Caregiver's Corner

328 West Conan Street
Ely, Minnesota 55731


Northwoods Partners News

The latest news from NP

The Importance of Social Interaction over the Holidays

Social interaction is important at any age, but especially for seniors as studies show that social connections have added health benefits.


Improves Overall Health

There has always been a strong correlation between social interaction and health amongst people of all age groups.  Social interaction is especially important for older adults because it enhances the immune system while also keeping mental and physical health in peak condition.


Lowers Blood Pressure

Volunteering 200 hours a year can enhance your social life while lowering high blood pressure by up to 40%.


Sharpens Memory

Social activities can sharpen your mind, resulting in a greater sense of self-confidence and an upbeat attitude.


A Happier Life

Seeing family members and friends on a daily basis can help boost the spirits of anyone, especially seniors.


Ways to stay Social and Active in Ely


Attend Northwoods Partners Memories and Movement

Wednesdays 10:30-11:30 am at Ely Senior Center


Participate in the Community Exercise Group

Thursdays 10:30-11:30 am at First Lutheran Church


Join Silver Sneakers at Studio North

Tuesdays and Thursdays 9-10 am


Share in the fun at Heavy Metal Sports Quintastics (50+ Fabulous) Class

Mondays 5-6 pm and Thursdays 9-10 am


Sign Up for Northwoods Partners upcoming Session of Tai Ji Quan

Starts February 6, 2018

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ACT: Community Meeting

Dementia Friendly Ely
Community Meeting
Thursday, November 2nd
1 - 2:30 pm
Ely Bloomenson Hospital Community Conference Room
Anyone interested in helping make
Ely Dementia Friendly
is welcome to join us
Please RSVP to Northwoods Partners @ 218-365-8019
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ACT Lunch and Learn: Senior Legal Issues

Lunch and Learn with Kristin Parendo,
Senior Citizens Law Project
Topic:  Senior Legal Issues
Wednesday, November 1st
11 am - 12:30 pm
Ely Bloomenson Hospital Community Conference Room
lunch will be provided
Please RSVP to Northwoods Partners @ 218-365-8019
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ACT: Dementia Training


Jenna Herbig from the Alzheimer's Association will be here to present the training session:
Effective Communication Strategies
Understanding & Responding to Dementia Related Behavior
Wednesday, September 20th
Two training sessions will be offered 1-2:30 and 5:30-7
Ely Bloomenson Hospital Community Conference Room
Refreshments will be served
Please RSVP to Northwoods Partners @ 218-365-8019
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reConvening: Ely

Cathy Wurzer is back in town on September 14th for a reConvening to follow-up last year’s successful Convenings event. The reConvening will feature Cathy and special guests for an evening of creativity, storytelling and meaningful conversation about living and dying well. The reConvenings event is free and open to the public.
Join us for this unique and powerful event on the evening of Thursday, September 14th 6:30pm at Vermillion Community College. It just might change the way you look at your life…and your death.
For more information, visit or contact Sadie Rubin (Program Manager for The Convenings) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Healthy Aging Expo

Northwoods Partners ‘Healthy Aging Expo’ on August 9

Northwoods Partners will be hosting the 8th annual Healthy Aging Expo (formerly Elder Expo Ely) on Wednesday, August 9th, from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm at Amici’s Event Center. This event is dedicated to Senior Adults’ Healthy Lifestyles, Education and Caregiver Support. Doors open at 9 am so participants can pick up their punch card and visit over a dozen vendor tables with information and a variety of resources.  The Expo will conclude with completed punch cards being drawn for door prizes.

Speakers will begin at 10 am with our keynote speaker Dr. Terry Barclay Neuropsychologist, Clinical Director, Center for Memory and Aging, Health Partners. Dr. Barclay’s presentation is entitled ‘Check Up from the Neck Up:  Brain Health and Aging.’  Other topics include:  Why we get Fat and What we can do about it, Living Well with Chronic Conditions, Tai Ji Quan:  Moving for Better Balance, Advance Care Planning / Healthcare Directives, Medication Safety, and ACT ~ Dementia Friendly Ely Update.

Lunch will be served. The cost of the event is $5. You can RSVP by calling the Northwoods Partners office at 365-8019.  This event is presented by Northwoods Partners and made possible with the support of the Spiritwood ‘Forget Me Not’ Foundation and ACT on Alzheimer’s’.


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Porthan recognized as Visionary Leader

Congratulations to our very own Executive Director, Lisa Porthan. 

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits presented Lisa Porthan, Northwoods Partners Executive Director with the 2017 Nonprofit  Visionary  Leadership Award at the Nonprofit Leadership Conference held on June 13th in Minneapolis. 

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) is committed to building the strength and integrity of the nonprofit sector statewide.  As part of this commitment MCN recognizes individuals who demonstrate the highest level of integrity and dedication to their mission, community as well as the nonprofit sector.

Lisa has been the Executive Director and Caregiver Consultant at Northwoods Partners since 2008.

Congratulations Lisa!

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Feeling Stretched as a Caregiver?

Powerful Tools for Caregivers is an educational series designed to provide you with the tools you need to take care of yourself.

This program helps family caregivers reduce stress, improve self-confidence, communicate feelings better, balance their lives, increase their ability to make tough decisions and locate helpful resources.

Classes consist of six sessions held once a week.  Two experienced Class Leaders conduct the series (Lisa and Anne~Marie are experienced caregivers themselves, who have successfully applied the techniques they teach).  Interactive lessons, discussions and brainstorming will help you take the “tools” you choose and put them into action for your life.

