“We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference,
and that a small group of determined people
can change the course of history.”
— Sonia Johnson
North Shore Area Partners (NSAP) began in October 2003 when the Postmaster in Finland, Minnesota gathered a group of interested community members to facilitate volunteers, family members and professionals to provide care for their neighborhood elders in ways that support choice, dignity and independence. Volunteer services, caregiver support and respite, information and referral, health education and promotion are a few of the areas of work that accomplish the mission.
NSAP is committed to and operates under the Guiding Principles of the Living at Home Network, as established in Minnesota. This Program model is truly a grass roots approach to helping elders stay living at home as long as possible. Each community creates their own Living at Home Program and organizes neighbors to provide “whatever assistance is needed” for its elders. The Program is governed by the people in each community.
The unusually large percentage of elderly in the NSAP service area is related to the forming of the Silver Bay community in the late 1950s when Reserve Mining recruited workers from out of the area. This group of workers is now in their late eighties and early nineties. The majority of the children of this cohort have moved out of the immediate area as the mining industry shrunk. The North Shore is still home for these elders and they desire, as most of us do, to continue living at home. This is also financially practical as the cost of housing within the city limits of Silver Bay and Beaver Bay is extremely affordable, which has led to an influx of other retirees as well. As these citizens age, their local options are limited. If they are unable to stay at home, the closest non-Veteran skilled nursing facility is Two Harbors. The grief of leaving home is compounded by the added grief of leaving the community.
Now, at over ten years old, NSAP is a vital resource for elders in Eastern Lake County. In 2015, almost 200 participants used North Shore Area Partners staff or volunteers for service coordination or direct needs, and nearly 100 volunteers donated 3890 hours of service. Staff and volunteers work diligently to support community elders and will continue to provide help and education so that elders can remain living safely at home on the North Shore.