Vital Aging Network e-Bulletin
March 2018
In this e-Bulletin
From the Chair
Invitation to "What Mortality Can Teach Us About Living" by Dr. Ira Byock
March VAN Forum: Aging with Dignity and Respect
West Side Story at the Guthrie
Guest Column: Building a Community that Ages Well
Aging with Gusto: Upcoming Events
VAN at MGS Annual Conference
Join a Wellness 50+ Team
In the News
For Your Calendar
Volunteer Opportunities

Dr. Ira Byock: Living Lives of Gratitude, Forgiveness and Love
by Pam Hayle, Chair, Vital Aging Network

The Vital Aging Network e-Bulletin often highlights special events in our community that we hope may interest you and provide an enriching experience. VAN's programs are based on the values of engagement, critical thinking, and basically making the most of every moment as we age. 
We are highlighting an event this month that will provide powerful tools for reconciling your life relationships. Ira Byock, author of The Four Things That Matter Most and other books, will speak on Monday April 9th, in Bloomington. Dr. Byock is a champion of living well until we die. He offers basic life lessons expressed in four simple phrases, "Please forgive me," "I forgive you," "Thank you," and "I love you."
As simple and practical as these phrases are, they offer the possibility of so much: healthy relationships, healthier living, healing and wholeness. In my work with older adults, unfortunately, I see many individuals recognize the need for closure too late, and saying these simple phrases is too hard, awkward or there is just not enough time. I think we can all think of someone we could say one of these phrases to. Stating the obvious can sometimes be life transforming.
"Thank you" for reading the VAN bulletin, and we hope to see you at a VAN event or program soon.

Minnesota Network of Hospice & Palliative Care 

Invites You to a Very Special Evening

The speaker, Dr. Ira Byock, is one of the preeminent voices in medicine today. He is a leading expert in the field of palliative medicine, a practicing physician, an educator, and the author of three books: The Best Care Possible, Dying Well, and The Four Things That Matter Most. 

Monday, April 19
Doubletree by Hilton, 7800 Normandale Boulevard, Bloomington, 55439
6:00 PM: reception, refreshments, music and dance
7:00 PM: Dr. Byock

Tickets: $35,  purchased here.

For more informaton, visit


Aging with Dignity and Respect: 
It's a Social Justice Issue

Let's talk about it
" Creating a just society includes treating older people as equal members and making sure we are all connected to our communities as we age, so that we can prevent and address elder abuse."
----Frameworks Institute
We all benefit from working together in our communities to prevent and respond to ageism and the abuse of older adults. Join us for this forum on prevention and intervention and learn how to make your neighborhood a safer place for all! 

Join us for this interactive forum with Marit Peterson, program director with the Minnesota Elder Justice Center.
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
1:00 to 2:30 pm
Eastside Neighborhood Services
1700 Second Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413 [map] 
West Side Story at the Guthrie

West Side Story

Vital Aging Network Night at the Guthrie

Wednesday, August 8 - 7:30 PM
Guthrie Theater
- about the show
Mark your calendar today!

We are partnering with the Guthrie Theater again this year for reduced priced tickets for great seats. And $10 of each ticket goes to support the important work VAN does. Mark your calendars now. Ticket sales open soon.

Consider bringing a group to the performance! Contact Julie Roles at 651-895-3341 or to make arrangements.

Aging with Gusto Headlines 
St. Kate's April 5 Event

Careers in Aging Day St. Catherine University

Learn more about rapidly growing career opportunities that support and enhance the well-being of older adults and their families. Students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to attend the free event. No registration required.

April 5 - 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM and 5:00 to 8:00 PM
St. Catherine University and Carondelet Village
See flyer for specifics locations and times

Building a Community that Ages Well
by Sally Anderson, Executive Director, Community Thread

"Age is a state of mind."

---Sally Anderson's favorite comment from among discussion participants' words of wisdom.

Last month, Community Thread hosted a lively discussion about what it means to age. The Aging with Gusto workshop was attended by 40 people who examined their own views of aging and became ambassadors for spreading the word about the dangers of ageism and how it affects 
us all.

The workshop was facilitated by the Vital Aging Network. This organization encourages older adults to challenge stereotypes about aging and heighten appreciation for the capacity and contribution of people of all ages.

