Rural Communities Gather to Aid Frail Elderly

Community initiative to determine the future delivery of long-term care services in rural Minnesota

Ebenezer Social Ministries and the University of Minnesota's Minnesota Area Geriatric Education Center worked in 1999 and 2000 with key stakeholders in three rural Minnesota communities to identify feasible, innovative strategies for providing effective long-term care of the frail elderly.

According to Ebenezer Social Ministries, some rural areas have a higher percentage of people older than age 85 and a higher percentage of institutionalized elders than metropolitan areas do. But they have insufficient community services to maintain people at home.

Called the Serving Together to Affect Rural Services initiative, this project sought to coalesce consumers, providers, community organizations, government and businesses in three rural communities to develop plans for long-term care responsive to local needs and to build coalitions able to implement those plans.

Key Results

  • Ebenezer Social Ministries selected communities that varied in size, location, economic base and degree of availability and integration of long-term care services.
  • Each community developed a plan in response to the challenges present in its area.
  • Two communities made firm commitments to continue their collaboration after the Serving Together to Affect Rural Services initiative ended.