We sat down with our new Care Manager, Karin Lubanovic, to learn more about her expertise and commitment to older adults in Minnesota. Karin is a licensed social worker and has experience in case management, program development, and helping people remain connected to their communities. She recently earned her Master of Arts in Social Work from Augsburg University in Minneapolis.
Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?
I’ve been a social worker for four years. My mother was a public health nurse who really enjoyed helping clients in their homes. Her work inspired me, and I knew that I wanted to go into a similar field. After taking a class in college called, “I Want to Help People,” I realized that social work was the best fit for my interests and skills.
Can you share a little about your expertise in working with older adults?
Growing up in Minnesota, I was fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time with the older adults in my life. I noticed that my grandparents had a lot of support and often wondered what would happen if that was not the case. Through my personal life and career, I have found that quite a few people have a piece or two of the puzzle missing when it comes to aging well. For instance, my grandmother – living in Pennsylvania – had her health and some stability, but we realized the one piece she was missing was a sense of community and belonging. She was suffering from isolation. I helped move her to a memory care unit in Minnesota so that she could be closer to family and receive dementia support.
Also, after spending time working within the school district helping youth foster positive relationships, I connected with the Somali population and found that I really enjoyed working with elders in their community. This led me to take a job as a UCare Care Coordinator where I ran their waiver programs through the state, helping older adults receive services such as adult daycare, homemaking, and more. I really liked working with different cultures and after a few years in the field, realized that there was so much more to learn. I really wanted to grow in my own right so I went back to school for my Masters where I focused on older adults and healthcare.
What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
One of the largest lessons for me is to appreciate each person’s unique perspective. People make their own decisions, and while sometimes it is not what I would do or recommend, I really enjoy providing an avenue to help people meet their individual needs in a way that works within their lifestyle. As much as I may think that I know the best answer and have experience navigating a wide variety of situations, people always surprise me and have unique perspectives – it’s nice for me to be able to honor that.
What attracted you to this organization in particular?
After my case management experience, I found that the services Help At Your Door provides are ones that people really, really need and enjoy. You know, simple things like going to church or picking up cards for their grandkids birthdays – while that may not be a big deal to you or me, for an older adult providing that service could be lifechanging. And I think going from the intense one-on-one work with individuals to a role where I can focus on improving systems and processes to make sure that our clients have the best experience possible is one that I can embrace and make a significant impact.
What is one misconception that often comes up about aging?
I think one I’ve heard a lot is that aging is negative. That it is a bad thing. Now, certainly people have their own challenges and struggles and it’s important to honor that for those who may experience chronic pain or are grieving due to the loss of loved ones, but I think our perspective and attitude about aging play a critical role in our health and wellbeing. There are challenges that come with getting older, but there is also a lot of good. When aging is looked at as a privilege, that perspective can manifest itself in people’s lives.
What motivates you to stay involved?
This mission – to help people continue living in their homes, is important to me. The individuals that we help and their stories keep me engaged and motivated.
Celebrate fall with a tasty, hearty soup! This time of year, it is easy to find carrots, cauliflower, turnips, onions, broccoli, cabbage, kale and potatoes. All of these vegetables add vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to your diet.
- 2 carrots, grated or cut into slices
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped or 1 can of diced tomatoes
- Left-over or frozen vegetables, such as green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, green peas, corn, etc.
- 6 cups of water (beef or chicken broth, tomato juice or V8 juice can be used in place of water)
- Meat, cut up, such as cooked chicken or turkey, cooked and crumbled hamburger (optional)
- ½ cup of uncooked pasta (elbow macaroni, shells or rings), rice, or barley (optional)
- Seasonings including pepper, basil, tarragon, a bay leaf (Remove bay leaf when cooking is complete.)
- Grate or chop the vegetables by hand or in a food processor.
- Put all of the ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover the soup.
- Simmer for 1 to 2 hours. Check the soup often and add water as needed.
This soup recipe makes about 10 servings. Leftover soup can be stored in containers and frozen to use for future lunches or dinners. Toast, crackers, or rolls can be served with the soup.
