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Lutheran Social Services seeking volunteers

Minnesota is aging like never before. According to the minnesota Department of health, the state's 65 and older population is the fastest growing age group. This means that the number of people stepping into caregiver roles to ensure the health and wellbeing of older adults is climbing too.

With financial support from Americorps, Lutheran Social Services (LSS) is training and deploying volunteers in rural Minnesota to protect these family caregivers from burnout by visiting older adults in their homes a few hours each week. This allows exhausted family members in areas with few resources to take a break.

The benefits aren't just for the families and older adults who receive support. LSS AmeriCorps volunteers, age 17 or older, receive a monthly $200 stipend. They can also qualify for a $1,500+ education award after 450 hours of service. The award can be used for a volunteer's own education or to pay down student loans. If a volunteer is 55 or older, the grant award may be gifted to a child, grandchild or foster child.

Right now, Lutheran Social services of Minnesota is seeking 20-30 additional volunteers to address the growing needs in the counties of Jackson, Sibley and Brown and in the communities of New Ulm, Brainerd, Willmar, Thief River Falls and Montevideo. Last year, volunteers dedicated more than 13,000 hours of respite care and support for 96 families serving as primary caregivers for an older loved one.

All volunteers receive training and no prior experience caregiving is required. To qualify, volunteers need to have some daytime availability, a reliable vehicle and pass a background check.

To become a volunteer or to learn more, contact LSS Caregiver Respite at (800) 488-4146 or email caregiver@lssmn.org.

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