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Cass: Central Minnesota Council on Aging continues focus to help senior citizens

Cass County Board hears presentation, request for resolution to offer compensation

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WILSON TOWNSHIP — The Central Minnesota Council on Aging continues to advocate for seniors living in Cass County.

Lori Vrolson, representing Central Minnesota Council on Aging, presented the group’s annual report to Cass County commissioners at the regular board meeting Tuesday, June 21.

During the presentation, Vrolson said the Central Minnesota Council on Aging is committed to maintaining the highest level of independence of older people by developing and coordinating community care, reducing isolation and improving access to services.

Due to the pandemic and the increase of federal funds, the organization was able to use approximately $5 million regionally in 2021 compared to the approximate $3 million it received in 2019.

Of this funding, Vrolson said Cass County received 6% of Central Minnesota Council on Aging funding toward programs. Programs the Central Minnesota Council on Aging provides to people age 60 and older include congregate meals, home delivered meals, assisted transportation, assisting in chores, homemaker help, caregiver consulting, respite care and legal assistance.

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One program Vrolson focused on was the senior food program, which currently offers low income seniors up to 20 frozen meals per month.

When asked where seniors can acquire this food package, Vrolson said the Central Minnesota Council on Aging focuses on providing it at the Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors sites rather than local food shelves because the meals are only available to people over age 60.

When younger families would visit the food shelf, they would question why this was not available to them, she said.

Another program discussed was assisted transportation and the lack of volunteers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, most volunteers were reluctant to drive people to and from appointments or shopping trips.

Currently the problem finding volunteers to drive is due to the increase in fuel prices.

In other business June 21, County Engineer Darrick Anderson requested the board adopt a resolution to authorize offers of compensation to landowners for easements required for the County Highway 70 project that will provide a new river crossing in East Gull Lake and replace the existing dam crossing.

The next Cass County commissioners board meetings will be at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 5, in the boardroom at the courthouse annex in Walker; and at 6 p.m. July 19 at Birch Lake Township, 3611 40th Ave. NW, Hackensack.

Kyndra Johnson is a Cass County correspondent.

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