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328 West Conan Street
Ely, Minnesota 55731


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Caregiving Fact Sheet

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5 Tips to Help Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's can start formulating in your brain as early as your 30s. Follow these tips to change your lifestyle for better brain health.

Most people think of Alzheimer's as an old person's disease, but doctors say it can actually start formulating in your brain as early as your 30s. While that might be a scary thought, there are a few lifestyle changes you can make now that experts believe could impact your risk of developing the disease.

"One out of three cases of Alzheimer's may be preventable if that person does everything right," explained Dr. Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell & New York-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City.

1. Exercise regularly, at a high intensity.

Exercise can protect against Alzheimer's because it not only increases blood flow to the brain, but it loosens up that amyloid plaque, the bad sticky stuff that gets caught up and gunked up in the brain of a person with Alzheimer's disease.

Any exercise helps, but experts recommend getting at least three hours of rigorous activity a week. Ideally, that would be two cardio workouts and one strength-training session.

2. Get at least 7.5 hours of quality sleep every night.

When you sleep, the brain can clean out the damaging amyloid plaques.

Turn off the electronics, no bright lights from the screens, no texting, no emails. Have a quiet, dark room. And clear your mind.

3. Eat right and eat less.

Avoid sugar and processed foods, and consider switching to a Mediterranean diet. The brain shrinks as you age, but a study published in The Journal of Neurology found people in their mid-70s who consumed a Mediterranean diet (more fruits, veggies, olive oil, and less meat and cheese) lost less brain mass than people who ate a diet more typical of their country. A bigger brain later in life is beneficial and could protect from diseases like Alzheimer's.

Experts say the best brain diet is comprised of foods like leafy greens, whole fruits and vegetables. While you shouldn't obsess over counting calories, try to aim for 2,100 calories a day.

4. Get your blood checked every year.

Having high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes is a way towards Alzheimer's disease ... Know your blood pressure, know your fasting blood sugar, know what your cholesterol is.

5. Keep your brain challenged.

Your brain wants to be used and wants to learn something new every day.  Participate in lectures, community ed, read books…even visiting web sites and using apps that feature brain exercises have been linked to dramatically lower rates of dementia in seniors.

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You matter

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Wishing you...

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Office Closed for the Holidays - Will reopen Thursday, January 2, 2020

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Dementia Training Opportunity

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Festival of Trees 2019

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Aging Mastery Program starts Tuesday, October 15th

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Healthy Aging Expo

Northwoods Partners will host their 10th Annual Health Aging Expo on Thursday October 10 from 9-3 at Amici’s Event Center (10 W. Pattison Street, Ely).  The Healthy Aging Expo is an event dedicated to Senior Adults’ Healthy Lifestyles, Education and Caregiver Support. 

This years Expo features a wide variety of presentations by area experts, including Dr. Joe Bianco presenting Healthy Approaches to Pain.  Michel Coyle, CEO Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital (EBCH) will address the Future of Aging in Ely. Dr. Crystal Chopp will present “Aging Gracefully Also Includes Taking Care of Your Smile”.  Sheri Cook & Laura Lussier from the Lighthouse Center for Vision Loss will talk about “Technology & Me: Using Technology to Improve Health, Safety & Quality of Life”, Michelle Moore & Autumn Cole “Get Fit! Get Happy!”, and Peter Heffen “Dementia Friendly Living”.  

Doors will open at 9am for vendor table viewing.  Pebble Spa will be offering FREE chair massages from 9-10am.  EBCH will be providing FREE flu shots throughout the day. Speakers will begin at 10am.  Your $5 admission will also cover Lunch.  Don’t miss this opportunity to improve your health & well-being!

Questions? Please contact Lisa Porthan at 365-8019

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Healthy Aging Expo October 10th

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Healthy Aging Expo

Northwoods Partners will be hosting the 10th annual Healthy Aging Expo (formerly Elder Expo Ely) on Thursday, October 10th 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 9:00 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. Lunch will be served.

