Barnesville Area Helpers

Helping Elders Live Proudly Enjoyably Responsibly and Safely

Barnesville Area Helpers is a network of concerned volunteers assisting our neighbors over 65 to live safely and securely while enhancing their quality of life within the community.

There's a Need!

Here are a few examples of calls and requests that we get daily! 
“How can I get to my doctor’s  appointment in Fargo?”
“Is there someone who could help me shovel my sidewalk?”
“How do I use the new computer tablet my son gave me?” 
“Do you have a walker that we can use?”
“How can I get a break from caring for my wife with dementia?”

Who Are We?

Debra Trygstad, Program Director

Debra started as the Program Director in April 2021. A Barnesville high school graduate, she is familiar with many of the names and faces of the people in her new role. Debra graduated from North Dakota State University with a Master of Science in Gerontology (the study of aging). Her intention was to learn how to age well. Since graduating she has held various positions in the field, including working with a Senior Community Service Employment Program for many years helping low-income seniors find jobs. She worked in this role first as a Coordinator and then as the State Program Manager where she managed federal and state grants. Most recently, she helped with the Valley edition of Senior Perspectives where she was able to tell stories about amazing seniors and their adventures and write about purposeful aging.
Debra passion is to write and speak about purposeful aging, mindfulness and living well at home which is why this position fit right into her life goals. As part of her position at Barnesville Area HELPERS, she helps promote the program in social media and the website, writes and manages the grants that fund the program, resource development and plans special events and classes.
Debra has been married for almost 40 years to a Pelican Rapids native and lives in the country near Erhard. They have two amazing children and are blessed with two wonderful grandchildren. Debra loves camping and country life raising chickens, corgis and has a huge garden filled with her grandmothers’ raspberries.

Deb Abbey, Wellness Coordinator

Deb’s role as Wellness Coordinator began in June of 2018 when, after a few years of retirement, she decided to return to part time employment. As a master’s level social worker, Deb was thrilled to be invited to join Barnesville Area HELPERS where she has been provided the opportunity to fulfill her ongoing desire to be of service to others. Deb’s background as a therapist serving individuals and families complements her position as Wellness Coordinator.
In her role, Deb serves Barnesville area seniors through face-to-face contact, conducts safety & needs assessments, develops and facilitates educational & health-related programming and plans & coordinates social events. Another facet of Deb’s role is recruitment and coordination of a team of volunteers who make it possible for HELPERS to provide a variety of services. Assuring that area seniors have services available to them that will aid them in continuing to live happily, safely, and independently in their own homes and community is the priority.
Deb is the proud mother to three, grandmother to eight, and great-grandmother to one. Having been born and raised in a small town, she feels right at home in Barnesville where she has resided since 2018.

Lori VanWatermulen, Office Support Staff

Lori VanWatermulen, Board Member of Helpers

Lori and her spouse Jay are parents to sons Sam and Bodie and have resided in Barnesville for 8 years. For 15 years before becoming a parent, Lori worked as a cosmetologist. This was an experience that allowed her to express her creativity and to work closely with people. 

Lori and Jay made the decision that she would become a stay-at-home mom and focus on raising their pre-school children so, when they became parents, she did just that. 

During this time Lori served as a volunteer with HELPERS, sharing the time she had available to help others and to support the HELPERS mission. Once her boys were both at school age, Lori began exploring career opportunities. 

In November of 2022, Lori eagerly became an office support staff person with Barnesville Area HELPERS. This was a very good fit for Lori as she has always held older folks close to her heart. She recalls being a toddler and seeing how her own mother served the elderly in their small, central ND town. It clearly had an impact on her. With these caregiving instincts deeply rooted, HELPERS and it’s mission are a perfect fit for her. 

What Area Do We Serve?

How We Can Help?

The Barnesville Area Helpera is a network of concerned citizens assisting our neighbors over age 65 to live safely and securely in their homes; while enhancing their quality of life within the community.
Our trained volunteers and professional staff provide compassionate and confidential assistance that enables seniors in the Barnesville School District Area to remain in their own homes and connected to our community.

We serve everyone regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or financial status.


  • Rides to local and regional medical appointments.
  • Grocery Store
  • Pharmacy
  • Hair Appointments
  • Other Errands 
Please NOTE: 48 hours notice is required.

In-Home Support

  • Home safety assessment
  • Housekeeping
  • Companionship
  • Respite
  • Pharmacy pick-up and delivery
  • Grocery pick-up and delivery
  • Meals-On-Wheels delivery
  • Toenail Clipping Clinic

Caregiver Support & Assistance

  • Home Visits
  • Individual & Family Consults
  • Assessment and Referrals 
  • Service Planning & Referrals
  • Caregiver Support
  • Respite Care

Events & Classes

  • Matter of Balance Class
  • Tai Chi Quan
  • Computer Classes
  • Monthly Social Events
  • Monthly Coffee Connect
  • NEW! Information Resource Center (Covid & Vaccine Information)

Medical Equipment Loan Closet

Free use of medical equipment for any Individual(s) in need of durable medical equipment for either short-term or long-term use.  

  • Canes
  • Commodes
  • Shower Chairs and Benches
  • Toilet Risers
  • Walkers 
  • Wheeled Walkers with Seat
  • Wheelchairs
  • And More

What Information Will Be Needed

Name, Address, Phone and other contact person and phone number

Call 218-354-7090 or visit us at 

124 2nd Ave South East, Barnesville

Hours 9a-1p Monday-Friday

Medical Equipment Donations Always Appreciated!  

What's been said

“I’m so grateful for the Barnesville HELPERS Program because of the great programs that are offered for all seniors in our community; and for all the services of care that are available to all residents. Helpers is a real asset to the community.
Mabel Sacrison
Mabel S.
“I called Helpers for my parents who live in Barnesville. A senior citizen myself, I found old-fashioned caring and mending a hand. My parents did too in the calls and visits they had from Helpers. It’s been a place to learn about available resources and needed information, as well as check out medical equipments and receive a ride to an appointment. The Matter of Balance class was informative with good exercices, coffee break and light hearted conversation. Thank you Helpers!
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Donna McEvers
Coming soon...
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Dianna Smiley