HARTINGTON — “Caring about others” was the reason close to 20 people gathered in Hartington last Thursday evening.
Cedar County Community Caretakers, which was first organized close to 25 years ago, continues to reach out to others and offer help.
The Cedar County Community Caretakers is similar to a wheel with spokes which includes Life-line, the Food Pantry, Respite Care and assistance with Hospice.
Lifeline, a device people wear, can connect the user to the right help when an emergency happens with a push of a button – 24 hours a day.
According to Jerry Hoffart there are 67 lifeline units in use which includes ten in Knox County.
“Service for the units isn’t a problem but the paper work and data processing is getting hard,” Hoffart said.
Service for the units is done by volunteers Jerry and Jean Hoffart and Darrell and Laurie Kathol.
There were 35 baskets of food delivered at Thanksgiving along with another 30 at Christmas through the Food Pantry.
The Food Pantry has had bountiful donations of food and cash by individuals and organizations throughout the year.
“There was a generous donation of meat that was donated to the Food Pantry,” said Alice Pommer.
Members discussed if it would be a good idea to have the Food Pantry open for a few hours each week – people who need help could stop by.
Vouchers which can be used at the local motel, gas stations, eating facilities and grocery store are also available for those in need, according to Pommer.
“The vouchers are handled through the Sheriff’s Office,” she said.
Respite Care provides short term breaks for those who are caring for a loved one. Care-giving can be demanding and no one is equipped to do it alone. Respite Care helps relieve stress, restore energy and promotes balance in the caregiver’s life.
Hospice provides compassionate care for people in the last phases of an incurable disease so they may live as fully and comfortably as possible. Hospice care can be done in hospitals or nursing homes and can also be provided to those who would rather die in their own homes.
A number of the Caretaker members would be available on a volunteer basis to assist people who might need help for various reasons.
“We need to be aware of those who are homebound,” said Jean Yates.
Amanda Pearson, Social Service Director from the Golden Living Center, Hartington, invited volunteers to stop at their facility.
“Sundays tend to be very quiet – just stop in and visit or play cards,” Pearson said.
Nancy Hartnett, Laurel, said it was good to have someone like Pearson come to the meeting.
“There are so many privacy rules – it is good to be invited to the nursing home and to the Alzheimer Unit. Most them would like to talk about the good old times,” Hartnett said.
Yates suggested having one or two of the members “adopt” a resident that has no family or friends in the area.
It would be a good idea to be in touch with the nursing home, assisted livings, senior centers, home health care and local pastors to determine where help is needed.
The Caretakers group would like to have representatives from every community in Cedar County join them.
“They would know people in their areas that might need help,” Yates said.
Co-chairmen Elaine Arens and Marilyn Hansen presided over the meeting which was held at the Hartington Senior Citizen Center.
Mary Hochstein, who works with Avera Sacred Heart Home Care, was a guest speaker.