Vital Aging Network e-Bulletin
MARCH 2016

Let VAN help you make a difference

Overlapping hands, let's all work together

Are you interested in using your experience and knowledge to contribute to something that matters? I would like to personally invite you to get involved with the Vital Aging Network.

I can tell you from personal experience, that engaging in this network can be invigorating, sometimes challenging and rewarding. I started to volunteer with VAN in 2005, serving on the board and various task forces. I have been the volunteer executive director since 2010. In these roles I have had a chance to work with an incredible number of interesting and capable people who are looking for both personal fulfillment and an opportunity to make a real difference in the world.

As a grassroots organization, the Vital Aging Network is mostly directed and operated by people who volunteer their time and talents. Most volunteers work as part of ongoing task forces. People get engaged in VAN to connect with civic-minded people, make use of their skills and talents and create positive change.

It has been twelve years since the seminal MetLife report on "Reinventing Aging" was published. The report raised the issue of how we will engage the 76 million boomers in our communities, and suggested that the infrastructure to do so did not exist.

As a society, we have not come as far as I would have hoped since 2004. I do believe, however, that the way that the Vital Aging Network engages volunteers as serious contributors in leadership roles is a start of the kind of infrastructure the MetLife report imagined.

Together we have tremendous power and we can all play a role. The opportunities listed below are some ways you can get involved right now. We are on a mission to grow those opportunities, and you can help make that happen.

Mark Skeie Signature

Mark Skeie
Executive Director, Vital Aging Network

Volunteer Opportunities with VAN
Aging with Gusto
Positive self-perceptions can make a big difference in our lives. Research shows that how we think about ourselves can affect health outcomes, quality of life and even longevity. Yet, as we age, 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.

Aging with Gusto Program Assistant 
The Aging with Gusto program assistant will work with the Aging with Gusto task force to handle logistics and scheduling of discussions and facilitators. You will attend task force meetings, take and distribute notes and assist with the program in other ways as needed. Task force meets 1:00-3:00 PM, first Thursday of the month at Wilder Community Center for Aging, 650 Marshall Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104. Estimated at four to six hours per month. Download the position description.

Aging with Gusto Facilitator 
We are still looking for a few more 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.

Volunteer Coordinator 
The Vital Aging Network engages volunteers in a unique and innovative way, and we are looking for someone to help make our system work better. We'll want you to make connections, build relationships and ensure that people have what they need to contribute in their volunteer roles and that they are rewarded (intrinsically mostly) for their work. It can feel like herding cats but it can also be fulfilling---you will be instrumental in getting a lot of good work done! HR experience would be helpful. Approximately 10 to 15 hours per month.

Marketing/Communications Volunteer 
The Marketing/Communications volunteer position will play a key role in helping VAN reach a broader audience, especially among the growing population of people over 50 years old. Working with VAN leadership, the position will establish and implement a communications plan to raise public awareness of VAN and its activities and increase its base of active network participants. The position will not have a direct role in fundraising. Time commitment will vary somewhat throughout the year but should average 10 to 15 hours per month.
Forums Task Force Member/Event Planner  
The Forums Task Force plans and implements forums and workshops for people in VAN's network and the population at large. As a task force member, you would contribute your ideas and help to bring them to life by finding a venue, speaker, and possibly helping with the setup and registration at the events. The task force meets for one, two-hour meeting a month and this role might work an additional 5 to 8 hours per month. The position will not have a direct role in fundraising.

If you are interested in any of these positions, contact John Pain at or 651-323-8415.
Aging with Gusto discussions
in two east metro locations

If you haven't participated in the Vital Aging Network's Aging with Gusto discussions yet, now's your chance!

Studies show that our self-perceptions as we age have a dramatic impact on quality of life, health and even longevity.

Join us for these life-changing discussions in two east metro locations.

Woodwinds Health Campus
1925 Woodwinds Drive
Woodbury, Minnesota 55125

Fridays 3:00 to 4:30 PM
  • March 25: What It Means to Age
  • April 1: Influences on Views of Aging
  • April 8: Getting to Aging with Gusto
Download a flyer |  Register now!

Lumen Christi Catholic Community 
Community Room
2055 Bohland Ave, St Paul, MN 55116

Note: This series has an interesting twist: men and women will meet separately in sessions one through three and together in session four. It's a unique opportunity, and we invite you to join us!

