Vital Aging Network e-Bulletin
APRIL 2017
In this e-Bulletin
From the Executive Director
Joan Janecek Rests Easy: She Has a Plan
Aging with Gusto CEU Workshop Early Registration Extended
Oakdale Wellness 50+ Fosters Health and Well-being
Nominate to the '50 over 50' List
Get Engaged with VAN
Volunteer Opportunities
In the News
Strengthening existing programs and exploring new opportunities
by Mark Skeie, Executive Director

Overlapping hands, let's all work together

I want to start by saying thank you to the many people who responded to our request for assistance in the last VAN e-Bulletin. Your response reinforces the value you place on the work that the Vital Aging Network does and has put us on the path to exploring some significant new partnerships and opportunities.

You are an essential part of helping to achieve VAN's mission. Thanks for stepping up by volunteering, donating and connecting us to potential partners.
The work we do is important and is making a difference:

With our Aging with Gusto program, the Vital Aging Network is a leading voice in the effort to change the narrative around aging and address the devastating effects of ageism. Our Aging with Gusto team---made up of ten dedicated individuals---is participating in a six-hour retreat next weekend to continue to sharpen and deepen their ability to lead this important program.

Leaders from our Wellness 50+ team met with Nico Pronk, President of HealthPartners Institute and a long-time mentor to our program, and Joel Spoonheim, Director of Health Promotion at HealthPartners, last week. The meeting gave us an opportunity to present the outcomes Wellness 50+ has produced and pick their brains about our model and opportunities for taking the work to the next level. It was a fruitful meeting and helped to confirm our conviction that we are on track and that the program is worthy of expansion.

We continue to believe that one of the most important issues in our field is
connecting older adults with opportunities to use their skills and talents and make a contribution to something greater than themselves. This has been our work since the inception of the Vital Aging Network. Now, we are looking at ways that we can expand that work, engage more people and be more effective. Watch for more on that shortly.

Now is a great time to get involved. Be a part of a high energy, effective team addressing issues and opportunities for older adults. Take a look at volunteer opportunities elsewhere in this bulletin or give me a call at 651-226-9578 or email me at
Make a Donation
Do you value the contribution that the Vital Aging Network makes in
our community and in your life? If you do, please consider making a contribution to keep VAN strong.

Or save the financial fees and send a check to us at Vital Aging Network, 2365 McKnight Road, North St. Paul, MN 55109.

Joan Janecek Rests Easy:
She Has a Plan

Joan Janecek
Joan Janecek, 81, participated in the Aging With Gusto series hosted by the White Bear Area Senior Program last year.

As part of the program, she created a goal of selling her home and move to an independent senior living community within five years.

Joan kept us informed on her progress. In the fall of 2016, she attended educational workshops and toured local senior living communities as part of the White Bear Area Senior Housing Awareness Month initiative. In January she attended a workshop on "Selling the Family Home." In March, Joan contacted a realtor to assess the readiness of her home and give her a price estimate. He also helped her calculate which housing options she could afford.

Joan now feels relaxed and assured that she is prepared to make her move at anytime.
Aging with Gusto CEU Workshop
Early Registration Extended to May 1

Biases, misconceptions and stereotypes about older adults often operate below conscious awareness. But whether we are aware of our prejudices or not, they hurt us all.

This Aging with Gusto CEU workshop offered by the Vital Aging Network is designed for social workers, health professionals, housing staff and others. More about the workshop  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017   

9:00 am to 4:00 pm
White Bear Area Senior Program
2484 East County Road F
White, Bear Lake, MN 55110
Cost includes a hot lunch!
$85 - Early registration through May 1, 2017
$99 - After May 1
Registration closes May 19

Register today!  Do have friends or colleagues who should know about this workshop? Pass it on.   
Learn more.
Download a flyer. 

Register now 
Nominate a Community Leader  
for the "50 Over 50" List

50 over 50 list
It's time to recognize and celebrate the possibilities and contributions that come with age.

