Minnesota State Triad Recap

The 2016 MN TRIAD Conference was hosted by Valley TRIAD (Clay County, MN and Cass County, ND) and Polk County on September 27-29, 2016.  The conference started on Tuesday night with over 75 in attendance with registration at the Courtyard by Marriott in Moorhead, MN.  An entertaining bus ride brought all the attendees to the Dilworth Community Center for an excellent pasta dinner and dessert provided by the Dilworth Lions and served by criminal justice students from M State in Moorhead.  Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist welcomed everyone and introduced their Valley TRIAD members and the 5 Sheriffs in attendance at the conference.  All the TRIAD groups then had an opportunity to share information on their TRIAD programs during Best Practices.  This included TRIAD members from Aitkin, Brown, Carlton, Cass, Crow Wing, Douglas/Pope, Goodhue, Hennepin, Itasca, Polk and Valley TRIADs.  We also had a preview of “The New Breed of Volunteer” and a possible training opportunity.  

Wednesday morning started with another entertaining bus ride, this time to the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead for a full day of learning and fun!  After breakfast and the Posting of the Colors  by the Amvets Post 7 Color Guard, Polk County Sheriff Barb Erdman, Moorhead Police Chief David Ebinger and Cass County Sheriff Chief Deputy Rick Majerus welcomed everyone to the conference.  Our first speaker was Samantha Schmidt, who spoke on Elder Abuse.  Samantha shared several examples of elder abuse and stated that most elder abuse is committed by family members.  Samantha shared information on tactics used by abusers, as well as what we can do to help if we suspect someone is being abused.   Elder abuse IS intent to harm.  Anyone can be a victim.  Our next speaker was Jay Haapala from AARP/Fraud Watch.  As always, Jay was informative and entertaining and we always enjoy having him at our TRIAD Conferences!   Jay stated the Top 3 Scams are currently Imposter Scams, ID Theft and Debt Collection.  Jay talked about the importance of keeping security software up-to-date on computers and smartphones.  We learned what Windows + R does and how hackers use this.  Jay shared the secrets to scamming people:  phantom riches, profiling, scarcity, source credibility, fear & intimidation and how heightened emotions play a factor.  We also got to see some great examples of these “secrets.”  Jay talked about how scammers use facial recognition technology and gave some eye-opening profiling examples and talked about what information can be found on the internet (i.e. Facebook).  We learned how to protect yourself from ID theft, why iTunes cards are requested for “payment” by scammers and chips vs magnetic strip credit cards.   After a great lunch sponsored by NW MN FOP Lodge 8, we learned how to stay safe in our home by Occupational Therapist Abby Husar.  Abby started out by sharing some “Famous Fallers” and how falls can happy to anyone.  She talked about the impact of falls and that falling is NOT a normal part of aging.  Abby shared fall prevention tips and the importance of talking to your doctor about falls.  It is never too late to start exercise routines and IT WILL HELP!   Abby talked about various exercise programs, including “Bone Builders,” “Stepping On” and “Matter of Balance.”  She talked about home safety modifications and shared a great handout “What to do if you fall and can – or can't – get up.”   We then heard from Gene Ladoucer from AAA and Lia Dobrinz from Sanford Health on the CarFit program.  They talked about how cars have changed and what is addressed in CarFit.  They shared how things change as you age, including the need for more light.  The objectives and background of CarFit were shared along with resources to find out more about CarFit (car-fit.org or SeniorDrriving.AAA.com).  CarFit is a volunteer based program that helps people “fit” in their own vehicles to optimize safety.  We learned about blindspot technology, adaptive devices and tricks for getting in and out of vehicles and that there needs to be 10” between the steering wheel and the breastbone of the driver.   Following the CarFit session, there were various options for attendees including CarFit stations, where people could actually get “fitted” in vehicles, a tour of F-M Ambulance's AMBUS, K9 Demonstrations and TRIAD 101 session.   The room for the TRIAD 101 session was overflowing and really showed the growing interest and care about TRIAD programs and the safety of our seniors throughout Minnesota.  It was a great session and the tips and information shared were invaluable to the attendees. 

The day continued with a movie, “The Hjemkomst of Robert Asp,” along with a tour and history of the Norwegian ship by Lynn Halmrast, a Hjemkomst ship crew member and sailor.  We also had an opportunity to tour the Hopperstad Stave Church, a full-scale replica of the Hopperstad Church located in the town of Vik, Norway.    These tours were followed by a delicious buffet and our Keynote Speaker:  Chaplain Mike Sonju and Will and Mel, two young men who talked about their journeys from drug dealers to finding God and changing their lives.  This was a truly inspiring message of hope about the positive impact of Jail Ministry and how all volunteers make a positive difference in the lives they touch.  Chaplain Mike talked about turning a negative into a positive, lighting a light instead of cursing the darkness and how each one of us can take “it” a step further.  Live without regrets that you could've done more!   INSPIRING!!!

The evening ended with a guided tour of the Clay County Museum’s Wet and Dry Exhibit and Beerhead Presentation by a Clay County Archivist.  Both provided a great opportunity to learn more about the history of the Fargo/Moorhead area.   A bus ride back to the hotel at 8 PM concluded a full day of learning and fun!

Our last day of the 2016 conference started with a MN TRIAD Meeting during breakfast sponsored by the BBB.     Matt Stenehjem, Fraud Officer from Bell Bank spoke about the various types of scams and shared detailed information about those scams.   Matt emphasized the importance of backing up computer files and shared a tip of hovering over links on the computer to see where you're REALLY being linked to.  Matt gave us several hints to say safe while using Craigslist.  Matt also shared information about Counterfeit money and the fact that it's illegal to enter a foreign lottery as an U.S. Citizen.  Matt spoke about Identity Theft and how to guard your information online.  There were several good questions and discussion!   Our last speaker was Kathy Nornes, Adult Protection Worker with Clay County Social Services.  Kathy focused on financial exploitation and how they handle the process of investigating and resolving these cases.  She gave information as to how to report adult abuse through the MN Adult Abuse Reporting Center at 844-880-1574 and stated that it is a statewide common entry point and open 24 hours a day.  Kathy explained the importance of having a health care directive.  

The conference concluded with the passing of the TRIAD banner from Polk and Valley TRIAD to Douglas and Pope Counties.  Douglas and Pope Counties will be hosting the 2017 TRIAD Conference.  The conference had exceptional speakers that we all learned from, provided an excellent opportunity for learning from each other and laughter and fun was had by all!   The conference had attendees from 15 counties and we were fortunate to have representatives from AARP and BBB.  We appreciate those that donated items and door prizes for the conference and our hosting county TRIAD members - you are "priceless."  We would especially like to thank all our attendees - for without you we would not have TRIAD or the TRIAD Conferences. 

TRIAD is seniors, law enforcement and senior providers working together to enhance senior safety.  For more information on TRIAD or to find a TRIAD program, you can contact Pauline Fahey, MN TRIAD Secretary at 218-536-0899, paulinefaheycc@gmail.com or your local law enforcement. 

Note:  The following web addresses may be of interest:  (1) http://www.hcscconline.org/current-exhibits/hjemkomst-viking-ship   (2) http://www.hcscconline.org/current-exhibits/the-hopperstad-stave-church  (3) http://www.hcscconline.org/wet-and-dry-alcohol-in-clay-county-1871-1937  (4)  http://www.inforum.com/content/its-my-job-jail-chaplain-felt-call-serve-after-battle-alcoholism