Confirmed speakers include:

Michelle Moore, Heavy Metal Sports

Dr. Joe Bianco, Essentia Health

Michael Coyle, Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital

Dr. Crystal Chopp, Ely Family Dental

Peter Heffen, Age Well Arrowhead

Lighthouse for Vision Loss

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Senior Law Discussion

Join Northwoods Partners as we host Kristin Parendo from the Senior Citizens Law Project
Topic: Senior Legal Issues
Tuesday, August 13th
1 pm – 3 pm
Ely Bloomenson Hospital Community Conference Room

Please RSVP to Northwoods Partners @ 218-365-8019

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Get Your Tickets Now

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Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits

How Giving to Others Makes You Healthier and Happier

With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering are enormous to you, your family, and your community. The right match can help you reduce stress, find friends, connect with the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career. Giving to others can also help protect your mental and physical health. Continue reading to learn more about the many benefits of helping others.

Why volunteer?
Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. Volunteering and helping others can reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose. While it’s true that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you’ll experience, volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your busy day. Giving in even simple ways can help those in need and improve your health and happiness.  Read on to explore the 3 ways volunteering can make you feel healthier and happier.
Benefit 1: Volunteering connects you to others
One of the more well-known benefits of volunteering is the impact on the community. Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. Even helping out with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people, animals, and organizations in need. And volunteering is a two-way street: It can benefit you and your family as much as the cause you choose to help. Dedicating your time as a volunteer helps you make new friends, expand your network, and boost your social skills.
  • Make new friends and contacts:  One of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, especially if you are new to an area. It strengthens your ties to the community and broadens your support network, exposing you to people with common interests, neighborhood resources, and fun and fulfilling activities.
  • Increase your social and relationship skills:  While some people are naturally outgoing, others are shy and have a hard time meeting new people. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice and develop your social skills, since you are meeting regularly with a group of people with common interests. Once you have momentum, it’s easier to branch out and make more friends and contacts.
  • Volunteering as a family:  Children watch everything you do. By giving back to the community, you’ll show them firsthand how volunteering makes a difference and how good it feels to help other people and animals and enact change. It’s also a valuable way for you to get to know organizations in the community and find resources and activities for your children and family.

Benefit 2: Volunteering is good for your mind and body
Volunteering provides many benefits to both mental and physical health.
  • Volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety. The social contact aspect of helping and working with others can have a profound effect on your overall psychological well-being. Nothing relieves stress better than a meaningful connection to another person. Working with pets and other animals has also been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Volunteering combats depression. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against depression.
  • Volunteering makes you happy. By measuring hormones and brain activity, researchers have discovered that being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure. Human beings are hard-wired to give to others. The more we give, the happier we feel.
  • Volunteering increases self-confidence. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.
  • Volunteering provides a sense of purpose. Older adults, especially those who have retired or lost a spouse, can find new meaning and direction in their lives by helping others. Whatever your age or life situation, volunteering can help take your mind off your own worries, keep you mentally stimulated, and add more zest to your life.
  • Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not. Older volunteers tend to walk more, find it easier to cope with everyday tasks, are less likely to develop high blood pressure, and have better thinking skills. Volunteering can also lessen symptoms of chronic pain and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Benefit 3: Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life
Volunteering is a fun and easy way to explore your interests and passions. Doing volunteer work you find meaningful and interesting can be a relaxing, energizing escape from your day-to-day routine of work, school, or family commitments. Volunteering also provides you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life.

Many people volunteer in order to make time for hobbies outside of work as well. For instance, if you have a desk job and long to spend time outdoors, you might consider volunteering to help plant a community garden, walk dogs for an animal shelter, or go for a walk with a senior.
Adapted from


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Caregiver Support Groups

More than 65 million people, that’s 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one.

