Resource Highlight: Family Pathways

The following article is submitted by the ACT on Alzheimer’s Pine City Action Team as we seek to fulfill our goal of sharing resources and information as a dementia-friendly community.  Anyone interested in more information or how to become involved with making Pine City a Dementia friendly community can contact: Cathy Gilmore ACT on ALZ Pine City coordinator at 320-310-1313 or

Do you know where to turn when your older loved ones need help?

Together, we’ve got this.

It’s undeniable. Families experience many stages of life. Unfortunately, as parents, grandparents and others age, navigating life can become tough and often affects the entire family. Most people are unprepared and need assistance as they begin this new and uncharted journey. Family Pathways’ Aging Services is where people turn to in East Central Minnesota for support and guidance.

Advancing the health, safety and well-being of older adults and their families when they need it most, Family Pathways Aging Services offers long-term and cost effective services for older adults as well as their caregivers. The goal is to help maintain independent living for as long as possible. Identification and management of safety risks are at the heart of the matter as well as integrating the older adult into their community. This helps to reduce isolation and loneliness.

In 2016, Aging Services supported 819 older adults and their caregivers. In order to make a significant community impact, we have built relationships with other public, private, and faith-based organizations to better meet the needs of an isolated rural area.  

What is our service area?

Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs and Pine Counties and the City of Forest Lake.

What types of education does Aging Services offer?

Classes and training are offered to help guide older adults and/or their caregivers to find and connect with services they need. Workshops are also provided that are designed specifically to help keep older adults in their homes such as Matter of Balance, Living Well with Chronic Conditions, Powerful Tools for Caregivers, Journey to Wellness as You Age, Caregiver Essentials, Elder Abuse Awareness, and Advance Directive Planning. Staff is also available to lead Dementia Friends training.

What types of Home-Based Services are offered?

Home-based services for the community include social visits from friendly, trained volunteer companions, assisted transportation to the grocery store or medical appointments, and homemaking help for light housekeeping.  To accomplish this, dedicated volunteers provide hundreds of hours and valuable support. All volunteers have background checks and receive training before they are matched with a client.  

What types of supportive programs are offered?

Caregiver consulting is a service provided for caregivers, families, and neighbors who may or may not live with the care receiver.  This personalized service focuses on the caregiver to provide the knowledge, skills, and tools they need to achieve a balanced life while caring for another person.  Many caregivers work outside of the home and may have families. This dramatically increases the need for expert assistance with resources, education, and training. It also saves the family precious time and energy.

Caregiver Consulting is available in person, by telephone, email, through one on one home visits, or other meeting locations.  The focus is on developing a relationship with a consultant who is an expert in local resources, medical advocacy, education, and classes to assist with positive solutions that empower and encourage caregivers to help their loved one age well at home.  Consulting services, support groups, and educational classes have been shown to delay moves to Assisted Living and Nursing Homes anywhere from three months to several years.  

In-home respite service provides caregivers with a helping hand or much needed break. A dedicated and trained volunteer, along with guidance from experienced staff, goes to the care recipient’s home to visit while the caregiver takes time for themselves. Whether work needs to get done, an appointment be kept, or  a break is desperately needed, in-home respite is a great option. While the caregiver is taking a break, their loved one can participate in various activities such as listening to music, doing a craft, baking cookies, or playing cards. Staff is trained in dementia care and has memory kits available for trained volunteers.  

We are also piloting our first Memory Café in Kanabec and Isanti Counties that welcomes people from all our entire service area. Memory Café is a unique and fun way to bring people together who are experiencing various levels of memory loss. Caregivers, relatives, and friends also enjoy the Memory Café as they are able to socialize with others who have common experiences in a dementia friendly setting.

Who provides the services?

Family Pathways Aging Services is led by manager, Lise Arseneau Lee who holds a MA Degree in Sociology Specializing in Gerontology. She has ten years of experience working in services for the aging.

Aging Specialists, Maria Bowen Lourey, Collette Colucci, and Stacy Nolting have a combined 52 years of experience working with older adults. Caregiver Consultants, Lori Lestina, Jayne Mund, and Anita Sparks have a combined 75 years of experience working with caregivers. Social Respite Coordinator, Angie Detert has five years of experience working with older adults.

Is there a cost for services?

We receive funding through grants, donations and thrift store revenue. We also request clients contribute through a sharing of cost; however services are available regardless of one’s ability to contribute.