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Virtual Farm Tours For Older Adults
Cows, chickens, pigs, and miniature donkeys were the stars of a virtual Minnesota farm tour that older adults and their caregivers enjoyed watching in May.
The events are free and were a welcome distraction during stay-at-home orders due to Covid-19. They were organized by Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota Caregiver Support and Respite Services after Laura Rasmussen, Regional Coordinator, saw a news story about a woman playing her violin outside of a residence for seniors.
“I thought we could do that online and create something for our caregiver and respite program,” she says. “We work to provide opportunities for relief and support for our caregivers to keep individuals in their homes as long as possible.”
Since volunteers couldn’t physically visit homes to give caregivers a break, LSS turned to technology. “Guests” are invited to “attend” through a secure online platform. That means caregivers can take a break while the older adult is busy with the virtual event. Or, the caregiver can relax and enjoy the event too.
The hour-long tour on LSS employee Judi Weiss’ Park Rapids farm was extremely popular, Rasmussen says. Many participants grew up on farms, and seeing the animals and hearing Weiss talk about farm challenges brought back childhood memories.
The organization provides iPads for qualifying clients and encourages them to stay connected with others through technology.     
Rasmussen planned to offer the weekly sessions throughout the stay-at-home order and then hopefully continue them monthly through the year - especially in winter when most adults and their caretakers are isolated at home.     
Rasmussen is also available to answer questions about how Minnesotans can participate in the LSS Caregiver Program that offers in-home and group respite, coaching, consultation, technology support, education and emergency care planning for caregivers.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Laura Rasmussen, 3101 S. Frontage Rd., Suite 100, Moorhead, Minn. 56560 (ph 866 787-9802; www.lssmn.org; Laura.Rasmussen@lssmn.org; Facebook: LSS Caregiver Support).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #1