A Note From Don
photo of tub cut
Aging In Place Services – A New Focus
for our Home Access Program
What is Aging in Place?   Aging in Place means remaining in one’s home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level.  It means the pleasure of living in a familiar environment throughout one’s maturing years and the ability to enjoy the familiar daily rituals and the special events that enrich all our lives.  It means the reassurance of being able to call a house a “home” for a lifetime.   

We are an aging population.  The phenomenon often referred to as “The Silver Tsunami” references the fact that people aged 65 or older is anticipated to double in number over the next 3 decades.  We know that as we age, we naturally acquire disability.  Very easily our homes can become inaccessible to us, denying us access, accessibility and control throughout the home.  Wilder Research conducted a study in December of 2016 of Home Renovation & Rehabilitation Needs of Older Adult Homeowners in Minnesota.  It is estimated that 10,400 older adult households (65+) in greater Minnesota (outside the Minneapolis metro area) need some form of home modification in order to remain within their homes for another 5 years.  Home modifications and assistive technology solutions can enhance accessibility, control and access within the family home that can allow seniors to age in place safely.

Over the past decade Access North has been quite successful with ramp installations in northeastern Minnesota but it has become quite clear that whenever a home access ramp is needed to gain home access, many other accessibility barriers often exist throughout the home.  Our Home Access Program is now providing comprehensive services to allow people to “Age in Place” successfully within their own homes.  

Access North utilizes a team based approach which encompasses the expertise of a  Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) to understand the unique accessibility needs of the older adult population and identify solutions to common barriers. Typical projects may include: grab bars, handrails, bathtub cuts, door widening, relocation of laundry, bathroom or bedroom, transfer poles, wheelchair ramps or lifts, accessible porches & decks, kitchen modifications, and much more. Incorporating assistive technology is an important feature in the program.  Through the use of our  Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) , we can help people improve their independence in performing daily living activities throughout their home.  Our ATP can assist with identifying aids for daily living, mobility, hearing, vision, electronic aids, computer applications and home & environmental control systems that can support independence in any environment.   Our  Independent Living Specialists (ILS) will assist in project planning/management, identifying funding sources and helping people through the process.  

Access North is committed to bringing people with disabilities and those feeling the effects of aging the resources, information, expertise, and skills necessary in order for them to thrive within the communities of their choosing while remaining within their home!
Printer Donations
Access North has more printers to donate to our consumers thanks to the generosity of the Target Corporation. These laser printers are higher quality and the ink will last significantly longer than a standard ink jet printer.   Please call our office if you’d like to request one of these printers (218-262-6675).    
photo of melissa canfield
Congratulations to Melissa Canfield
Melissa has accepted the position of 245D Waiver Service Coordinator.  In this role Melissa will be providing oversight to our fee based service provision throughout our 10 county service area.  Melissa is also a new member to our Leadership Team here at Access North.  Melissa had previously worked as an Independent Living Specialist in our Aitkin office.  If you have questions or would like to learn more about our fee based services, please reach out to Melissa at 218-824-1421.  
Welcome to Kiri Basore and Cassandra Conn.  They will be providing independent living services out of our Aitkin and Brainerd locations.  We are excited to add new Independent Living Specialists to our southern service area to better meet the needs of Crow Wing, Aitkin and Carlton Counties!  
Linda's Garden
Linda has been a consumer of Steve Backholm's (IL Specialist, Walker) for a long time. As a Peer, she started with the Garden Club at Walker in 2017. In March, 2018, she moved to South Dakota. Linda has adjusted very well to living there. This year she even started her own garden with the knowledge acquired from working in the garden last year. Her garden consists of 16 tomatoes, potatoes, 2 peppers, green beans, onions, cucumbers, beets, squash, lettuce and cantaloupe. Her experience with our small garden here blossomed into a full-size garden there (pun intended)!
Also, working as a Peer with the Cooking Group, Linda gained confidence and is comfortable instructing larger groups of people.
Linda is missed very much!
How Assistive Technology got this chef
back into the workforce (kitchen)
Sheri Cooke, Access North Independent Living Specialist and Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) was called out to meet with a young man tha t had been in a horrible accident. He had been struck by a car going 55 mph which resulted in the loss of his right arm, a brain injury and many other back and internal injuries. He had many months in the hospital and then rehab.  Being determined, he decided to reach out to Vocational Rehabilitative services and try to get back into the workforce.
Before the accident, he was a 5-star chef and he really wanted to stay within food service if possible. He was able to get a work trial at a local pizza restaurant. Having many new barriers that he had not had before, this young man needed a way to do food prep and other kitchen duties differently than what he was use to. Vocational Rehabilitiative Services (VRS) called and asked for an Assistive Technology (AT) assessment. After meeting and observing this young man at work and also talking to the owner, it became clear that he had to be able to trim time off of his kitchen duties in order to work in a kitchen setting.  Sheri went back out and brought many AT devices for trial, went over use of AT devices and left those with him. Among those used were a ULU rocker knife and bowl, Swedish cutting board, Dycem non-slip roll, butter knife/spreader and a professional kitchen cart with locking wheels and stainless steel top. A couple weeks later she called and spoke with him and he was so happy with how things were going.  He had said that the restaurant owner just offered him a permanent position there as the AT devices she brought out for the trial had done such a great job of removing most of his barriers. 
Sheri spoke with VRS staff that referred him to us and put together a write up along with order and product information on all of the AT devices trialed.   Two weeks later she found out that VRS had ordered all of the AT devices for this young man and he now had the devices. Sheri then went to visit this young man one last time and also pick up Access North's AT devices to put back into our AT loan program for others to trial. This young man reports that "Everything is going so well!" and "Thank You so much!"
Helping a Frustrated Mom
Access North of Aitkin received a call from a single mother who was frustrated and struggling with meeting her child's needs, due to lack of funds. The mother felt helpless because she was unable to provide the necessary tools for the child to live his life to the fullest capacity. Upon meeting with the mother, we were able to address his needs and to connect her with a case manager from Aitkin County. Through our collaboration with the county we were able to get the child's application for Medicaid through the State Medical Review Team process ( SMRTed - this is the process when there has been no disability determination by the Social Security Administration and the disability is expected to last 12 months or longer. ). Once the child was SMRTed we proceeded with assisting the mother in applying for SSI, which he was quickly approved for. The mother was ecstatic with our services, knowledge and quickness of the overall process. The child now has access to more services and can live his life to the fullest.
What is Independent Living?
We believe people with disabilities should leave a life of pity, poverty and dependency behind.
We believe and demand equal opportunities and we expect to be given the same responsibilities as everybody else.
We believe disability is a natural pat of being human and we work to remove barriers that keep us from living full and meaningful lives.
We believe employment should be the first and preferred outcome for all persons with disabilities.
We believe when we live in our own home, we will live longer, be happier, and it will save the taxpayer money.
We believe accessibility is not only the law, but an important key to making our communities better places to live, work and play for everybody.
Cooking Class & Movie/Game Night Busy
in the Hibbing office
One of our 5 core services involves Peer Mentoring and Support Groups. We offer many different groups throughout our service area (check out this link to see what is available in your area!)