Fridays 8:30 to 10:00 AM
  • April 8: What It Means to Age
  • April 15: Influences on Views of Aging
  • April 22: Getting to Aging with Gusto
  • April 29: Integration and Next Steps

Download a flyer | Register now! 


Both series are free and open to the public.

Author William Kent Krueger to speak at Hamline Midway Health Movement

Krueger with his books

Thursday, March 17, 2016
6:00 pm - Healthy dinner by local chef, Erik Hendrickson (free-will donation)
6:45 pm -
Hamline Church United Methodist
1514 Englewood Ave
Saint Paul, MN

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

Saint Paul resident and New York Times best-selling author, William Kent Krueger's works include Ordinary Grace and the Cork O'Connor series.

Visit the HMHM Facebook page for more information. Download the flyer.

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

Next Avenue, January 27, 2016, by Jim Firman
Our nation's 76 million boomers have been given an unprecedented gift of health and longevity. But to a great extent, we're squandering this gift. It's time to create new expectations and norms for people aged 60 to 100.

Government Spells Out New Social Security Rules
Kiplinger, February 19, 2016, by Rachel L Sheedy
Boomers who are in their sixties, tune in: The Social Security Administration has finally issued official guidance on the phaseout of two popular claiming strategies, and if you qualify, you need to act quickly.

Scammed you once? Crooks Bet on Scamming You Again
USA Today, February 21, 2016, by Susan Tompor
Scam someone once and they feel plenty of shame, maybe so much that they hand over more money to the next round of con artists promising to help them get their money back. Of course, you have to pay an upfront fee. And of course, it's another scam. And the victims are usually the elderly, already suffering from a financial loss.

10 Steps to Find the Right Nursing Home for Mom and Dad
U.S. News and World Report/Money, February 19, 2016, by Maryalene LaPonsie
Too often, the term "nursing home" conjures up images of sterile, cold environments where seniors live out their last days alone. It's a stereotype Marlene Heller says is all wrong. "Don't look at it as a place where someone is going to go to die," she says. "It's where they're going to live." To find a nursing home where your parents can live with dignity, Heller and other experts in the field say following these 10 steps can help you locate the perfect place.

9 Surprising Foods That Raise Blood Pressure
Next Avenue, January 29, 2016, by Rita Colorito
It's well-known that too much sodium can contribute to high blood pressure. Not as obvious are the sources of all that salt, as well as other foods that can cause your blood pressure to rise. Limiting these nine foods can make a big difference in preventing heart disease and stroke.
Volunteer Opportunities

Wardrobe Assistants
Are you known for your sense of style? Harriet's Closet is an amazing Tubman resource: a "boutique"-styled space complete with donated clothing for women and teens, it offers a personal shopping experience for community members and Tubman clients at no cost to them. Wardrobe Assistants work one-on-one with individuals who come into the Closet as they shop for and select casual and business-professional attire. Make a difference in someone's life by offering clients a fun, boutique shopping experience while providing them with needed clothes and accessories! Volunteers are needed during daytime hours in our Minneapolis and Maplewood locations. Complete our volunteer application or contact Joanie Braun at or call 612-767-6680.

Ramsey County
Frequent Filer (Office Assistant)
Volunteer office assistants are needed in several areas. Accounts Payable---open received mail and log the details on a spreadsheet, and doing some filing.  Accounts Receivable---filing.  Administration---work with the Volunteer program, Training & Development and Human Resources. Multiple shifts available, Monday through Friday during regular business hours. Downtown St. Paul location with limited reimbursement for parking expense or bus fare. Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age. Contact Ramsey County - Volunteer Services at 651-266-4090 for additional information or email to

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.  

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.

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 following calendar items are presented as information only. They are not Vital Aging Network events.