According to Julie Roles, Program Director, "stereotypes about aging interfere with our true experience of aging, and older adults can be complicit if they buy into the stereotypes." It starts with our awareness: how are we thinking about our own aging experience? For example is our perspective positive ("I can learn this new thing") or negative ("I am too old to learn this and besides, I have earned the right to refuse to learn something new"). Julie's advice: "be aware of who you are and the attitude that you present to the world."

"Positive self-perceptions are the foundation of a fulfilling, vital and satisfying life." 
---Sally Brown, lead facilitator,  
Aging with Gusto program

Aging with Gusto provides an opportunity for you to examine your views on aging, understand the influences on your views and adopt a more positive narrative about what it means to age. 
Forest Lake - Mondays, March 12, 19, 26
6:00 to 8:00 PM
Forest Lake City Hall
1408 Lake Street South 
Forest Lake, MN 55025 | Download a flyer | Register 
Maplewood - Wednesdays, April 11, 18, 25
5:30 to 7:30 PM
Walker Methodist Hazel Ridge
2730 Hazelwood Street
Maplewood, MN 55109 | Download a flyer | Register  

St. Paul -  Mondays, April 30, May 7, 149:00 to 11:00 AM
1415 Almond Avenue West
St Paul, MN 55108
Registration coming soon

Aging with Gusto CEU Workshop

This workshop is specifically designed for social workers, nurses, activity coordinators, housing coordinators and others who work with older adults. We will provide 6 CEU credits.

Friday, May 11 - 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Wilder Community Center for Aging
650 Marshall Avenue
St Paul, MN 55104

Download a flyer.

Register for Mayday Celebration

MGS Annual Conference 2018

VAN Presenting at Upcoming Conference

Join VAN at this year's Minnesota Gerontological Society conference on
Friday, April 27, 2018 at Earle Brown Heritage Center, Brooklyn Center, MN. The conference brings together social service professionals, healthcare providers, educators and students, researchers, policy analysts, program administrators and older adults.

Julie Roles, MA, Program Director, Vital Aging Network, will partner with James Falvey, CFRE, Executive Director, Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly to present Enhancing Wellness for Older Adults through Community Networks.

Community-based networks, often formed and maintained by participants themselves, help older adults enhance their health, independence and connectedness to their communities. Explore replicable and scalable models developed by these two organizations.

Be part of a grassroots movement to  
improve health and well-being

If you live in Washington County and want to help develop a supportive system to foster health and well-being . . . we want to talk with you.
Why join a Wellness 50+ Team?
  • Do engaging and important work.
  • Use your skills and talents.
  • Build your community leadership skills.
  • Join a dynamic team of peers.
  • Improve your own well-being and that of others in your community.
Wellness 50+ is supported by Washington County Public Health, HealthPartners, HealthEast, Allina Health, United Way of East Washington County and Citizens League.

Download an information brochure. 

Want to learn more? Contact Mark Skeie at 651-226-9578 or

Get Your Copy Now
Mapping Your Retirement book cover
Looking for a retirement, birthday or holiday gift? Here's a great idea and, for a limited time, at a reduced price.

Mapping Your Retirement: A Personal Guide to Maintaining Your Health, Managing Your Money, and Living Well  

"One of the most balanced and practical tools I have seen. It has the potential to become a classic in its category."---Amy Lindgren, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Learn more about the book.

Regularly priced at $16.50 now $8.50

Buy the Book 

In the News

Recorded on February 16, 2018,
Atul Gawande MD, MPH, is a surgeon, public health researcher, and writer.  He practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital and is a Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Samuel O. Thier Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. Gawande  has been a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine since 1998 and has written four New York Times bestsellers: Complications, Better, The Checklist Manifesto, and most recently, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.

By Rod Hamilton, February 16, 2018,
Too much power is held by a little-known entity: pharmacy benefit managers.
By Paul Prettitore, February 21, 2018,
A recent survey of 101 poor women in Jordan who sought legal aid assistance for family law problems reported that legal aid services had improved their lives. The survey, administered by the Justice Center for Legal Aid, a Jordanian civil society organization that provides legal aid to the poor, produced interesting findings in three areas: access to economic assets, domestic violence and the role of legal aid services.