Caregiving is a tough and isolating experience.  Caregiver support groups provide an opportunity to connect with others that are in similar situations.  Support group members validate each other’s experiences.  They are a great place to ask for advice, find out about useful resources, and it’s a place to vent your frustrations.  Nobody will judge you, because everyone there is going through many of the same struggles.  It’s a safe place to share feelings and get support.  You are not alone! We encourage you to join us:


Babbitt Support Group

1st Monday of the Month

1 - 2:30 pm

Carefree Living Babbitt


Ely Support Group

4th Monday of the Month

10 - 11:30 am

Ely Hospital  - Conference Room B


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Virtual Dementia Tour

Virtual Dementia Tour by Second Wind Dreams
This is an incredible opportunity to “walk in someone’s shoes” who has dementia. 
The tour is designed to change one’s perception of the disease
by trying to perform simple everyday tasks. 
This is accomplished by having participants wear
specialized gear meant to simulate the feelings caused by dementia. 
This can cause confusion, frustration, understanding and physical limitations
for the participants as they attempt to complete the tour.

Tuesday, October 16th
Ely Hospital Community Conference Room

Two Sessions are being offered
10 am – noon
1 pm – 3 pm

Space is limited – call to reserve your spot

We hope you can join us for this life changing experience.
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Healthy Aging Expo

Northwoods Partners will be hosting the 9th annual Healthy Aging Expo (formerly Elder Expo Ely) on Thursday, September 20th 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 9:00 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.

At 9:30 our Executive Director, Lisa Porthan, will kick off the Expo with an update on Northwoods Partners and the debut of our new video.  Speakers will begin at 10 am.

Lunch will be served. The cost of the event is $5. You can RSVP by calling the Northwoods Partners office at 365-8019.

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Thank You!

Thank You to 100+ Ely Women Who Care. 

On May 6, 2018 Northwoods Partners was selected as the charity to receive their donations totaling  over $7,000. 

Thank You!

For more information on 100+ Ely Women Who Care visit their web site



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Dementia Friendly @ Work Training

~ Lunch & Learn ~

Wednesday, April 25th

11:30 - 1:00pm

Ely Hospital Community Conference Room


For staff of business and service organizations and all other community settings

More than 90,000 Minnesotans age 65+ are living with Alzheimer’s. The annual number of Alzheimer’s cases and other dementias is projected to triple by 2050. These numbers will touch us all because they represent family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, colleagues, clients, and customers. 


Training Objectives

Learn what dementia is and some Alzheimer’s facts
Recognize the signs of Alzheimer’s
Learn tips for communicating and interacting with a person who has dementia
Learn tips for creating a dementia-friendly physical space
Get familiar with resources in your community


By participating in this training, you will help your business or organization heighten its awareness of dementia and be equipped to respond warmly and effectively when serving people living with dementia and their families.

Lunch Provided

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Cures for the Winter Blues

This is the time of year for craving spring! Many people feel they are losing their minds being cooped up inside for days on end and are tired of battling the cold weather. This cooping-up experience has come to be known as cabin fever. Cabin fever is defined as “a state characterized by anxiety, restlessness, and boredom, arising from a prolonged stay in a remote or confined place.” Your ‘place’ could be in your home or it could be in your mind.


The American Medical Association characterize the symptoms of cabin fever as:

• A lack of patience
• Always feeling tired
• Feeling unproductive and unmotivated
• Feeling sad or depressed
• Lethargy
• Difficulty concentrating
• Craving carbohydrates or sugar
• Difficulty waking in the morning
• Social withdrawal
• Irritability


Depression is also common in the winter months. A percentage of the population suffers from an affliction called “Seasonal Affective Disorder,” or SAD. In people with SAD, the lack of natural sunlight in the winter time upsets the sleep-wake cycle and other body rhythms, as well as the release of serotonin, one of the brain’s “feel-good” chemicals.


So, what are some KEYS to overcome cabin fever and beat the winter blues?

**Creativity and thinking outside the box may be necessary during these months.


Keep the Mind Active

  • Keep the mind active- by participating in mental exercises.
  • Purchase games such as crossword puzzles or Sudoku, buy jigsaw puzzles or other hobby items to entertain and keep the mind thinking and analyzing.
  • Consider shutting off all the electronics and UNPLUG for a while. Decrease your screen time and do things that are more interactive like reading books, magazines or breaking out a game board/puzzle. The key is to stimulate the brain and interact with others.
  • If a senior is hearing or vision impaired, look to the local library for books on tape.


