Fall 2020 Newsletter

Fall 2020 Newsletter

Nov 04, 2020

FamilyMeans, newsletter

November 2020 


National Family Caregiver Month

November is National Family Caregiver Month, a time to honor and support individuals who provide care to family or friends. Many caregivers feel stress, fatigue, and financial strain as they work to provide care for a loved one, this is compounded with the added challenges of Covid-19.  FamilyMeans Caregiving & Aging is here to support family caregivers no matter what challenge you face.

Ways we are supporting Caregivers this month:

PolkaSol a virtual National Family Caregiver Month Celebration with music, dancing and fun for all! November 6, 3:00pm-4:00pm

Education on Medicare Basics a virtual training for anyone interested in learning more about Medicare plans, enrollment periods, more! November 10, 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Operation Sight & Sound by Charlie Maquire a virtual Veterans Day Celebration with special live music! November 11, 10:00am – 11:00am

Virtual Support Groups invite participants to gather with caregivers in like situations to find support, balance, and self-care techniques. Wednesday and Friday options through December.

Coaching & Consultation, schedule a virtual visit (phone or video call) with one of our social workers for support through any challenge you are facing today. 

Virtual Education, our Community Educator is available to provide trainings to your workplace, small group, or class on a variety of topics. New! Dementia Friendly Workplace Training Available Now!

Unsure where to start? Click here to take this short survey to find out if it is time to get help, and the next steps to take.

Spread the word about FamilyMeans caregiver support services! Follow our social media accounts for more support resources and share with your family/friends. Listen for radio ads on KS95 and MyTalk97 through November!

 sign "we heart caregivers"




 Telehealth to Support Students

School-Based Mental Health:Connecting with Students Safely

With FamilyMeans School-Based Mental Health counselors in 23 schools across five districts in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, it has been a year of patchwork academic plans due to Covid-19 precautions. Typically, one of the great strengths of our program is embedding a therapist in the school buildings; however, when that is not possible, we have found some positives about the telehealth model.

Having a therapist conducting a telehealth session from office or home, frees up valuable spaces within schools as they need to distance students. Likewise, synchronous and asynchronous learning schedules allows more options to schedule telehealth sessions. Students can schedule therapy times for when they do not need to be present online or in-person for an academic class. Plus, when not locked into an “8:00am-2:00pm” school days schedule, youth can book mental health appointments in the afternoon or early evenings when they are more alert (an especially appealing aspect to teens).

Likewise, therapists find that often students are taking their appointments while home and with a parent or guardian. This may provide a welcomed chance for the adults to say hello and speak briefly about any family concerns about the student’s situation.

Lastly, for now, the virtual therapy sessions allow for therapists and students to be safely apart. In- person sessions would require masks and possibly shorter appointment times. Seeing a student’s face online allows therapists to see a full range of facial expressions during their productive conversations as they work on building resilience and healthy mental habits.

While therapists and student alike long the time when school-based mental health can be “back to normal,” the telehealth model has been a wonderful method to continue to provide much-needed care. Click here for more information or to schedule an appointment.





 Gain control of finances


Debt Management Programs versus Debt Settlement

People accumulate debt for a variety of reasons, from loss of jobs to injuries/illnesses, to divorce or simply overspending. Sometimes clients never learned good financial habits. As debt grows, so does the worry and stress. Having overwhelming debt can negatively impact all aspects of lives, livelihoods, and relationships.

For many, it is hard to know who to turn to for help. There are numerous programs out there, all promising results. Many people turn to debt settlement or debt relief programs that actually end up hurting their finances more than helping. As a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, FamilyMeans Financial Solutions is held to the highest national standards, required to participate in regular ongoing training, and is truly “in your corner” to help you gain financial freedom, unlike for-profit debt settlement organizations.  The FamilyMeans Debt Management Program (DMP) is safer than debt settlement/relief programs and allows you to pay off debts quicker, benefiting both clients and creditors.

Here are some key points:

  • DMP allows five years to complete its program.
  • DMP staff negotiate with creditors to lower interest rates for the clients’ unsecured credit debts (but debt amounts cannot be lowered.)
  • Clients make one monthly payment to FamilyMeans DMP, which then gets distributed to their local and national creditors. This simplifies payments for clients while paying down the debt right away.
  • By sticking to one-time monthly payment plans, the clients can stop late fees, collection calls, or even bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Following a DMP plan allows clients to build better credit history and credit scores. Plus, it is very satisfying to see a debt principal start to shrink!   

