Elder Network received a $4,500 Cycle 2 Community Grant from the Winona Community Foundation in 2022. This grant supported their in-person counseling and virtual support groups for mental health needs provided to the seniors and their caregivers.

The Elder Network’s mission to prevent a decline in their clients’ quality of life involves addressing emotional well-being, enhancing coping abilities, and increasing community engagement. Through annual surveys, the organization sought to assess the effectiveness of their programs, with a particular focus on clients’ ability to cope with life’s challenges and their emotional well-being.

Their virtual caregiver support group has proven to be a valuable resource for those in need. Staff members reported the group’s consistent attendance and its positive impact on participants. Caregivers expressed their appreciation for the information shared, the empathetic support they received, and the safe space the group provided for sharing their experiences. The group’s tight-knit nature fosters a sense of belonging, combating the isolation often felt by caregivers. By connecting with others facing similar challenges, caregivers find solace, understanding, and renewed strength.

One client movingly shared their experience, emphasizing the crucial role Elder Network played in enabling them to continue living independently. They expressed gratitude for the physical and emotional support received, highlighting the organization’s efforts to combat loneliness and ensure that seniors receive the care they deserve. Their story exemplifies the importance of providing alternatives to care facilities that may not adequately meet seniors’ needs.

Volunteers facilitating support group sessions have witnessed the transformational power of these gatherings. The groups have thrived, with active participation and the formation of deep connections among attendees. Existing members generously share their insights and experiences to support newcomers, ensuring a smooth integration into the group dynamic. These support groups serve as more than just scheduled meetings; they foster lasting friendships and a strong support network that extends beyond the confines of the sessions.

The Elder Network’s commitment to enhancing their services and extending support to underserved populations is evident in their plans for the future. Collaborations with community leaders, religious institutions, and diverse communities are underway to broaden outreach efforts. Additionally, the organization is actively seeking training opportunities in diverse fields, such as caregiver counseling and depression coaching, to better meet the specific needs of their clients. As they continue to expand their reach, collaborate with partners, and secure funding, the organization’s vital work promises to uplift and empower seniors and caregivers, helping them navigate life’s challenges with greater strength and resilience.

An important part of the Winona Community Foundation’s mission is realized though awarding community grants to meet the ever-changing needs of the community through a competitive process. Funding for this program comes from generous people, like you, who invest in the community and the Foundation. Whether through direct donations, establishing endowments, or holding charitable funds at the Foundation, these diverse sources of funding are instrumental in supporting the community grant program. As a result, local nonprofits in the Winona area greatly benefit from this program, which has become an essential asset in meeting the needs of the community.

To learn more about the Elder Network, please visit elder-network.org.