Silver insights

“So this will be our new normal.”

These were the words my family used when my daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. We would need to keep her free from all gluten food products in order to protect and heal her damaged system.

In a houseful of teenagers, filling nutritional needs and plain old never-ending appetites was full time work, but not complicated. Now we would have to change the way we do everything related to food purchases, storage, prepping and cooking. This seemed overwhelming.

But with the help of dietitians, doctors, online research, local organizations and other gluten-allergic friends, we learned to adapt, grocery shop and cook in a new way. Two years later, we are at our new normal, and it seems a natural place to be. It wasn’t always easy, fun or successful, and some days are still challenging but we stick with the regimen.

We now have a healthy daughter and a healthy appreciation for others facing a life-changing diagnosis, many of which are much bigger than this.

Life throws changes at us regularly. For some we wait expectantly (a new baby or spring!) For others we accept reluctantly (a health crisis or relocation.) But, at every age and stage we are pressed to adapt to many new “normals”. This, at best, exhilarates us and, at worst, derails us. How we respond depends on how we personally process the issue, engage in the change, and reach out for help when we need it.

Most people 60 or older have accumulated a long list of life’s changes. In my work with seniors and their families, I have often noted that attitude certainly plays a factor, but so does a willingness to use available helps along the way.

In 2019, US News ranked Minnesota third best in the nation for aging. We boast a high percentage of resource related agencies and programs to help them with everything from solid financial planning and health care, to nutritious meals and overall family support. Fortunately older adult resources are plentiful. Finding them, on the other hand, can seem elusive.

If you don’t know where to start, here is a top 10 list of local resources for seniors. If you don’t need them now, you or someone you know will in the future, so keep it handy for when you do.

1. Senior LinkAge LineUnder the MN Board on Aging, this is a FREE statewide information and assistance service. It is the first number to call for anything related to 60+ resources in your area. Call 1-800-333-2433 for information.

2. Carver County Veterans ServicesThis is an often overlooked but amazing service offered to veterans. When you call, you will be assigned a case manager who will provide one on one assistance to determine eligibility and walk you through the application process. Call 952-442-2323 for information.

4. Community Action Partnership (CAP)

CAP is a nonprofit organization which works to create access to nutritious food and safe and stable housing. They host several eat in meal and meal delivery programs in the Scott, Carver and Dakota County area. Call 952-496-2125 for information.

3. Carver County Home and Community- Based Care

This department of local government provides programs designed to support the elderly and people with disabilities to remain living as independently in the community as possible. Call 952-361-1999 to schedule a FREE in-home assessment for eligibility and need.

4. Local Transit Services

Our area offers very safe, inexpensive and reliable transportation for seniors. Southwest Prime and Prime MD, at 952-797-7463, offer door to door service. WeCab, at 1-844-743-3932, offers volunteer based door to door rides.

5. Your Local 55+ Community Center: Chanhassen Senior Center

Located at 7700 Market Blvd, it offers many educational and entertainment programs, day trips, card clubs, small group and individual resources, meal services and more. Call 952-227-1124 for more information and activity catalogs.

6. The Minnesota Bar Association

This voluntary association of lawyers can find legal assistance related to helping elders manage their finances, or offer them additional protection if they have been a victim of fraud or abuse. Contact them at 612-333-1183 or mnbar.org.

7. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) website

Seniors typically take several prescriptions and over the counter medications. Consumers can use this database, at MedlinePlus.gov/druginformation, to search for information on medications, including uses, dosing recommendations, side effects and interactions. It also has a database of detailed information for herbal remedies and dietary supplements.

8. Benefits Checkup.org

This non-profit site run by the National Council on Aging, and developed specifically for seniors, features a comprehensive Benefit Finder tool that serves as a single access point for information on federal, state and local programs from across different federal agencies.

9. Your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives

Every senator and congressman has a staff specialist on elder affairs, programs and services, who can both advise and advocate for benefits or services for you and your loved one. Contact information for your senators and representatives can be found on the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives websites.

10. Local 55+ programming

Here are just a few of the ways to get connected at the Chanhassen Senior Center. Call 952-227-1124 for more information.

Luck o’ the Irish Celebration! Tuesday, March 17, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The price is $12 to $13. Chris Kalogerson and his Hibernian Duo kick up their Irish ballads for this fun event. We’ll enjoy a potato bar lunch after the show.

Events