Vital Aging Network e-Bulletin

Healthy Aging: We Can Do Better
By Pam Hayle, Chair, Vital Aging Network

I try to share positive perspectives on aging and other age-friendly information in our e-Bulletin. Perhaps it is the cloudy weather or post-holiday blues, but my attention was pulled this week to some rather alarming health statistics for older adults in Minnesota.

These are three areas I was surprised Minnesotans do NOT excel at:
  • Obesity - defined as body mass index >= 30.0 (Source: CDC 2013)
    • Age 50-64 - 31.2 percent are obese
    • Age 65 and older - 24.8 percent are obese
  • Binge Drinking in the last 30 days (source: Administration on Aging)
    • Age 50-64 - 20.5 percent compared to 16.8 percent nationally  
    • Age 65 and older - 8.4 percent compared to 7.1 nationally 
Binge Drinking Older Adults 2011
I interact everyday with older adults of various ages who are health-conscious ---they are not only working at being healthy but proud of it and excelling at it. Perhaps VAN needs to have the CDC audit our network where healthy lifestyles are embraced and celebrated.

So my positive note to all of you is: Congratulations on being healthy older adults in Minnesota, and keep spreading the news about health and wellness in our state.
Pam Hayle signature
Why Stop Working?
Rethinking why, when and whether we retire

Since our first jobs, we've been encouraged to prepare for retirement---the time in our lives when we can stop, typically between ages 60 and 65.

Why? Why stop working?
And, why then?

The facts are that we're healthier and living longer, there's a growing workforce shortage and the majority of boomers haven't saved enough for a long retirement. Plus, research shows engaging in meaningful work enhances longer lives, providing social contacts and a sense of contribution.

Join us for this two-hour workshop. Explore the forces impacting the decision to stop working at "traditional retirement age"; learn about alternative approaches to the next phase of your life and start thinking about your personal pathway for continued engagement.   

photo of Mary Jo Schifsky
Saturday, February 20, 2016
10:00 AM to 12:00 Noon
Danish American Center
3030 West River Parkway South
Minneapolis, MN 55406 [ map
(Free and easy parking)

Cost $20

Workshop Leader: Mary Jo Schifsky has held a variety of for- and non-profit positions, most recently as executive director of Store To Door. With more experience and connections than ever, she will help connect you with a variety of national and international resources.  
Register now 

Download the flyer 

Author William Kent Krueger to speak at Hamline Midway Health Movement
The Hamline Midway Health Movement (HMHM)-a Vital Aging Network's Wellness 50+ effort-invites Hamline Midway residents to attend their kick-off event featuring local author William Kent Krueger.

photo-William Kent Krueger
Thursday, March 17, 2016
6:00 PM
Hamline United Methodist Church
1415 Englewood Ave
St Paul, MN [map]

The event will feature a free healthy meal and lecture by Krueger, the renowned Saint Paul novelist who wrote the Cork O'Connor mysteries as well as "Ordinary Grace".

This event is the first of many monthly events that will be hosted by HMHM in 2016. HMHM is a grassroots group of Hamline Midway residents who are striving to improve the wellness of the Hamline Midwaycommunity by engaging residentsover the age of fifty in healthy activities and education.

Visit the HMHM Facebook page for more information.

RSVP for the March 17 event by sending a note to

Join the HMHM team!

Hamline Midway Health Movement (the Wellness 50+ effort in Saint Paul) is recruiting members for its leadership team.

Do you want to be a force for wellness in the Hamline Midway neighborhood? Interested in learning more? Contact Liz Plunkett at or

In the News

TPT - Twin Cities PBS, Aired January 5, 2016
Dr. Atul Gawande, author of "Being Mortal," shares his vision of healthcare that helps people live well to the end. Produced with Allina Health.

Elder Orphans: A Baby Boomer's Aging-Alone Plan
The Huffington Post, January 4, 2016, by Carol Marak
This is the first of a blog series on how Carol plans to care for herself in the elderly years. Like many over 60 years of age, she hasn't planned well, and adults like her who live without a spouse or children cannot afford to put it off.