Keep the Body Active      

  • Get regular exercise - Even if seniors cannot get outside, they can find ways to be active in their homes. They can use an exercise DVD or VHS tape or stream a video from the Internet. They can walk laps around their home. Many seniors may have a home exercise plan prescribed by a therapist. This exercise plan may include simple sit to stand and leg lift exercises. On days when it is warmer, they can go for a walk with a family member or caregiver.
  • Physical activity lowers the emission of physiological chemicals in the body that bring on anxiety and depression. This makes exercising especially beneficial for people with the winter blues. Working out also relieves stress and, when people are more relaxed, they are less likely to remain in a depressive state, according to the Mayo Clinic. Snowshoeing, cross country skiing, sledding or taking your camera on a winter walk to capture the beauty of the season can be enjoyable.
  • If you can’t go for a walk in the great outdoors, the next best thing is a regular indoor exercise routine. Shopko walking, fitness centers (Studio North, Heavy Metal) or Matter of Balance classes or Tai Ji Quan offered by Northwoods Partners.
  • Indoors- turn up the music and dance, dance, dance!


Focus on Nutrition

Foods with too much sugar or caffeine can make seniors feel jittery or alter their moods. Foods such as pasta and other carbohydrates often leave a person feeling tired and sluggish, which adds to the winter blues. Take advantage of fresh fruits this time of the year, such as apples and oranges. Eat small, balanced meals regularly rather than skipping meals and eating larger meals later in the day.

Stay hydrated!

Winter is a very dry season so drink plenty of water! **A drop of just 2% in body water causes short term memory problems and significant difficulties with concentration. Good hydration helps you become mentally alert throughout the day.

Eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible and consider Vitamin D supplement benefits.


Social Interactions are a MUST

Even if you cannot get out of the house for days at a time, you still can interact with others.  Chat online; send messages on Facebook or Skype or Facetime with long-distance family. Call family and friends on the phone.

Consider church events and meals, breakfast or lunch outings with friends or coffee get-togethers when able.


Find Productive Activities

Indulge in a hobby. Dig out something fun to do. Perhaps you love to knit but haven’t touched the needles in ages. Maybe you want to brush up on your painting skills. The Dollar Store offers lots of activity ideas for cheap. Even less creative endeavors, like organizing that closet that always has stuff falling out on your head, can keep you busy and feeling productive.


LET in the LIGHT

The winter blues are often intensified by the lack of sunlight common in the colder months. You can boost your mood by opening the blinds so sun shines through your windows. Also, spend some time outdoors, even when sunlight is faint in the winter; the direct sunlight is healthy for people

  • Light therapy, or phototherapy, has been proven to help people with seasonal affective disorder. For this treatment, patients sit a few feet away from a box that emits bright light. According to the Mayo Clinic, the light emulates sunlight and alters the chemicals in the human brain that are connected to mood. The light therapy sessions should last from half an hour to 90 minutes a day during the winter



Consider local charities, hospital, organizations that would benefit from volunteer help. Often Caregivers and Care Receivers can volunteer together and both parties will get an emotional boost.


Get out of town

The most drastic of cabin fever cases will benefit greatly from a ticket to the warm South or to a Caribbean Island. If you cannot afford such a trip, take a mini-vacation up the North Shore or to Minneapolis to a spa, gym or even a shopping mall where you can move around and revitalize yourself.



  • Visit greenhouses or do winter gardening in the home or start perusing the seed catalog to plant your spring garden. Keep a bouquet of fresh flowers and fresh fruits on your table, plan an indoor winter picnic or other themed get-togethers.
  • Join community education classes (cooking, language, fitness, hobbies).
  • Attend movies at the theater, local plays and music concerts, bring out the board games and invite others in, or be a tourist and visit a local museum or attraction.
  • Even decluttering and organizing your home can create a sense of productivity, order, and free up more usable space.
  • Self-care is also important. Massages, aromatherapy, a trip to the hair salon, manicures, and pedicures (even for men) may offer some relief and uplift, as well.

~Adapted from Cures for the Winter Blues by Kris Dwyer

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