Nominate an inspirational figure in your community for AARP-MN and Pollen's 50 Over 50 list today at Nominations close on May 13, 2017.

oakdaleOakdale Wellness 50+ Fosters
Health and Well-being 
By Team Member, Jackie Chlebeck

Our team and its efforts in Oakdale continue to evolve and integrate with our community.

The Discover Your Fitness team is offering an event each month in 2017. Events include:

Aging with Gusto
Bone Strength
Sex and Aging
Line Dancing
Hike the Nature Trail
Younger Next Year
Healthy Cooking
Pickleball clinic
Mental Health
Tai Chi

We offer the Rikli-Jones Senior Fitness Test (SFT) at most of the events, and are working to get a database up and running to record and measure baselines and participants' improvement.

We have seen exciting results from our use of the SFT. In one element of the assessment, an 83-year-old was unable to stand from a sitting position with arms crossed at the chest. We provided exercises to help strengthen her legs and core.  Four months later, we again tested her and she was able to do nine chair stands. She was thrilled with the results. We are working toward expanding the evaluations into faith-based communities and senior residence housing.

Oakdale Wellness 50+ Senior Fitness Test

For the second year, we are offering a walking club at the Nature Preserve, and we will again offer incentives for those who keep a daily record of 150 minutes of exercise a week for 12 weeks. Our team is also exploring avenues for making Oakdale a Dementia-Friendly city.

For more information, visit our Facebook page.

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 

Get Active with VAN


Evolve participants

People who volunteer with VAN are active or retired people from all walks of life. They contribute their considerable skills and talents to help achieve our mission and to realize the benefits of connecting with others with similar values and interests. We hope you will consider joining us. 

  • Join the VAN Board. Do you want to be involved at the strategic level? Learn about the board member role. Download the application.
  • Forums Task Force. Be a part of a team of people planning and implementing the VAN Forums.
  • Marketing/communications. Help further develop and implement our communications plan, publish the VAN e-Bulletin and maintain the VAN website.
  • Event coordinator. Help plan fund raising events and other fun activities.

Contact Mark Skeie at 651-226-9578 or and let us know how you would like to help. 

Volunteer Opportunities
Kids 'n Kinship
Make a difference in the Life of a Child 
Kids 'n Kinship is a local non-profit agency making successful mentoring matches for over 45 years in Dakota County. Its mission is to provide friendships to youth ages 5-16 who are in need of a positive adult role model. They seek individuals, couples and families willing to spend an hour each week to provide fun, enriching and life long learning activities for youth. If you are interested in learning more about Kids 'n Kinship or becoming a mentor you are invited to attend an Information Session on Saturday, April 29 at the Robert Trail Library in Rosemount from 10:00-10:45 am, or Wednesday, May 17 at the Burnhaven Library in Burnsville from 6:00-6:45 pm. If you have any questions, please contact Rita Younger at or 651-686-0990. More information is also available at: Mentoring is a fantastic way to volunteer---it is fun and rewarding and you can make a huge difference in the life of a child!


RSVP will connect you with great volunteering. Of our many great volunteer opportunities with partner agencies, two are:
Hospice Volunteer
Give your attentive presence to another: share your big heart and listening ear as a visiting companion to an assigned patient (you would not do any hands-on care). Your support can allow a caregiver some time away to run errands, visit a friend, or get a much-needed rest. Volunteers needed throughout greater Metro area. Contact Jyni at 612-704-6116 or

Adult Basic Education/English Language Learner Classroom Assistant
Brooklyn Center. Work one-to-one or in small groups with adult students for 2-4 hours a week. You will meet motivated adult learners from all over the world and gain the satisfaction of helping them meet their education goals. Contact Mary at 612-704-6114 or