Spring has sprung, and that means saying goodbye to cold weather and hello to spring cleaning and chores around the home. If you would like to assist a senior with preparing for the upcoming season, but live far away, or you don’t have the time or the tools, send them our way. We would love to help.
For those looking for ways to keep an older adult’s home safe this spring, look no further. We’ve adapted a list of important safety tasks to keep your home humming along this season (originally posted by DailyCaring here).
Our trusted Help At Your Door Handyman services offer a variety of springtime assistance. You can pick from the extensive list of help we offer, or let our staff come and assess your home for fall risks and minor repair work:
- Install grab bars (if needed) or make sure existing ones are sturdy and well-attached
- Bath mats are replaced with non-skid low profile mats
- Install a raised toilet seat or safety frame (if needed) or check that existing ones are sturdy
- Tub or shower floor is non-slip
- Automatic night lights make it easy to see at night
- Emergency contact information is clearly posted on the fridge and near the telephone
- Appliances are in good working condition and within easy reach
- Frequently used items are in easy reach
- Unnecessary appliances are put away
- Automatic night lights light the way to the bathroom
- Bedside lamp is easy to turn on and off
- Phone is easy to reach from the bed
- Bed is easy to get into and out of
- Clothes are easy to reach
- Water heater is set to a temperature that won’t scald
- All sinks and drains are in good working order
- Hallways and main floor spaces are clear of clutter
- Electrical cords are secured at the edges of rooms
- Lighting is bright and on/off switches are at every doorway, replace light bulbs as needed or switch to long-lasting LED bulbs
- Change smoke detector batteries or change to a 10-year smoke detector – or change carbon monoxide batteries
- Make sure fire extinguishers are fully charged and easily accessible
- Furniture is sturdy and in good shape – no wobbles
- Flooring is smooth and free of tripping hazards
- Hanging pictures, mirrors, wall décor, curtains or blinds to ensure that they are safely secured on walls
Outside the house
- House numbers are clearly visible from the street, night and day
- Walkways are clear and free of tripping hazards
- Railing and ramp installation and repair
- Screen repair/cleaning
- Fence repair
- Window washing
- Replacing or installing summer screens
- Minor landscaping
Help At Your Door is pleased to welcome Dawn Germscheid to the team as Finance Director.
Dawn Germscheid has more than 30 years of extensive accounting and finance experience in both private and nonprofit sectors. Her experience includes business development, financial system creation and implementation, general ledger accounting, administration, operations and all aspects of non-profit reporting and compliance.
Prior to joining Help at Your Door, Dawn worked for more than 11 years in the non-profit sector in leadership roles. These included Director of Finance and Operations at The Bridge for Youth, Finance Director Consultant for MAP for Non Profits and the Director of Finance and Administration for Wayside House. During these roles she oversaw the operation of the Accounting, Administration, Facility Management, Human Resources and IT Departments. Dawn is a graduate of Northeast Wisconsin College with a degree in Accounting. She is an active member of the Non Profit Finance Group – Twin Cities.
Welcome to Help At Your Door’s website. We are a non-profit agency that helps seniors and people with disabilities remain in their own homes. Our job is to provide you with the services and resources necessary to help you remain vivacious and supported in life, while also providing your family with the knowledge and security to ensure that your home is the best place for you to be.
Our services are for those needing some practical assistance with tasks to stay comfortable at home. Our services are ideal for:
- Older adults who need help with a number of little things
- Those recovering from hospital stays
- Individuals with sensory or mobility impairment
- Elderly and people with disabilities who want to stay at home
When you choose Help At Your Door’s services, you receive a team who will help meet your individual needs with an increasing array of services to help you stay in your home.
We are sorry for the inconvenience, but we are currently under construction. Our new site will feature our expanded services, including handyman, transportation and companion and home care services. Check back in January for further information!
In the meantime, if you need immediate assistance, please contact 651.209.1855 and a friendly Help At Your Door staff member will be happy to assist you. Or, visit our current website: www.storetodoor.org