By Kerry Drager
Rural Minnesotans understand the importance of community. When an individual is sick or in trouble, friends and neighbors will do what is needed to ensure people are taken care of. It is perhaps one of the greatest assets of being a member of a rural community.
Linda Musel of Paynesville has her community in mind during her retirement years. She understands that even though members of rural areas look out for each other, there are still many who need help but remain undetected. This is particularly true with those who are suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).
Musel has been focusing on a new project that has come to the Paynesville area and will help address the needs of AD patients. Act on Alzheimer’s is a volunteer coalition that will work on making communities a better place for individuals who suffer from the disease.
“I’m the president of this area’s Senior Center, and I wanted to start something that we could get more people involved with. Act on Alzheimer’s was brought forward because there are so many people in our age group, the Baby Boomers, that are all coming of age. More and more people are getting this disease. There are roughly 88,000 people with this disease and the number is growing,” said Musel.
Armed with an $18,000 grant, Musel and her team of volunteers have begun the project by sending out surveys into the community to gather a tally of AD sufferers in their midst. Everyone from small business owners and health clinics to high school students and working individuals has been asked to participate in the survey. Their input will not only indicate the amount of need the area has for the program, but will also give them an opportunity to see where the money they have received in grants and donations can be used.
“Everyone is welcome to come and give input into the project and what they think we should do,” said Musel.
Act on Alzheimer’s is a program that can be modified to meet the needs of the community. From providing better medications and doctors for AD patients to educating and supporting caretakers, the program’s opportunities in helping those who suffer from this incurable disease is limitless.
Throughout her career, Musel has been working with individuals with disabilities. After retirement, she felt that it was important to continue caring for the less fortunate in her community. The Lions Club became an avenue where Musel and her husband Joe Musel could participate in community service.
“We didn’t know what we’d give each other for Christmas, so we went and bought memberships to the Lions Club. It’s been wonderful. A gift that keeps on giving.”
The Musels feel that their time with the Lions Club is beneficial because it is one of the few organizations where 100 percent of the money that they raise goes back into the community. The involvement with the school district and screening children for vision problems is one of Musel’s favorite activities through the Lions Club. She is happy helping in any way possible and is passionate with doing well at the jobs that other people may not be willing to take on.
“The reason I’m playing a part in the Act on Alzheimer’s program is for communities and people in need. I don’t like accepting honors. We are just put onto this earth for a little while to help each other.”
Retirement has not been a time to be idle for Musel. Her days have been spent finding ways in making the lives of other individuals healthier and brighter. Although her hard work and determination to serve have not gone unnoticed by the members of her community, her biggest supporter is undoubtedly her husband.
“I feel that ‘Lions’ stands for ‘Loving Individuals Offering Needed Services,’” said Joe. “That’s what Linda has been for many of us. She’s a loving individual that offers a needed service. To me, that’s a theme to live by.”