Where the ‘smart people’ are

FamilyMeans ‘Day Out!’ program aids the elderly, their caregivers

Lillian Benner, left, and Day Out! volunteer Maddie Weiss played the piano during last week’s Day Out! event at FamilyMeans in Stillwater. The Stillwater-based agency holds Day Out! on Fridays to give families and caregivers a respite from taking care of persons with a variety of conditions. (Gazette photo by Elissa Cottle)

Lillian Benner, left, and Day Out! volunteer Maddie Weiss played the piano during last week’s Day Out! event at FamilyMeans in Stillwater. The Stillwater-based agency holds Day Out! on Fridays to give families and caregivers a respite from taking care of persons with a variety of conditions. (Gazette photo by Elissa Cottle)

I know where I’m going on Fridays when I’m “old” — to “Day Out!” at FamilyMeans in Stillwater.

Day Out! is where the elderly and/or living-assisted, fun and smart people are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Friday — like 85-year-old Al Cote, lay comedian and former Oak Park Heights police chief; Lillian Benner, pianist and retired elementary school teacher who turns 88 in July; 97-year-old Ruth Burkhead, painter and retired dietician, and 91-year-old Willard Carmean, Ph.D., professor emeritus in forestry and retired United Nations advisor.

Carmean said he published an article in December on the white pine for the Ministry of Natural Resources, which serves Canada’s province of Ontario.

On Friday, 17 out of the 30 award-winning Day Out! FamilyMeans volunteers, and 10 of their “friends,” celebrated Father’s Day. Carmean gave a presentation about his experience in World War II, including a letter his parents had saved when he wrote to them as a young man in the war.

Benner and her assigned volunteer, Stillwater Area High School 2013 graduate Maddie Weiss, played the piano. Weiss is going to Luther College in Iowa in the fall to major in nursing and minor in Spanish. Weiss plans to volunteer at Day Out! on Fridays through this summer.

Willard Carmean’s daughter, Kim Carmean, also is a Day Out! volunteer who brought her father to give his presentation.

“I like to come to Day Out! whenever they need me,” she said.

Day Out! gives a break or respite to caregivers of family members who are suffering from losses of memory, hearing or vision, or other medical conditions, said Margaret Irwin, FamilyMeans volunteer coordinator and Day Out! coordinator.

This Friday, the Day Out! theme will be “friends” including lunch. On June 28, Minneapolis-based Kairos Dancing Heart will be at Day Out! for interactive music, movement and storytelling. Kairos will be coming monthly to the program. Also, the June 28 theme is 4th of July. There is no Day Out! July 5. “Gardens” is the theme July 12.

The cost for the program is $40 a day but scholarships are available. For more information, contact Irwin at 651-789-4012 or mirwin@familymeans.org.

Lillian Benner, left, and Day Out! volunteer Maddie Weiss played the piano during last week’s Day Out! event at FamilyMeans in Stillwater. The Stillwater-based agency holds Day Out! on Fridays to give families and caregivers a respite from taking care of persons with a variety of conditions. (Gazette photo by Elissa Cottle)

  • http://www.freeltcquotes.com/Company-Information.aspx long term care company

    Day Out! is a great avenue for family caregivers to sit back, relax and de-stress. Also, this is a great place for seniors to practice their social skills and enjoy life outside nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other senior living communities. It’s a bit pricey for me but it’s a good thing that scholarships are offered. I just hope those who need financial assistance can greatly benefit from this. Keep up the good work guys and good luck to your other programs and projects.

  • Elissa Cottle

    Thanks for your nice response! I really enjoyed meeting people and observing at a Day Out!

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