For Your Calendar

Mondays starting March 7, 2016
Beginning Ukulele Classes
2:30 PM to 3:30 PM
Lyngblomsten Campus
1415 Almond Avenue
St Paul, MN 55108
MacPhail Music for Life™ is a program for adults 55+ looking for a comfortable and inviting place to pursue music. This introductory course is for students who want to have fun playing a stringed instrument that is accessible, portable, and easy to learn. Teaching is individualized and suited to each ability level from absolute beginner to intermediate players. Bring your own ukulele! For more information and to register visit or call 612-321-0100. Download the flyer.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Crossing Antarctica with Cathy de Moll
10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
An intimate look at the remarkable characters and events behind a first-of-its-kind trip crossing Antarctica, told by Cathy de Moll. De Moll was the executive director of the International Trans-Antarctica Expedition and is the author of Think South: How We Got Six Men and Forty Dogs Across Antarctica (MNHS Press, October 2015). Cost: $2, does not include admission to the History Center. Get tickets online or call 651-259-3015.

Thursday, March 17, 2016
Book Discussion with Author William Kent Krueger
6:00 PM Free-donation Healthy Dinner, 6:45 PM Program
Hamline Church United Methodist
1514 Englewood Ave
St Paul, MN
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. Download the flyer. RSVP for the March 17 event by sending a note to

March - various dates
"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.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016
The Children's Theatre Company at 50... The Magic Continues
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Elmer L. Andersen Library, Room 120
University of Minnesota
222 21st Ave South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Please join the Performing Arts Archives in celebrating the opening of The Children's Theatre Company at 50... The Magic Continues, an exhibit featuring the Children's Theatre Company's expansive archives. Guest speakers for the evening include Children's Theatre Company Artistic Director Peter Brosius and other special guests. The event is free and open to the public. More information. Reserve here by March 30. 

Thursdays, April 14 - May 19, 2016
Powerful Tools for Caregivers
10:00 AM to 12:00 NOON
Edina Senior Center
5280 Grandview Square
Edina, MN
This 6-week, small-group education program is designed to provide you with a wealth of self-care tools that will help you take care of yourself while taking care of others. You will learn to reduce stress, improve your self-confidence, balance your life, better communicate your feelings, increase your ability to make tough decisions, and locate helpful resources. $60 suggested contribution includes a Caregiver Handbook (sliding fee available). Download the flyer. To register, contact Mary Cordell, LSW, Resource Consultant at the Normandale Center for Healing & Wholeness, 952-977-9363 or call the Edina Senior Center, 952-833-9570.

Tuesdays, April 19 - May 24, 2016
Better Choices, Better Health
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Creekside Community Center
9801 Penn Ave. So.
Bloomington, MN
This course increases confidence and skills in managing care for yourself. It is designed to build skills in identifying issues, setting goals, solving problems, communicating, working with health care providers, and finding out where to go for more information. To register, call Martha Anderson at Normandale Center for Healing & Wholeness, 952-977-9374.
Download the flyer.

Thursdays, April 21 - June 9, 2016
Matter of Balance - Managing Concerns about Falls
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Edina Senior Center
5280 Grandview Square
Edina, MN
Have you turned down a chance to go out with family or friends because you were concerned about falling? Did you know that the fear of falling can be just as dangerous as falling itself? This 8-week program can help you improve your quality of life and increase your independence. Cost: $60 - sliding feel available. To register, call Martha Anderson at Normandale Center for Healing & Wholeness, 952-977-9374.
Download the flyer.

Monday, April 25, 2016
International Elders Day
12:00 NOON to 3:00 PM
First Lutheran Church
463 Maria Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55106
Please join us as we celebrate the cultural diversity that is St. Paul's East Side. Enjoy snacks and entertainment from around the world - right here in Dayton's Bluff. Learn about resources and services available in the community. There is no charge for this event - but please call to let us know you are coming by calling 651-683-2326. Download the flyer.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Life Reimagined Checkup: Discover Your "What's Next"
6:00 to 8:00 PM
Roosevelt High School
4029 28th Ave. South
Minneapolis, MN 55406

We all know that having purpose leads to effectiveness at work, better health, happiness and even prolonged life. However, in reality, your talents, passions and values may not always be in alignment---whether in work, relationships or with your health. In this workshop, you will reflect on past experiences, explore future possibilities and connect with peers to find shared aspirations for "what's next." You will understand the Life Reimagined Approach which is a series of practices that help you identify priorities, take the first step, get past barriers and achieve goals, all with greater purpose. Minneapolis Community Education is offering this class in partnership with AARP Minnesota. Register online or call 612-668-4828. Cost: $15.
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