods - whole, sustainably sourced, and local -to Cook County residents who are struggling with serious illness or other health challenges. Jennifer engaged Christina Hartley Conroy, Diane Booth, Carol Bennett, Judi Barsness, and Pat Campanaro to help design and implement this community pilot project. Although Care Partners is not in the food or meal business, we were able to access some nutrition funding to help this group pilot a nourishing food box program. We were proud to be able to help with this initial test-run, and provide a little extra support to some of our clients during a difficult time.
Care Partners wishes Jennifer and her team all the best as they evaluate the pilot project which ended in 2020, and as they continue to explore ways to support Cook County residents with nourishing and healing food. If you are interested in volunteering or supporting their efforts or if you’d like to know more, contact Jennifer Trowbridge by calling Care Partners at 387-3788 or emailing her at email@example.com.
Coalition Forms to Support Aging Services in Cook County
Care Partners received a grant from the Northland foundation in 2020 to help form the Cook County Aging Coalition. Over the last year, Northland staff have met with a group of about 20 community partners representing agencies, organizations, and health services in Cook County and the Grand Portage Reservation. This group has been exploring ways to improve awareness, access and availability of aging services in our area. Over the next 2 years, Northland will provide additional project funding to further develop some of these ideas. For example, in order to make it easier for people to find out about aging services, the Coalition is exploring the possibility of creating a single directory, website, or phone number to help people find the services they need – perhaps with the help of a Care Navigator. Stay tuned for more information!
COVID Vaccine Clinics for Older Adults in Cook County
Cook County has announced that all appointments and wait list sign-ups for this week's COVID vaccination clinics are full. Registration for next week's clinic will begin 8 am Monday, February 8 on the Cook County Coronavirus Response Hub.
- All vaccinations are by appointment only
- Appointments must be made on line only
- These vaccine clinics are only for people who live in Cook County
- Age requirements for each clinic will be announced on the Coronavirus Response Hub
- To register, visit the Cook County Coronavirus Response Hub
If you need assistance with on-line registration or if you are unable to find a ride to the clinic, please leave a message with Care Partners at (218) 387-3788.
Telephone Companions are Ready to Call!
Care Partners is excited to connect community members with our older neighbors through the Telephone Companion Program. Older adults in Cook County speak by telephone or online with a trained volunteer at a time and frequency that makes sense for them. Calls can be arranged for a variety of reasons, including:
- Weekly telephone chats
- Occasional check-ins
- Virtual conversations via Zoom or other communication technology
Interested in receiving more information about this free service? Want to become a Telephone Companion Volunteer? Click here!
Care Partners is Still Here, But Different
A message to Care Partners clients, partners and friends
Care Partners is evolving to help protect our clients, volunteers and staff and respond to the need for seniors to stay safely at home. Care Partners’ office is no longer open to the public. Staff are working remotely, and will return your calls and emails during regular office hours: M-F, 10 am to 3 pm.
Telephone Support: Care Partners staff and volunteers will no longer provide in-person visits, but will focus on using phones, and other means to stay in close contact. Let us know if you would like a volunteer to touch base and provide a friendly phone visit.
Rides: will be carefully monitored. For now, we will provide rides only to important medical appointments after careful screening questions to make sure all involved are healthy and have limited exposure.
Delivering Supplies: Care Partners volunteers will assist as possible with delivering supplies to high risk individuals who need to stay safely at home.
Shopping Assistance: A Care Partners volunteer can help you develop and organize your grocery list, place your grocery order, arrange for delivery of your groceries, or assist you in picking them up. Click here to submit a request for more information.
Outdoor Chores: Although we are not able to help with indoor chores, volunteers can assist with yard clean-up, winter preparation, and occasional snow removal. If you are interested in assistance with outdoor chores, give us a call or click here.
Please call Care Partners at 387-3788 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, needs or concerns. We appreciate each one of you and are grateful to be part of a strong and caring community.