The Effects of an Aging Population in 2016
Minnesota Public Radio, January 14, 2016, hosted by Tom Weber
As MPR News host Tom Weber continued a series of conversations looking ahead to 2016, he examined how aging will factor into our policy decisions and our daily lives with Gayle Kvenvold, CEO of LeadingAge Minnesota; Sean Kershaw, executive director of Citizens League; and Susan Brower, state demographer.

95-Year-Old Jazz Pianist Gets the Band Back Together
Next Avenue, January 7, 2016, by Bryce Kirchoff
We know that there are lifelong benefits to music. Researchers are finding that playing instruments helps the brain age welland hearing a selection of favorite songs can reawaken the brains of dementia patients. Then there's the benefit of community that emerges when groups of people make and enjoy music together. See what happens when a retirement home hosts a jam session for a resident.

10 Facts You Need to Know About Hospice
AARP Bulletin, November 2015, by Paula Spencer Scott
Is hospice care the right option for you or a loved one?
Volunteer Opportunities

Vital Aging Network
Aging with Gusto Facilitator
Positive self-perceptions can make a big difference in our lives, particularly as we age. Research shows that how we think about ourselves can affect health outcomes, quality of life and even longevity. Yet, it's easy for biases, misconceptions and stereotypes about older people to sneak into our thinking. Aging with Gusto discussions offer an engaging and fun way to talk about our experiences of aging and learn about ways to maximize the wonderful gift of a long life. We are currently looking for volunteer facilitators to lead Aging with Gusto discussions. The Vital Aging Network will provide complete training, a facilitator's guide and opportunities to co-lead discussions with an experienced facilitator.  Download the position description. For more information contact Julie Roles at


Tax Site Assistant
Do you enjoy greeting people and seeing things run smoothly? As a Tax Site Assistant, you will work closely with the tax site coordinator and volunteer tax preparers and reviewers to keep the multi-step process running smoothly. The tax site locations are in the west metro. Free RSVP benefits for volunteer age 55 and over.       

Tax Preparer
Help low-income people get their taxes prepared. The tax preparer works one-on-one with customers to prepare state and federal tax returns. They help customers access important tax benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Volunteers will receive in-depth tax preparation training. Sign up by Feb 15, 2016.

Free RSVP benefit for volunteers age 55 and over. For more information about these and other volunteer positions available through RSVP, contact Mary Quirk at or 612-704-6114.

Allina Health

Hospice Volunteer
As an Allina Health hospice volunteer, you will support patients and families in your own community. Provide companionship, support and a listening presence for patients at end of life and their family members. Allina provides free online training with wrap-up training groups provided monthly in St. Paul. Allina Health's hospice program serves patients and families in 32 counties throughout Minnesota and into western Wisconsin. Volunteer in homes or facilities or at JA Wedum, a residential hospice in Brooklyn Park. Find your perfect fit! Please apply online at or call 612-262-7108 for more information.

Mothers First
Child Care Assistants and Drivers
The Mothers First program provides prevention and intervention services for pregnant women who are abusing chemicals. A Child Care Assistant is needed to help agency staff in providing supervision and care for the children while mom is attending counseling sessions. Drivers are also needed to provide transportation to mothers in recovery to/from groups with our Mothers First program. Mileage reimbursement is provided. Contact Ramsey County Health & Wellness Service Team - Volunteer Services at 651-266-4090 or for more information.  

Minnehaha Creek Watershed District
Board Openings
The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners is accepting applications for two vacancies on the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board. This board coordinates the management of water and related land resources in the watershed that drains into Lake Minnetonka and Minnehaha Creek. The deadline for applications is February 25, with interviews to be held at the following board committee meeting. More information.

Store to Door
Volunteer Order Taker
Would you like to assist seniors to have access to food resources? Store To Door, a nonprofit grocery shopping and delivery service, serves seniors (60+) who wish to remain at home. Order takers volunteer about one hour each week from home, calling clients and entering grocery orders in an online system. This virtual volunteering makes it easy to volunteer at home, during a lunch break or in any other location where you have online access. Upcoming training sessions will be held at Store To Door, 1935 County Road B2 W Suite #250, Roseville, MN 55113, on Friday, February 5, 2016 from 1-2:30 PM and Tuesday, February 16, 2016 from 6-7:30 PM Online training is available too. For more information or to sign up for a training session, contact or call 651-642-1892.