Our Hibbing office has been busy with Gardening Class this summer - growing zucchini, strawberries and other healthy foods. After picking some of the zucchini out of the garden, class took it into our accessible kitchen to fry it up, then play Mario games as well as try out our Giant Jenga that was made for our Pig-in-the-Park Picnics.
Second Annual Framing Hope Flea Market
a Huge Success!
Photo of flea market
On Thursday, May 31, Access North held its 2nd Annual Framing Hope Flea Market. This was an opportunity for our Consumers to shop for free from our inventory of Home Depot products donated to us throughout the year. Approximately 57 of our consumer shoppers received over 600 items. We are so happy to be able to give these items FREE OF CHARGE to our consumers to help in their homes!
Thank you to all who came out!

Photo of flea market
Photo of flea market
Photo of flea market
Home Modification Collaboration Success
All of our office locations work hard on building relationships with other service providers in their particular area to help our consumers the best way we can. This is one instance of that. Steve Backholm (IL Specialist in Walker), worked with Faith in Action to make this home safer and more accessible for our consumer. He used our $500 Home Modification Mini-Grant in combination with the volunteer help from Faith in Action to buy the wood and have these railings installed. Many thanks to all who helped to complete this project and make this home safer and more accessible!
Photo of railing
Photo of railing
Photo of railing
Photo of railing
Featured Recipe
photo of mousse fluff
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Instant pudding mix
Make the instant pudding according to the package directions, only substitute heavy whipping cream for the milk. Use a hand or electric mixer until it is super thick and fluffy! You c an also add your choice of fruit, freeze or use as pie filling!
To make this low-carb, use sugar-free pudding mix.
Pig in the Park logo
4th Annual Pig-in-the-Park Picnics Scheduled
Our 4th Annual Pig-in-the-Park picnics will be held on ...

Tuesday, August 14 from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. at Lincoln Park, Duluth
~ and ~
Thursday, August 16 from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. at Bennett Park, Hibbing.
If you are a consumer, employee or a professional collaborative partners that works with us throughout the year, we would LOVE to have you come and join us at our picnic. 

We will have pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs, brats, nachos, desserts (great food) as well as temporary tattoos, games, rock painting and lots of fun!