Elevate program was created by Perham Health

Photo by Tucker Henderson
Coffee Talks is a new ongoing event series sponsored by Elevate and is held at the New York Mills Public Library in hopes to promote community socialization and lifestyle discussion.

By Tucker Henderson


In recent months a new Otter Tail County based campaign was created by Perham Health to help adults in a 30-mile radius of Perham who are in the middle to later years of their lives.

“Elevate partners with area organizations to both promote existing and create new opportunities for residents to improve their physical, mental, and social health,” said representative Emily Dreyer. “Whether someone is needing help eating well, staying active, making connections, understanding their Medicare plan, and more, Elevate can connect them with the information or resources they need to optimize their health.”

Perham Health operates the campaign, but funding also comes from UCare Minnesota to promote “aging well” in the community. The program has been in the works for about a year, but only started operations about six months ago.

“Elevate was founded to address the expected increase of healthcare concerns for a growing population of adults over 65,” said Dreyer. “The longer adults can remain healthy and in their own homes, the less expense is incurred by families, hospitals and insurance companies alike.”

Dreyer said the program is one of only three initiatives in the state. Their mission is to provide opportunities for local adults to improve all aspects of their health to live happier, healthier lives.

“We know that people want to be engaged in their community, but they don’t know how or where to start,” said Dreyer. “We’re working with individuals in the clinic and throughout the community on finding opportunities to participate in. From events to flexible employment to volunteering, we want to help individuals connect with their community and the people in it. Rather than creating something entirely new, we’re focusing on elevating the opportunities and resources that our communities already have.”

Though the main age demographic the campaign is geared towards is 45 years and up, the resources, events, and opportunities are available to anyone who may want to utilize them. Elevate offers four main opportunities for community members.

Reoccurring and single events are being shared by Elevate such as sewing, knitting, music, trivia nights and others that are organized by Elevate itself, including Tai Chi and axe throwing.

Another offering is a series of tours called “Nosy Neighbor” where community members are invited to take a peek at local businesses and organizations to learn more about them. The first in this series is a tour of the incinerator in Perham, which focuses on what happens to daily household garbage after it’s tossed.

Volunteering opportunities are widely available throughout the community, but finding the right cause for individuals can sometimes be difficult. Elevate works with partner organizations to highlight some of the volunteering needs within the community and can match people with the organizations that fit the interests of community members.

Flexible employment is another area that Elevate is trying to facilitate. There are a plethora of jobs out there that need the right, caring individuals to fill part-time positions that don’t necessarily want to commit to a full-time job.

All of these resources and more can be found on their website at www.elevateotc.org, emailing at connect@elevateotc.org or calling (218) 347-1974. Businesses and organizations that want to be involved in this project can also get in touch with Elevate to share their opportunities with the community. An office space is currently under construction in the Perham Living Campus near the former Boys & Girls Club.

For those who would like to take advantage of an Elevate event in New York Mills, they can start with the new recurring Coffee Talks, which will be held twice a month at the NY Mills Public Library to promote community involvement and a range of lifestyle topics will be discussed. Enjoy a cup of coffee from Farmer’s Daughter Rustic Bakery on Wednesday, Jan. 25 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. during the inaugural meeting.

“Loneliness is a bigger health risk than obesity or smoking,” said Dreyer. “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Whether through volunteerism, flexible employment, or attending events, we want people to find a sense of community and connection.”