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DAV contributes $5,000 to Living at Home

Hubbard County Veterans Services Officer Jerry Bjerke and DAV Commander Jeff Siebert present a $2,500 to Connie Carmichael, executive director of Living at Home. The DAV has committed $5,000 in all. (Submitted photo)

The local Disabled American Veterans (DAV) chapter has committed $5,000 to Living at Home of the Park Rapids Area (LAH).

The goal of both the DAV and the donation is to "help improve the quality of life for veterans and their families," said Greg Remus, adjutant with DAV Park Rapids.

The funds will specifically be used to cover cost-sharing expenses for veterans 65 years and older who utilize Living at Home's core services.

The DAV approached Connie Carmichael, LAH executive director, with the idea. Carmichael researched LAH's active client list for the past two years, discovering that 33 were veterans.

"I was surprised it was that high of a number," she said.

Living at Home offers transportation for grocery shopping or other errands, light housekeeping, minor handyman services, ramp building, respite care and coaching for caregivers. The non-profit organization asks clients to share in the cost, based on a sliding scale; however, no one is ever turned away due to inability to donate.

"All of these services, the intent is to keep the individual in their home longer," Remus said. "We know the Living at Home program is a very good program."

"It's a really unique collaboration," Carmichael agreed. "We have a common goal: To help seniors. We have a significant veteran population here in Park Rapids and the surrounding area."

The Hubbard County Veterans Services Office frequently refers veterans to LAH, and now the DAV donation will pay for cost-sharing.

"The beauty of this is it's also for their spouse or family caregiver," Carmichael said. For example, a LAH volunteer can run an errand or provide respite care so the caregiver can attend training or simply have a break. Respite services are available to care receivers 60 and up and caregivers of any age.

"That's important because that's a big piece. This year, especially, we want to focus on caring for the caregiver," she said.

"We're constantly looking for ways to help vets and their families," Remus said of the DAV's efforts. "I think it's a good match."

For more information, veterans or their caregivers should call Living at Home at 732-3137.