COVID Information: We've added a "COVID" category to our resources page. Click on "Resources" at the top of this page (or click here) for a listing of COVID-related information, programs, and services for older adults in Cook County. Let us know if you see something there that needs to be removed or if you know of a resource that we may want to add.
Transportation Volunteers Needed
Care Partners needs volunteers to provide rides in Cook County and to Duluth. We are especially looking for drivers during the pandemic who are 1) not at risk of serious illness from Covid-19, 2) have larger vehicles that would allow better spacing with the passenger in the rear seat for social distancing and 3) willing to practice infection control procedures. Volunteers will receive a short training, complete a background check, and are reimbursed at $.60/mile with a minimum of $25 per trip. Volunteers choose their own assignments and the need is often not more than once or twice a week. Clients are mostly seniors and may or may not be symptomatic of Covid-19. Contact Christie at Care Partners for more information. Phone 387-3788, email email@example.com or click here.
Health Care Planning, POLST, and End of Life
In the face of all the fears and worries brought up by the COVID-19 pandemic, it can actually be reassuring and empowering to plan for what you would chose if you became gravely ill. Completing a Health Care Directive can be a gift to your family, and vital to our local providers as they work to respond to COVID-19 in our community. Care Partners staff is ready to help you think through and document your wishes. Click here to learn more.
For advanced care planning information related to COVID 19 from Honoring Choices Minnesota, CLICK HERE.
Here's a video message about the importance of health care planning from Sawtooth Mountain Clinic Dr. Jenny Delfs:
A Death Cafe isn't a place, but an event in which people are invited to express their thoughts, dreams, questions and concerns about death and dying. Paradoxically, sharing about death often inspires participants to embrace a more meaningful life.
Cook County's End of Life Doulas host a Death Cafe on the fourth Thursday of every month at 6 PM. These confidential meetings are open to everyone!
Click here to join the Zoom meeting at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81744740124
NEW! For more information about Cook County's End of Life Doulas, go to: https://carepartnersofcookcounty.org/doulas/
NEW! Link to article about Cook County's End of Life Doulas in the November 2020 issue of Northern Wilds Magazine
Death Doulas' email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the world-wide Death Cafe movement, click here.
Virtual Support for Local Caregivers
Even under the best of circumstances, caregiving can be a challenge. For many caregivers, COVID-19 adds yet another layer of stress as they deal with disruption to daily routines, and new worries for protecting the health of the person in their care. Social distancing makes self-care and connection more difficult. Caregivers are invited to give and receive support from others who understand the journey first hand by visiting our new monthly Virtual Caregiver Coffee. The group meets on the 2nd Friday of the month from 10:00 - 11:30am. To get a link to the meeting or more info, please email group facilitator Nancy Koloski at email@example.com or call Care Partners at (218) 387-3788. All are welcome!
Cook County Memory Cafe
Until further notice, the Memory Cafe will be postponed or meet virtually by computer or phone. When it is possible to meet face to face again, we will resume on the second Thursday of each month from 1:00 – 2:30pm at the Hub/Senior Center in Grand Marais. Pre-registration is requested, but not required.
The challenge of living with memory loss can make social connections more difficult just when they may be most helpful. A Memory Café is a free, casual gathering where people with memory loss and the family or friends who care for them can come together in a safe, supportive, relaxed environment. Guests share conversations over a cup of coffee and games, crafts, music or other simple activities. Memory Cafés are not a form of respite care. Instead, they offer a place where both caregiver and care recipient can enjoy one another’s company and interact with others who share similar experiences. Click here for more info about Memory Cafes.
Interested in volunteering at a Memory Cafe? Click here to tell us who you are and how you might like to help. Thanks!
Dementia Friendly Cook County
Those with dementia and their caregivers are a vital part of our community. Care Partners of Cook County is active in promoting ways to help them feel welcome, comfortable and successful when encountering Cook County services, agencies, and businesses. Opportunities include classes in becoming a Dementia Friend, study programs for churches and schools, and trainings for retail businesses and agency staff.
Care Partners' staff and volunteers respect your privacy and will not share any information about you without your consent.