Vital Aging Network e-Bulletin
In this e-Bulletin
The Why? How? What? of the Vital Aging Network
Welcome New Board Members
Night at the Guthrie, August 10: Sunday in the Park with George
AARP MN's Meal Packing Challenge
Aging with Gusto in Cambridge, Minn.
Phillips Wellness 50+ Round the World Challenge
For Your Calendar
Volunteer Opportunities
In the News

The Why? How? What? of the Vital Aging Network
by Pam Hayle, Chair, and Mark Skeie, Executive Director

Vital Aging Network board members and a small group of additional network members have spent the last few months examining our mission, looking at structure and programs and preparing for the future.
The group has plenty of know-how and energy and is excited about the enormous potential for VAN. Through our discussions we have reaffirmed the Why? of our work:
  •  Help people have full, connected, satisfying lives as they age. 
  •  Help older adults be a force for good in the world. 
How we do that and what we specifically do to achieve our purpose is a little more complex and we are still evaluating our next steps. We see pathways for continuing to develop Evolve, Aging with Gusto and Wellness 50+ at the same time that we work to build and connect the VAN network.  
We believe that our work is more important than ever and we are excited to continue to be on the leading edge of finding ways to tap into the deep reservoir of capacity within people as they age.

Read more and add your comments


AARP Minnesota
If you would like to sponsor a future e-Bulletin, contact Julie Roles
at or 651-895-3341
Welcome New Board Members
We are pleased to introduce three new members of the VAN board. All bring tremendous energy, skills and insights to the organization. We are thrilled to have them a part of our leadership team.

Seth Boffeli  
Seth Boffeli
Seth Boffeli is no stranger to the Vital Aging Network. As communications director for AARP Minnesota, Seth has facilitated frequent collaborations between VAN and AARP.

With almost 20 years of communications experience, Seth brings an important skill set that will help move VAN forward. He says, "I find the programming VAN offers inspiring, impactful and timely. The VAN connects with an impressive group of leaders and advocates in the aging network in Minnesota."

Cheryl Hermann
Cheryl Hermann  
As a member of VAN's Wellness 50+ Team in Oakdale, Cheryl Hermann has seen firsthand the positive impact VAN can make on people's lives.

"VAN's Wellness 50+ work is innovative and right on target for what we need to do to improve health and well being," says Cheryl, retired Vice President of Clinic Operations and Patient Care Services for Allina Health.

She plans to use her strategic skills, content expertise and organizational connections to help VAN succeed.

Elizabeth Meyer
Elizabeth Meyer
After working for more than a decade in the senior living industry, Elizabeth sees more than just challenges for people 50+. She believes the age group has "an incredible amount of untapped potential. I see amazing people overlooked because of their age. I want to be a part of changing that dynamic."

As Executive Director Sales & Marketing for Walker Methodist, Elizabeth brings strong skills to VAN and is eager to put them to use.


Sunday in the Park with George

Vital Aging Network Night at the Guthrie 

Excellent seating, reduced ticket price for the Guthrie's performance
of Sunday in the Park with George. Join us!
Ticket price: $38. $12 of each ticket goes to support the Vital Aging Network.

Buy Tickets

Shining a Spotlight on Senior Hunger:
Meal Pack Challenge

Volunteer August 6
The recent debate over health care-specifically Medicaid-has created an opportunity to discuss who exactly is served by social safety net programs. While some in Congress and the Administration have said those who lose their Medicaid coverage should simply "get a job," non-profit advocates have stepped forward to let the public know just how much older Minnesotans rely on the social safety net. Whether it is Medicaid or Medicare, public programs are lifelines that keep countless seniors out of poverty.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the fight to end hunger. Today, around 14 percent of older Minnesotans report not having enough money to buy food in the last year. In fact, people over age 65 are the fastest growing group of food shelf users. From 2011 to 2015, the number of food shelf visits by seniors rose 23.7 percent and around 21 percent of all SNAP enrollees in our state are seniors. (There are around 250,000 total beneficiaries.)

AARP meal packing

In August, AARP Minnesota is organizing a unique event to shine a spotlight on senior hunger. They are hosting a massive Meal Pack Challenge on Sunday, August 6th at the University of St. Thomas Field House. The goal is to pack 500,000 nutritious meals but in order to do so AARP needs more than 1,000 volunteers. There are several 90-minute shifts available throughout the day and anyone interested can find out more at

The meals prepared at the event will go to Second Harvest Heartland to be distributed to food shelves across Minnesota.