Ebenezer Minneapolis Campus
Truth Point Surveyor
Ebenezer is recruiting 2-4 volunteers for a long term project conducting a survey of residents. A 3-month commitment is requested for this position, schedule is flexible, possibly 6 hours/week. Ideal candidates will practice good confidentiality and boundary issues, have good social skills and be able to navigate a Notepad touch screen.

Food Shelf Volunteers
Assist with an In-House Food Shelf program. Come and help every 3rd Wednesday of each month at 2:15-4:30pm. You will be helping carry in food, set up tables, handing out numbers, passing out food and taking down. They need up to 12 volunteers. You will receive mandated Civil Rights training (20 minutes, before your first shift). Volunteers are asked to arrive at 1:45 pm to help unload the food truck.

Ebenezer has many additional opportunities. Download a flyer or contact Laura Arne, Director of Volunteers, at 612-872-8515.

Amherst H Wilder Foundation
Wilder Caregiver Peer Support Volunteer
Did you take care of your parents as they were aging? Your spouse? Your partner? Your friend? Then you get it: caregiving can be challenging, frustrating, fulfilling ... If you are a former caregiver and want to make a difference in the life of a current caregiver for an older adult, then consider becoming a Peer Support (P.S.) volunteer. PS volunteers are former caregivers who are matched with current caregivers for monthly phone conversations. Volunteers understand what it means to care for someone because they have done it, and now they want to help others in their caregiving roles. Volunteers will be trained prior to being matched and are asked to commit to at least six months; volunteers can expect to spend 1-3 hours a month volunteering. For more information, please contact Grant Watkins, at or call 651-280-2504.

Fitness Leader
Is 2016 your year to get fit or stay fit? Are a leader? Is volunteering at a great St. Paul community organization on your list of things to do this year? Look no further, Lyngblomsten has multiple opportunities for you to get/stay fit, lead and volunteer all at the same time! Tai Ji Quan, Walking Groups and A Matter of Balance classes are just a few of the volunteer opportunities that await you at Lyngblomsten. Check  out, go to the "Get Involved" tab for more volunteer information and for an application, or call Shelli at 651-414-5297.

Cafe and Gift Shop Assistance
Did you enjoy your retail career but are ready for a change of pace? Are you a social person that wants to volunteer in the Como area of St. Paul? Why not come to Anna's Café and Gift Shop at Lyngblomsten Care Center? Anna's Café and Gift Shop volunteers help residents/tenants (average age 87), staff and families find gift items, greeting cards, snacks and personal items in our small gift shop and scoop ice cream or make quick cook items in the Café. Volunteers also run the cash register and visit with customers and each other! Training is provided. Weekday shifts are from 8:30-1:00 and 1:00-4:15, weekend shifts are from 11:45-4:15. Fill out an application at or call Shelli at 651-414-5297 for more information.

The Dakota County Public Health Department
Dakota County's Health Promotion Unit is looking for volunteers to help co-facilitate falls prevention workshops at community sites. The workshop is called "A Matter of Balance" (an 8-week falls prevention workshop series for older adults). Prior to working with the community, volunteers will receive a free 2-day training Feb. 24 & 25, 2016, offered by the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging and step-by-step curriculum to lead discussions and gentle exercises with a small group of older adults. There will be two facilitators for each class. More information.
The following calendar items are presented as information only. They are not Vital Aging Network events.

For Your Calendar

Mondays, February 22, 29, and March 7
Aging By Design: Exploring the Possibilities

5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Family Means

1875 Northwestern Avenue South
Stillwater, MN 55082
Join us for this three-part series led by FamilyMeans' experts to learn how to identify and map out your individual aging-by-design goals. Design your personal path to retirement, explore the changes that occur as people age, and be part of the discussion to break sensitive subjects into workable steps for your future possibilities. Cost: $45 per person or $35 per person if two or more people register together at the same time. Register by email  to or call Theresa Simms at (651) 789-4007. More information.

January and February
"Artful Living" Community Classes and Programs
Lyngblomsten Campus
1415 Almond Avenue
St Paul, MN 55108
Artful Living is designed to provide quality arts experiences to enhance lives, ignite creativity, and drive passion toward living full, whole, and healthy lives. For more details, visit or download the flyer.
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