Addressing Elder Abuse in Minnesota Long-Term Care Settings
AARP Minnesota - January 29, 2018
Elder abuse is intolerable and an affront to human rights. While years in the making, the scale and gravity of this crisis began to take shape for policymakers during the 2017 legislative session when the Office of Health Facility Complaints ("OHFC") at the Minnesota Department of Health ("MDH ") reported a 600 percent increase in maltreatment reports since 2010 and an ability to investigate only 1 percent of the 20,791 reports from providers and 10 percent of the 3,491 reports from individuals. AARP-MN and partners prepared this report at the request of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.

For Your Calendar
Saturday, April 21, 9:00 to 11:00 AM
I Can Hardly Wait to Grow Old! With Tom Allen and Liz Kerwin
Loyola Spirituality Center, 389 N. Oxford Street, St. Paul, 55104.
Learn  about growing old and about how you can live vibrantly with dignity and grace for the rest of your life! Registration Fee is $30.00. More information or to register.

Thursday, March 29, 7:00 PM
Michael Pollan: How Cooking Can Change Your Life
Carlson Family Stage, Northrup Auditorium, University of Minnesota
The average American spends just 27 minutes a day preparing food-which means that many people now spend a lot more time watching other people cook on TV than doing it themselves. But the outsourcing of this work to corporations has had disastrous effects on our health, our family life, and even on our agriculture. 
Volunteer Opportunities
Lyngblomsten Gathering Sites
Volunteers are paired with a Gathering Site participant living with memory loss to give the participant's caregiver a day of respite. Volunteers and participants enjoy  music, dance, art, lunch, and other activities. Volunteer shifts are 10 AM to 
3 PM on Tuesdays at Gathering Sites in Woodbury, White Bear Lake, West St. Paul and Roseville.  Gathering volunteers have said "I consider my time at the Gathering my day of fun, not my day of volunteering!" and "The other volunteers, and the participants, are smart and exciting to be around!" Volunteers receive thorough training before starting at The Gathering site of their choosing.  
Anna's Cafe and Gift Shop, Lyngblomsten Care Center, St. Paul
V olunteers help Anna's customers ----- residents of Lyngblomsten as well as staff, visitors, vendors and family members -----get their lunch, enjoy an ice cream cone, have a snack or do a little shopping. Easy training during the first shift equips volunteers to use iPad cash register technology and an oven for heating snacks. Anna's volunteers receive a 20 percent discount on their purchases.
For more information about these or other Lyngblomsten volunteer opportunities, call Peggy Cerrito at 651-632-5406 or  email Peggy. Individuals can  complete  an online volunteer application by clicking on  Volunteer Application. 
FamilyMeans Caregiver Support Program
Caregiving and Aging Services Volunteers
Caregiving and Aging Services are seeking male, female, couples or team volunteers in the following cities: Cottage Grove, Oakdale, Woodbury, Stillwater, Bayport and Hugo. Care means giving and receiving, and when you become a volunteer you will quickly see that giving of your time to help another get a break from their caregiver role will mean that you will be receiving all the benefits of volunteering as well. Volunteers are needed for day and weekend hours for as little as four to eight hours a month. Training and ongoing support are provided. If you can listen, take a walk, play a game, share a story, do a puzzle, look at photos, talk, laugh, watch a movie, reflect about old times and current times, and enjoy bringing a smile to a care receiver, we need you. Please contact Dianne Vierling at 651-789-4055 or email

In-home Respite Volunteer
Giving caregivers a much-needed break is always our greatest need. Providing "respite" does not mean what people may think it means. Respite volunteers do not do any personal cares or daily living cares. Most volunteers visit, play a game, go for a walk, read a book or watch TV with their senior who may have a cognitive delay, memory loss, Alzheimer's, dementia, or Parkinson's, or be frail and not safe to be alone. Male and female volunteers are needed for day and/or weekend hours. Volunteers are asked to commit to three months, providing breaks two to four times a month for a two- to four-hour visit. We need volunteers in Cottage Grove, Woodbury, Oakdale, Stillwater, Oak Park Heights, Forest Lake and other cities throughout Washington County. For more information, please contact Dianne Vierling, FamilyMeans Volunteer Coordinator at 651-789-4055, or email, or visit 
Would you like to receive the Vital Aging Network e-Bulletin? Subscribe Now