Be Part of a Grand Challenge Course with the  
Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota
As part of the Vital Aging Network, you are invited to participate in an exciting effort to connect undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota with the talent, skills and experience of people 50+.
"Bridging the Age Gap: Enhancing Individual and Community Capacity" is an experimental and entrepreneurial venture that provides an opportunity for you to work collaboratively with traditional students on a community project. The 15-week course is led by Professor Emeritus Stuart Albert and Professor Tom Fisher and will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:15 to 12:30 on the west bank of the University.
There is no cost to you to participate in this course but space is limited and registration is required. Learn more.
Aging with Gusto in Cambridge
"Positive self-perceptions
are the foundation of a fulfilling,
vital and satisfying life."
---Sally Brown, lead facilitator and a member  
of the design team for the Vital Aging Network's  
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. 
Sign up for this upcoming series or watch for additional sessions, coming soon.   
Three Wednesdays: Aug. 23, 30 and Sept. 6  
5:00 to 5:30 p.m. - Check-in and Light Dinner
Walker Methodist Levande
5:30 to 7:30 p.m. - Program
Welcome/Leasing Center
City Center Mall, Suite 178
140 Buchanan Street North
Cambridge, MN 55008

Register now 

This one-hour documentary distributed by American Public Television asks ..."What will it mean for us all to grow up, live and age in a society where a third of the population is over age 65?"
We are an aging society--and will continue to be. Coming of Age in Aging America explores the demanding reality of this permanent transformational phenomenon.
Note: This video is available to stream for free from July 1 to August 1 through Next Avenue. Visit the project website.

Encore Fellowship:
T ransitioning to Careers for the Common Good

Looking for meaningful work that  contributes to society and gives  purpose to your life? As a baby  boomer, you grew up in a time  when commitment to public  service was flourishing; and now,  as you think about retirement,  there's a growing opportunity for  you to inspire younger  generations. 
With Hamline's  Encore Fellowship program , in which participants are introduced to encore careers (volunteer, part-time, or full-time positions undertaken after retirement from your current career) you can continue to give back to the community and act as a mentor for those looking to do the same.   Learn more. 


6,175,139 Steps and Counting
By the Phillips Wellness 50+ Team

Phillips Wellness 50+ walkers

The bright green shirts never fail to grab attention as the Phillips Wellness 50+ walkers move along Park Avenue in Minneapolis. Drivers honk, passersby wave. The walkers get lots of positive support from the community.

The green-shirt-clad walkers have taken more than 6 million steps on the way to our goal of 35,200,000 steps along the 45th parallel. It's all part of the "Phillips Round the World Challenge," an effort of Phillips Wellness 50+. None of us can walk around the world by ourselves but together we can achieve the most audacious goal. Twenty to 30 people (out of about 50 on our roster) gather each week for the group walk, and then track their steps throughout the week. 

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
Earl McGovern
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.  
  • One-time opportunity to help
    VAN Mail Stuffing Social. Help VAN by spending two hours in August stuffing our fundraising letter, visiting and snacking. If interested, contact VAN Board member Mary Quirk at or 612-723-7946. This will be on a weekday morning or early afternoon in the west metro at a time that works for those interested.
  • 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.
Contact Mark Skeie at 651-226-9578 or and let us know how you would like to help. 
Make a Donation
Do you value the contribution that the Vital Aging Network makes in
in your life and in the community? 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.

Volunteer Opportunities
Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute (MOI)
Work with K-12 Youth on Homework, Writing, Storytelling
While Captain Plankton searches for the Legendary Lost Ocean of Minnesota (purportedly located below the metro area), MOI battens down the hatches by serving under resourced youth through five arms of programming. During After School Homework Help, volunteers work for up to 90 minutes with k-12 youth on the homework that they have been assigned, followed by an engaging creative writing prompt. Storytelling and Bookmaking Field Trips see 2nd-4th grade classes collaboratively writing a story, crafting their own endings, and leaving with an illustrated book in 2 hours at MOI HQ. Young Authors' Book Project is a 6 month creative writing workshop, taking place in the classroom, which concludes with a professionally published book. In School Tutoring sends MOI Volunteers to local schools, where they assist classroom teachers in reading and writing curriculum. For more information, contact Max Meier at MOI 612-367-7827 or or visit

East Side Neighborhood Services
Volunteer at Adult Day at Friendship Center.
Would you like to engage with older adults and be of service to others? Become a volunteer at Adult Day at Friendship Center (across the street from East Side Neighborhood Services)! Here are a few of the opportunities:

Lunch Volunteers
Assist with lunch set up, serving, and clean up.

