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Miller named Living at Home area program administrator

Living at Home staff members include, from left, Beth Waller, care coordinator; Laurel Hed, caregiver coach; Ruth Larsen, office assistant and Judy Miller, executive director. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)

Judy Miller has been named executive director of the Living at Home program, "a community resource driven by volunteers."

She assumes the position held by Iva Thielges, who is now director of housing and community services at Heritage Cottages.

Living at Home is a program that engages volunteers and community resources to enable seniors 65 and over to remain in their homes. The coverage area includes Park Rapids, Osage, Nevis and Akeley.

"I have an affinity for Living at Home from a personal and professional perspective," Miller said of her roles in public relations, marketing and fund development for profit and non-profit organizations.

"I feel strongly about the importance of the Living at Home program," she said.

Nearly 150 volunteers serve 220 seniors in the Park Rapids area, with more than 7,000 hours donated to augment independence.

Program services include transportation, handyman work, assisting with groceries or errands, visits, light housekeeping, building ramps for handicap accessibility and respite care and medical escorting.

The program, Miller explained, encourages connections among neighbors, promoting "vibrant, good quality of life. Creating these connections is critical."

Volunteers, she said, make a "significant impact for those needing a helping hand to remain independent."

And those needs are expected to increase. Hubbard County's senior population is projected to grow significantly in future decades.

The program is funded mostly through contributions, grants and fundraising initiatives. There is no charge for the services.

Living at Home, Miller said, will continue to collaborate with Hospice, Social Services, area churches, home care agencies, Mahube and senior housing agencies.

"We're always exploring funding opportunities and looking for volunteer support, - in the form of time, energy and gifts, she said.

Miller, who resides on Deer Lake near Nevis, relocated from St. Cloud.