In contrast, Debt Settlement firms hold clients’ money waiting for creditors to simply settle for lesser amounts, all while not working to pay off the debts and build better credit records. Debt settlement tactics can result in collections calls, threatened legal action, or wage garnishment. Debt settlement companies do not partner with clients to work on better financial management; they hope you will have to use their services again. It is not a good cycle for clients. Then why are so many people drawn to these “debt settlement” companies? The answer is that these for-profit companies promise results that are too good to be true—less money owed and in a shorter time to “freedom”. Often, that is what clients saddled with debt want to hear. In reality these companies will hurt financial situation more than help.

Working with a NFCC-accredited program, like FamilyMeans Debt Management, is a healthy and responsible solution for resolving debt and learning to better handle personal finances. Learn more by visiting www.familymeans.org/financial-solutions or calling 651-789-4014 (toll-free 1-800-780-2890). Our license covers all of Wisconsin and Minnesota and we offer online consultation.





 Memorial Walk Group Photo
CGL Staff Recording Memorial Walk

 Roberts Bird Sanctuary
Roberts Bird Sanctuary

Fall Events at the Center for Grief & Loss

The Center for Grief & Loss finds ways to connect with the community through safe fall events.

Each September, the Memorial Walk for Hope & Healing brings together individuals and families who have lost a loved one to celebrate their life with a short walk around Como Lake, and program of reflection and remembrance. Because of gathering restrictions, the event was virtual this year, bringing together over 60 individuals to hear words of comfort, soft drumming by the Women’s Drum Center, and a virtual walk experience. 

In mid-October, the Center for Grief & Loss hosted a Nature Immersion for Healing class at Roberts Bird Sanctuary. This was a limited participant, safely distanced, in-person class led by yoga instructor, Dallas Rising. Inspired by Japanese practice shinrin-yoku (a.k.a forest bathing or forest therapy), the session was multi-sensory, encouraging participants to find comfort and the restorative power of nature.

November 21, 2020 is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. The Center is usually a host site for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). However, because of Covid-19 restrictions this event is also virtual. We recognize that this year, perhaps more than before, may feel especially isolating to those who have lost a loved one due to suicide. Therefore, we would like to share information with you on how to participate and find support virtually. Click here to learn more.



Youth Holiday Gift Drive

Spread joy to a local family this year! We are collecting gifts for participants, ages 5-18, in FamilyMeans Youth Development initiatives in Cimarron and Landfall.

To keep donors and families safe we are collecting items earlier this year to give time for safe distribution. Please drop off donations by December 7th at the FamilyMeans Stillwater Office (click here for information on contactless drop off). We encourage the donation of gift cards of any increment to local stores as this reduces contact with items for safer distribution to families. However, if you prefer to donate toys you can find a wish list here.

A special thank you to longtime partners, Stillwater Motors and Student Assurance Services, for holding gift drives at their locations in support of FamilyMeans! We are grateful to all who participate, allowing us to provide a present to a child in Washington County who otherwise may not receive a holiday gift this year.

 Stillwater Motors Gift Delivery




Day Out! Group Respite Goes Virtual

FamilyMeans Day Out! group respite program supports caregivers by giving them a break each Friday from 10am-2pm as their care receiver spends time at this group respite program at our Stillwater location. Participants enjoy group discussions, creative projects, music, exercise, games, and more.

In early March, we had made the tough decision to postpone this program until gathering in-person was safe again. Since then, the volunteers who help with Day Out! have worked on creative ways to continue to support the families who participate.

Check – Ins: providing regular calls, emails, or letter check-ins to be sure that caregivers are getting the answers and support they need. 

Video Recordings: a few of our volunteers have recorded short videos with song, dance, and other entertainment.

Doorstep Greetings: while the weather was still warm, staff and volunteers made brief, safely distanced visits to participants outside on their doorsteps. They brought little goodie baskets to each home that included activity kits, treats, and more.

Virtual Day Out!: Beginning on Oct. 5th Day Out! has gone virtual. On Mondays from 10:30am-12:00pm and Fridays from 1:00pm-2:30pm, participants gather on Zoom for fun activities that get everyone singing, dancing, and chatting.  Special thanks to volunteers Rebecca Erickson, Sam Coburn, Jim Scheibe, and Peg Bear who help to lead the programming and create fun activities for participants.

We are so grateful for the wonderful volunteers and staff members who continue to establish innovative approaches to provide support to caregivers during this especially challenging time.



Why Year-End Gifts are Important

Since 1963, FamilyMeans has stood by the community, helping to show that better is possible, even through the toughest of times. As we navigate the uncertainty that comes with Covid-19, we continue to hold true to this mission by helping clients to persevere through challenges, volunteers find meaningful engagement, and donors build a stronger community.

Last year, FamilyMeans served over 15,000 people! Even with the disruptions that have come with the pandemic, we continue to meet client needs by offering virtual or telephone visits and programming options, while keeping public health and safety a top priority.  We could not do this without the generous donations from individuals like you. Thank you.


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