You will receive a book, The Caregiver Helpbook, developed specifically for the class.  Classes will be FREE, thanks to support from Spiritwood Foundation and Hoops for Hope.

Classes will be held at Ely Bloomenson Hospital-Conference Room B from 10 am to noon.  Sessions are held every Wednesday and begin on March 4th.  For more information or to register, contact Lisa at Northwoods Partners at 365-8019.  Class size is limited and pre-registration is required.

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Friendly visits

Aging is a natural process of life. It begins the moment we are born. Yet strangely enough, many of us live under the illusion that we and our loved ones will never become old. When we or our loved ones reach old age we are often unprepared. Northwoods Care Partners can be there to help you through the journey. NCP provides support services that will enhance the quality of life for individuals who are aged, chronically ill or disabled and provides support for the caregivers and their families.

A very valuable support service we provide is friendly visits. Many elderly people in our community are homebound and have little to no communication with the outside world. A friendly visit from an NCP volunteer can do wonders for these individuals. Research has shown that people live longer when they are surrounded by people they love. We are beings that thrive in community. It is not healthy to not have human contact. The connections that are made between the volunteer and NCP participant are very powerful. Lifelong friendships are made and treasured memories created. Incredible stories are shared and history is carried on through these relationships. Volunteers and NCP participants are amazed at the joy they experience from these new found friends.

NCP also provides hundreds of rides for local and long distance medical appointments. Many individuals not only need a ride but someone to help them into the clinic and sit with them though their appointments. Many NCP participants tell us they often put off going to the doctor because they didn’t know how they would get there or who could accompany them there. NCP can assist our elderly community to get the medical attention they need and deserve. NCP plays a keep role in the continuum of care for our aging population.

NCP is also a wonderful resource for caregivers. Today many adult children are taking on the role as caregiver to their elderly parents. The role as caregiver can be both rewarding and very overwhelming. NCP is able to provide often much needed respite care for the caregivers. Respite care provides a temporary relief for those who are caring for a loved one. It is important the caregiver has a strong support system so they are able to take care of their own needs as well.

NCP can provide a key role in the journey of aging and caregiving. Whether it is a ride to a medical appointments, support group, friendly visit, respite care, exercise program or assistance in connecting with Hospice we are here to help. For more information please call Northwoods Care Partners at our new number 218-365-8019.

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Exercise Buddy Program

In August of 2006, the Center for Disease Control estimated that one in three adults over the age of 65 will fall each year and 20-30% of those falls will result in moderate to severe injuries that will require a life style change.

The Exercise Buddy Program is designed to support anyone who is in need of physical exercise, regardless of age or ability. The goals are to decrease falls, maintain independence, and improve a feeling of well-being through the volunteer visit and increased endorphins created by the exercise.

This program was developed to integrate volunteers with a concise and structured exercise routine for maximum results.

By pairing a volunteer with someone who needs motivation and assistance with a home exercise program, results are achieved that benefit both the mind and the body to bring about physical improvement.

It has been noted that home exercises are frequently prescribed by either a physician or physical therapist but are rarely followed through for more than a brief period of time. The Exercise Buddy Program helps to address this issue and improve compliance with a regular and consistent exercise routine once a week.

“The Exercise Buddy program has been such a boon for my ladies. The program has helped their balance, stamina, and redeveloped their muscle systems. The program has also worked out to be a social function and the ladies look forward to seeing the instructors.” -Sue Scufsa, The Pines Adult Foster Care

Please contact us if you are interested in participating in the Exercise Buddy Program, either as a recipient or a volunteer.

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NEW Family Memory Care Program Helps with Alzheimer’s

Did you know…5.3 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease? One in eight American’s aged sixty-five and over has Alzheimer’s. It is anticipated that with the aging of the baby boomers, the number of American’s with Alzheimer’s will likely reach 13.5 million in 2050. Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that develops gradually and is characterized by the destruction of nerve cells, especially in the areas of the brain vital to memory and learning. At this time there is no cure for the disease, only treatment strategies, to help manage the symptoms.

Alzheimer’s disease causes many difficult challenges for both the person diagnosed with the disease and their caregiver’s. It is important those involved recognize they do not have to face these challenges alone. It is important to stay connected with family and friends. It is also important to know the resources available to you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. To be able to provide care for others you must first care for yourself physically and emotionally. By seeking the help from family members and friends and obtaining advice from professionals you can improve the quality of life for both yourself and your loved one. Though there is not a cure for the disease right now there are many things that can be done to ease the symptoms, strengthen emotions & raise spirits.

Northwoods Care Partners is happy to now offer a Family Memory Care Program which helps guide you and your family through the Alzheimer’s journey. Research has found that the Family Memory Care program can reduce your stress and increase family support as you care for your loved one living with Alzheimer’s. Our caregiver consultant can meet with you and help assess your situation and discuss your concerns. Our consultant will help you and your family understand Alzheimer’s disease and how the disease may progress over time. We will work with you and your family on developing a plan that supports you. We will discuss strategies for coping with personality and behavior changes and assist you in obtaining resources and other supportive services. At this time there is no charge for this service. NCP is a non-profit organization that is funded by grants from United Way, NYUCI Family Memory Care grant from Administration on Aging, Older Americans Act Title IIIB and by generous donations from businesses and individuals. If you have questions please contact Lisa Porthan at NCP 218-365-8019 or visit our office at 328 West Conan Ely, MN.

Information from Alzheimer’s Association Mayo Clinic guide to Alzheimer’s Disease; Published by Mayo Clinic Health Information Rochester, Minnesota.

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