Bringing people together for a little laughter.


Does this sound familiar? A son was concerned for his mother, Mary, who lives alone. He could see that she was becoming isolated. Mary lives in the country with no close neighbors, she doesn’t drive, and now doesn’t get out of the house much. She had a stroke a few years ago and was living with some memory loss. It was hard for her son to know how much she loved to play Bingo and gamble but now could not do either.


That’s when this son called Family Pathways Aging Services. He was looking for help to get his mother out again socially. Family Pathways has a wonderful volunteer couple, Sharon and Joe, who have experience with memory loss clients. Through Aging Services they were connected with Mary. Mary was a little hesitant at first - not sure she wanted anyone in her home.


Sharon and Joe assured her they were not there to judge but were there as friends. Their first visit was dinner and Bingo at the local VFW. Mary loved it! She was thrilled to be out with people again.


On their next visit, Sharon and Joe brought another client with them. The ladies talked and laughed like old friends. This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship between clients and volunteers. The best part is that this is not an unusual story.


If you have family or neighbors living alone and needing assistance, please have them contact Aging Services.


The emotional “mind” field of caregivers.

By: Family Pathways Aging Services Caregiver Consultant, Jayne Mund


Encourage, lift and strengthen one another. For the positive energy spread to one will be felt by us all.

~Deborah Day


A caregiver I recently spoke with said, “I feel guilty all the time. When I’m with my father, who just went into a nursing home, I feel guilty I’m not with the kids. When I’m with the kids, I feel guilty about neglecting my husband. And when I take that occasional trip to the gym I feel guilty about letting everyone down.”

Guilt is clearly a common feeling in the landscape of caregiving. Dark feelings, like guilt, sadness, and depression are real and normal for caregivers. It’s easy to think that if we had acted differently things would be better. Usually this just isn’t so. Do these examples sound familiar?

  • “What if we had kept mom at home instead of placing her in memory care?”
  • “If only I had not gone out with friends for lunch the day Jim had a stroke?”
  • “I should have insisted dad see his doctor when his pain first started.”
  • “I shouldn’t have yelled at my spouse. She can’t help it that she can’t remember.”


When you have these feelings ask yourself if what you are actually feeling is regret, a sense of remorse, rather than guilt? Regret is sorrow over something that has happened. It may be something that we have done or left undone. For example, “I wish I would have told my dad more that I loved him. Now it’s too late.” Guilt is what we feel when we act wrongfully or hurtfully toward another person, or when we believe that we have done so. Guilt is rational when we have actually caused hurt. Guilt is irrational when we falsely perceive that we have acted wrongfully or hurtful. As human beings we have an amazing ability to feel guilty when anything goes wrong, whether or not we are responsible. It can be helpful to ask yourself; “Did I really do something wrong or do I just wish I had done something differently?” “Am I feeling guilt or is it really regret that I am feeling?” It is so important to constructively deal with feelings of guilt. Here are some helpful ways to move through these tough feelings:

  • Admit mistakes. Apologize.
  • Correct the situation, if possible.
  • Forgive yourself. Accept your humanity.
  • Ask forgiveness.
  • Learn from the experience and go on.
  • Seek counseling as needed.
  • Recognize feelings of guilt, learn from them, take action and then move on.

It is important to realize that you did the best you could at the time with the information and the resources that were available. Be kind to yourself. You are doing the best you can.


For more information about Family Pathways caregiver support and local resources contact specialist Jayne Mund at 763-689-8811 or Aging Services Program Manager Lise Arseneau-Lee at 651-674-8040.

There is Hope. There is Help.

There are a lot of children in Minnesota that go to bed every night hungry. It's ugly. But it's a fact.

Family Pathways North Branch Thrift Store

The Family Pathways North Branch Thrift Store opened it's highly anticipated new doors February 2017. Since the groundbreaking, many hours and dedication went into the building of the store. This is the first store Family Pathways has built from the ground up to suit our needs and to better serve our customers and donors. It has been a great experience to brainstorm ideas and see it all come to fruition. We believe our customers and volunteers will find the layout very appealing and our donors are going to love the heated drive-thru donation garage. No need to worry about how to find the new building, our new location is just across the parking lot from the current store. Be sure to stop and visit often. Merchandise changes daily. A special thank you to the City of the North Branch and Gaughan Companies for all their help during this endeavor.

It is important to Family Pathways to understand the situations of the people served by our programs. It is an important goal of our efforts. By researching the age breakouts of those visiting our nine food shelves and mobile food truck stops, we have learned that hunger is a problem for a large group of our most vulnerable neighbors―children and older people.

At least 53% of the people that Family Pathways serves through our hunger relief program are children or older adults. We are finding that it is these sensitive age groups (0 to 18 and 65 and older) that tend to suffer from hunger the most even though these age groups need good nutrition to stay healthy.  

Feeding America is an organization of 200 food banks that help more than 46 million Americans each year. They provide food to Family Pathways at a drastically reduced price to stock our food shelves. They are also the experts on missing meals in America. This is what they have to say about hunger for children and older people:

  • •Proper nutrition is vital to the growth and development of children. While almost all (94%) of (food shelf participants) with school-aged children (ages 5-18) report participating in the National School Lunch Program, only 46 percent report participating in the School Breakfast Program.       
  • •Nearly one in four (24%) participant households with children report participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
  • •Half of participant households that reported doubling up (housing more than one family in the same living space) in the past 12 months have one or more children that are five years old or younger.
  • •The majority (53%) of participant households that are unstably housed (such as living with family or friends or in a shelter) have one or more children that are five years old or younger.
  • Food insecure seniors are at increased risk for chronic health conditions, even when controlling for other factors such as income:
    • •60 percent more likely to experience depression
    • •53 percent more likely to report a heart attack
    • •52 percent more likely to develop asthma
    • •40 percent more likely to report an experience of congestive heart failure


Links to facts:

Older Adults:


You can help from the comfort of your own home. Join our Bail or Jail event this October 2016. Click here for more information: Go to the “fundraise” section. Thank you for your time and consideration. You can also help by spreading the word about Family Pathways and the services that we offer. For more information about all of our services, visit