Horizon Health is more than just a nursing home

From first aid classes to hospice care, the non-profit serves Morrison County and beyond 

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

Everyone, at one point in their lives or another, will need help with elder care. It may be for themselves or for a loved one. But where to start? There are as many levels of services as there are people. It can be a daunting task to find the best choice.

At Horizon Health, based in Pierz, there are professionals to help pave the way. Whether it’s helping a newly retired person find that perfect volunteer job, offering options for an elderly person who finds it necessary to move from their home or helping with hospice care, Horizon Health is there to help.

“Committed to proving healthy living options for people within the communities served by Horizon Health,” says the brochure. Those communities include Pierz, Little Falls, Randall, Motley, Harding and Brainerd.

Horizon-Health-sign-bw“We are a senior resource for healthy aging options,” said Executive Director Bridget Britz.

Active seniors, those newly retired and beyond, can benefit from Bone Builders classes, America Reads and volunteering, all components of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).

Bone Builders classes are available to improve balance, enhance energy and well-being, increase socialization and prevent or reverse osteoporosis. America Reads pairs seniors with young readers to ensure literacy thrives.

The RSVP program takes the skills and talents gained from a lifetime of experience and puts them to good use with volunteering in the community.

“The RSVP program helps our older friends, family and neighbors have a healthy and active life. It gives them an opportunity to have a purpose through a variety of activities,” said Krisie Barron, the Faith in Action Director and a licensed social worker.

To put it simply, Faith in Action is friends helping friends and neighbors helping neighbors. It helps seniors and those who are disabled remain in their own homes using friends and neighbors to help provide transportation, homemaking, chores, visits and respite time.

Faith in Action also gives caregiver counseling and support plus offers group meetings for caregivers to discuss issues with others who are in similar situations.

“Faith in Action is for people who need just a little help with daily activities,” said Barron.

The next level of care, and a new program, is called Independence Plus. The people at Horizon Health know home is the best place to be and the program is designed to help seniors do just that.

“It’s for those who need a helping hand,” said Britz. “We counsel seniors to preserve their independence before crisis management is necessary. It makes the transition to less independence easier.”

Barron advocates families start the conversation early about the what-ifs in life. She said it’s important for people to be in control of their destiny and not leave the future up to another person. She offers families counseling on how to begin that conversation.

Independence Plus offers personal, companionship and homemaker services to make living at home easier.

Home care may be necessary, for both short- or long-term durations. Clients will get the attention and quality of care they deserve from skilled nurses, therapists, home health aides and personal care attendants. Homemaking services is able to help with cooking, cleaning and more. Respite services provides temporary care to individuals, give time off to the caregiver. A social worker is available to advocate for the client’s needs and an automated medication system is available to assist in remembering to take medications correctly.

These services are available seven days a week.

There are four assisted living facilities located in Motley, Little Falls, Pierz and Brainerd. The Harmony Houses have a congregate living setup which specializes in memory care.

The houses are designed to promote social interaction and encourages involvement in life’s daily routines.

Other assisted living/senior housing facilities either owned or operated by Horizon Health are Eagle Court (Randall), Rose Court (Pierz), Country Place (Pierz) and Sunny Pines (Motley).

Independence Plus and home care services are also available at these facilities.

Hospice is the last in the continuum of care offered by Horizon Health.

“It is heartwarming. It is a gift for those working in hospice,” said Britz. “While the service is offered at home or in a nursing home, most people want to be at home.”

There is a group of people involved with hospice. A physician oversees the patient’s treatment and plan of care. Volunteers offer support, companionship and respite to the patient and the family. Nursing manage pain and symptoms experienced by the patient and social workers assists patients and family with many of the issues and emotions they may experience during the end of life. A chaplain is available to provide spiritual support and therapists are available to provide comfort and safety. Aides provide personal care and bereavement support is available for 13 months.

“Care is personalized with hospice and helps bring purpose to a patient’s last days,” said Britz.

Britz said that Morrison County is rich in resources for the elderly. While Horizon Health wants to help, it is also able to connect people to other resources it doesn’t offer what the patient wants.

Services through Horizon Health don’t stop there. It has two group homes for the developmentally disabled in Pierz. The clients have goals and a structured day that promotes social interaction and daily routines which develops independence.

Harding Place in Harding serves veterans and men with psychiatric disabilities. It offers board and lodging along with activities, outings and assistance with medications. There are nursing services on site and regular visits by medical personnel from the Veterans Administration.

Classes in first aid, home health aide certification (CNA) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) are also available at Horizon Health.

“High school students are able to take the CNA courses and graduate with certification,” said Britz. “Horizon Health was started 22 years ago to not only provide healthy living options so people could continue to live in their community, but also to provide employment for local residents.”

Dine and Discover has been a popular addition to Horizon Health’s offerings. Thirty or more people attend the monthly luncheon with guest speakers who talk on a variety of subjects. The administration is considering taking the program on the road so those who cannot get to Pierz are able to take advantage of the knowledge.

Other future offerings include dementia training to promote a dementia-friendly community. This will give training to caregivers, providers and the community on how to interact and communicate with respect and understanding.

For more information about all the services offered by Horizon Health, call (320) 468-6451 or visit the website www.horizonhealthservices.org.