Exploring a Dementia Friendly Community

Care Partners has received funding through the Cook County Community Fund and a MN DHS Live Well at Home Grant to explore what it would mean for Cook County to become a Dementia Friendly Community. Activities will include professional trainings and public programs.

Care Partners also wants to engage many parts of Cook County to assess our ability to respond to those with dementia and support their caregivers:    What are our strengths?  What are our biggest needs?  What initiatives should we focus on?

Become a Dementia Friend

Dementia Friends is a global movement that is changing the way people think, act, and talk about dementia. By helping everyone in a community understand what dementia is and how it affects families, each of us can make a difference for people touched by dementia.

What Makes You a Dementia Friend?

You become a Dementia Friend by attending a one-hour informational session to learn about this worldwide movement, about living with dementia, and the simple things you can do to support someone living with the disease.

Next Dementia Friends Information Session:
Wednesday, November 1, 12-1 pm
Following Senior Lunch at Birch Grove in Tofte

DF 2Organize a Session for your Group or Business!

Care Partners would love to bring this one hour session to your neighborhood, church, workplace or group.   A specialized session is available for retail businesses. Give us a call at 387-3788 or come to the September session to find out more.

Alzheimer's Association Speaker

Emotional Wellness for Caregivers
Tuesday, October 17, from 4-6 pm, Sawtooth Mtn Clinic classroom 
How do we support ourselves and other caregivers of those with dementia? Heidi Haley-Franklin of the Alzheimer’s Association (Twin Cities) will discuss coping strategies and available resources to increase the ability to care for individuals with dementia. She will also discuss common emotional reactions after receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and the losses that trigger them.

Best Practices for Optimizing Dementia Care:
A Training for Clinical Nurses & Care Coordinators
October 18, 8-9:30 am, Sawtooth Mtn Clinic classroom
Heidi will discuss the differences between “normal aging” and Alzheimer’s, why early detection, diagnosis, and care coordination is critical,  how to best communicate with patients, and relevant community resources.

Heidi directs the Alzheimer’s Assoc. Chapter’s Helpline,   Physician Outreach, and Care Consultation programs and provides clinical supervision and education to those working directly with individuals impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Heidi holds a Master’s degree in   Social Work from the University of St. Thomas, and is a     Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker.

A Caregiver’s Perspective

Everyone is affected differently by dementia and so are their caregivers—the challenges they face, and how they cope. What the community can provide makes a big difference. We asked one of our clients, whose husband lives with Alzheimer’s, about her experience.

What are some of the challenges you have as a caregiver of someone with dementia?
Its simple everyday things I can’t count on. I ask my husband to get something and he doesn’t know where it is, even though he’s done it for years or did it yesterday. Right now I can’t do stairs and can’t ask him to go down to get something for me. So for now, we have someone come in 1-2 hours in the morning.

Neither of us can drive so I use Senior Rides to get to appointments, do errands and attend events. I want my husband to walk regularly for his health, but he forgets where he is. So Marnie, the Care Partners nurse, arranged for volunteers to take him for walks.

How has this community been supportive?
I don’t think if we lived where we used to live near Chicago, we would have the support we have here. Because it’s a small community, we know who is providing services and helping. In a city, I wouldn’t have the comfort I have here, of knowing people. I don’t have to worry about his being taken advantage of. I feel very comfortable with the volunteers—they do it because they want to and are very well trained. Even the ones I don’t know, we have things in common.

How might the community better support you?
Sometimes when we are shopping, I am not sure where he’s gone. He loses track and doesn’t know what to do next. If store clerks notice him wandering outside, they could invite him back in.

The clinic and hospital staff do a good job. I appreciate how they ask me “Is it okay to tell him to take out his hearing aid?” I thought it showed sensitivity. I am pleased with what you folks are providing and I hope you will continue. My family are often busy with work, so it really helps to get help from Care Partners and the Health and Human Services In Home Support program.

Is there any advice you’d give to other caregivers?
I’d pass on advice I have been given:  don’t get upset. It’s hard advice to follow. Sometimes I do get upset and then remind myself to take it easy, it’s not his fault. I’m doing better now that my own health has improved.

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers are the core of Care Partners services and give back to the elders in our community in many ways.


  • Companion Volunteers provide friendly visits, check-in, or presence at end of life.
  • Senior Rides Volunteers give rides locally or to Duluth and are reimbursed for mileage.  Trainings are ongoing.
  • Chore Volunteers help with occasional chores to keep seniors safe in their homes. Trainings are on-going.
  • Board Members provide leadership, fundraising and marketing support for  Care Partners programs.

Call 387-3788 for more information.

Grief Support

Thank you to Beth Benson and Jack McHugh for leading a grief group last spring. We are considering holding another group or establishing a monthly gathering.   If you are interested, please call Care Partners.

Volunteer Trainings

Senior Rides Training, Wed, Oct 6, 4-6 pm,
lower level classroom, Sawtooth Mountain Clinic

Companion/Respite Volunteer Training
Thursday, January 25, 4:30-8 pm and
Saturday, January 27 , 9:00 am to 3 pm.

Companion volunteers receive training in safety,   comfort measures, end-of-life, dementia, elder awareness, spirituality and communication.

Call 387-3788 for more information or to register.

Ice Cream Social


Care Partners’ Ice Cream Social at Sydney’s Frozen Custard was great fun.  Over a hundred people came out to enjoy sundaes, chair massages from Lutzen Reflections and bid on silent auction items. Susan Gardner won the beautiful quilt made by Carol Harris. The social and raffle raised over $5300 to support programs for those on the journey of aging, and serious illness.

Many thanks to all who came out to support Care Partners, to Carol Harris for the quilt, and to event sponsors and silent auction donors.


Caregiver Coffee

These programs are held monthly in Grand Marais and Tofte. Join us to meet other caregivers, share resources and discuss caregiving.  All are welcome.  

Call Care Partners at 387-3788 for more information.


Business Sponsors

Sydney's Frozen Custard

Lutzen Reflections Massage

Red Pine Realty

Joynes Ben Franklin

Ryden's Border Store

Northern Wilds Media

Sawbill Canoe Outfitters

Sivertson Gallery

Sweetgrass Cove

Attorney Ruthanne Hedstrom Vos

Bearskin Lodge

Crooked Spoon

Great Gifts

Harbor House Grille

Kathy Reeves

Mary Bebie

Studio 61 Hair Design

The Blue Moose

Wellspring Therapy


Light Up A Life at Johnson Heritage Post!

The 9th Annual “Light up a Life” event will move to the harbor, with the Tree Lighting Ceremony  at Johnson Heritage Post and our Memory Tree  in their front yard! 

Light Up a Life offers community members a way to celebrate the life of a loved one during the holiday season. Each donation lights one bulb in memory of a person on our memory tree. Their names will be listed in our ‘Memory Book’. Donation forms will be available on our web site at www.carepartnersofcookcounty.org

Tree Lighting Ceremony
Johnson Heritage Post
Thurs., December 7th at 5:30 pm.

The ceremony will include music, readings and the opportunity to remember a loved one. Refreshments will be served.  The event is sponsored by Care Partners and supports end of life services in Cook County.