Roseville Area  Senior Program

Caregiver Support Co-Facilitator 
The Roseville Area Senior Program (RASP) is seeking a volunteer Caregiver Support Co-Facilitator. The group meets twice monthly, 2nd and 4th Tuesday's 12:30-2:00 pm at Fairview Community Center (1910 County Road B West, Roseville). Training and orientation are available.  A co-facilitator should be out of their caregiving role for at least one year. Prefer someone who has cared for a senior loved one and has some experience dealing with dementia.  Leadership experience in small group settings or in support group settings, is helpful, but not required.  The co-facilitator should be comfortable asking questions and dealing with sensitive conversations. Please call the Roseville Area Senior Program at 651-604-3520 or email Norm Kunselman, coordinator:
Office Receptionist 
The Roseville Area Senior Program (RASP) is seeking a volunteer Office Receptionist. The Office Receptionist assists program staff by answering the phone, greeting the public and providing information regarding the RASP, and other older adult needs and services. Assist staff with projects and activities. Once a week ½ day (4-hours). Please call the Roseville Area Senior Program at 651-604-3520 or email Norm Kunselman, coordinator:

Airport Foundation MSP
Various Roles 
New volunteers are always welcome to join the Airport Foundation's volunteer program. A variety of positions are available, most at MSP International Airport. The program's flexible schedules and unique opportunities attract volunteers from all walks of life. Travelers Assistance (TA), including Navigators, Service Specialists and Go Guides, provides help to passengers throughout the airport. Volunteer orientation sessions will be held at the airport on Saturday, May 20, from 9:30 AM to 12 PM. Potential volunteers should submit an application form. Additional information and a link to the application.
Grace Hospice Caring
Hospice Volunteer 
Companion, pet therapy, vigil or 11th hour volunteers to provide 1:1 companionship to patients. Read, share memories, take walks or just be a presence to a patient and their loved ones during their hospice journey. Administrative or office volunteers to help with mailings or filing. Bereavement volunteers to help support our patient's families in the 13 months after their loved one has passed. Visit listing on VolunteerMatch for more information.

East Side Elders
Help Seniors Maintain Lawns 
Work with team of volunteers to provide lawn care services to seniors in Dayton's Bluff and Payne Phalen area of Saint Paul. Maintained lawns not only keep homes looking attractive, they also help seniors avoid fines from the city for overgrown strips of grass near the sidewalk. If you have a lawnmower and/or truck to transport the mower, you can make a huge difference in the life of a senior! Learn more.

Help At Your Door
Help At Your Door Volunteer Opportunities 
New Name, New Services for 2017!
Help At Your Door assists seniors and individuals with disabilities to remain in their own homes throughout the Twin Cities Metro area. Volunteers are the heart of our services and assist with our grocery, home maintenance, transportation and companion care services in a variety of ways. Volunteer from home to place grocery orders, fill orders at a participating store location, help out with light fix-it or homemaker tasks, or occasionally drive clients to and from a doctor's appointment or errand. Your help makes a significant impact on our client's ability to stay at home. For more information, call 651-642-1892, visit or contact

In the News

The way Americans currently think about aging creates obstacles to productive practices and policies. How can the field of aging help build a better understanding of aging, ageism, and what it will take to create a more age-integrated society? This communications toolkit was developed in partnership with a group of leading national aging organizations and is an important contribution towards continuing the conversation about older people. We invite you to take a look.

Increasingly popular Internet of Things technology designed to help homes operate more easily and efficiently, also bring risk. This quick "how-to" from AARP helps you know how to defend yourself.

We tend to assume that creativity wanes with age. But Dr. Goodenough's story suggests that some people actually become more creative as they grow older. Unfortunately, those late-blooming geniuses have to contend with powerful biases against them.

Two studies released last week gave soda drinkers-both diet and regular-a whole new reason to drop the habit entirely. The first, published in the medical journal Stroke, found that consumption of artificially sweetened beverages was associated with a higher risk of stroke and dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. The second, published in Alzheimer's & Dementia, found that higher consumption of sugary beverages was associated with markers for pre-clinical Alzheimer's disease.

Would you like to receive the Vital Aging Network e-Bulletin? Subscribe Now