In the last week I have participated in two very helpful Zoom meetings discussing when and how to safely open senior centers.  One was sponsored by the National Council on the Aging (NCOA) and the National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) and the other by the Minnesota Association of Senior Services (MASS).  While no one has all the answers, the discussions did cover a multitude of details that we will need to consider.  I think we all realize that when our center does open, it will not and cannot be business as usual, at least for a while.  We will take direction from the city of Monticello, the MN Dept of Health, and our state leaders.  We will have plans formulated prior to opening and will communicate that to our participants as much in advance as possible.  Our senior center Board of Directors and I will work together to finalize those plans when the time comes.

I can tell you that I look forward to the day when we can open our doors and work our way back to the vibrant senior center we know and love.  This job and the people are such a big part of my life - I miss you!

Even with the stay at home order lifted, I know a number of you will still not feel comfortable going out in public and I understand that.  We don’t want you to stress about it!  Please call the center at 763-295-2000 if you need food or household supplies and are unable to get them.  Also let me know if you need a mask and I can get one to you.  If I am unable to answer the phone at the center, please be sure to leave a message and I will call you back.  

Caregivers, especially those caring for people living with dementia and other serious conditions, are under increased stress these days as adult day centers and other supports have closed or changed services.  Help is available thru our senior center and you can contact Becky Allard, LSW from Senior Community Services, 952-746-4028, b.allard@seniorcommunity.org   Becky can set up regular check in calls to help focus on you, the caregiver and your feelings during these challenging times that we are all dealing with.  If you would like to connect with other caregivers like yourself, please reach out to Becky.  She has the opportunity to set up virtual support groups if enough people are interested. 

Be sure to visit the senior center’s Facebook page where you will find interesting links to many different websites for exercise, puzzles, games, virtual tours, music, art, etc.  There are a lot of free activities you can participate in thru the Internet and I encourage you to take advantage of them.  If you do not have Facebook, call the center at 763-295-2000 and I can get you a list of those websites.

I hope you all have a safe Memorial Day - don’t forget to remember.

Stay safe and healthy, my friends.

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