AM Hospitality Volunteers
Greet and escort adult day participants from vehicle to building; serve coffee and snacks; clean up/help set up for next activity.

AM and PM Activity Volunteers
Assist with the activity of the day including arts & crafts, sing-alongs, games, discussions, exercise and more. Help escort clients between activities and program transition times. Morning, noon, or afternoon times available between 9:30-2:30; 1717 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis 55413. For information, call Donna at 612-781-2052.
FamilyMeans Caregiver Support Program
Respite Volunteers
Men and women are needed to help provide a caregiver with a much-needed break. Volunteers provide companionship and supervision to a senior or child who needs supervision because of a disability, health concern, memory loss or who may just be frail. Volunteers do not provide any medical care or personal cares. Volunteers are needed days, evenings and/or weekends for two to four times a month for a two-to- four hour shift. Volunteers do need transportation in order to get to the caregiver's home and must be able to pass a criminal background check. Some needs are for just sitting with people in their homes to make sure they are safe, while others can be more interactive such as playing a game, doing a puzzle, going for a walk, and other fun activities. A 90-minute orientation is provided as well as a monthly volunteer training should you choose to attend. Volunteering can improve your physical and mental health, educate you, give you purpose, help your community, expand your friendship circle and help you put life into prospective. For more information, please contact Dianne Vierling, FamilyMeans Volunteer Coordinator at 651-789-4055, or visit

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. Volunteers are currently most needed to help with light fix-it or home maintenance tasks, or to occasionally drive clients to and from a doctor's appointment or errand. Your help makes a significant impact on our clients' ability to stay at home. For more information, call 651-642-1892, visit or contact

Support Veterans
StandDown - help make one-stop services available to veterans experiencing homelessness and other barriers to health, wellness, and security. July 31 - August 1, Fort Snelling.
Veteran Story Collection - record the  stories of wartime veterans for the  Veterans' History Project of the Library of Congress. Locations: Hopkins, Minneapolis, Apple Valley.
Minneapolis VAMC- provide hospitality and escort services.
For more information: 612-704-6114 or

Make a Difference in the Life of a Young Person
Classroom Assistant - support students in a K-12 classroom setting.
Tutor/Mentor - provide literacy tutoring, homework help, relationship-building, and enrichment activities in an after-school program.
Locations include: Minneapolis, St. Paul, West St. Paul/Dakota County, Cottage Grove, Robbinsdale Area Schools, Osseo Area Schools, Bloomington Public Schools. For more information: West Metro: 612-704-6114 or East Metro: 612-704-6116 or

Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging
Lead Beginner Computer Classes!
The internet can be a complicated maze, and many seniors are getting lost! Become a Senior Surf Day instructor and teach a two hour, basic, hands-on computer and internet class to older adults who have little or no experience with computers. You can empower seniors to access information on the internet on their own.  For more information, please contact Colleen Fritsch at the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging 651 917 4638 or or visit
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 Tuesdays 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 a 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:
Donut Volunteer
RASP is looking for someone to pick up donuts on Tuesday mornings at Donut Hut, Little Canada, once or twice per month, and deliver the donuts to the Roseville Area Senior Program. It's a real sweet thing to do! Stop by the RASP office and talk to Norm, RASP Coordinator, or call 651.604.3520.

For Your Calendar
July 6 - August 12, 2017
In a New Voice artwork
I'm Here: Art in The Service of Memory
Form+Content Gallery , 210 N 2nd St #104, Minneapolis
Painting, drawings and artist books created in "In A New Voice" program at the Amherst H. Wilder Adult Day Health Services, St Paul, Minnesota. The artists are individuals who are facing loss of known and familiar identities. Most of the artworks presented will be from artists who have never depended on art as an identity, but now find it to be a great joy to tell, build, problem solve, and create a new sense of themselves as makers.

Wednesday, August 2 - 7:00 PM
AARP Movie Night: The Sandlot
CHS Field, 360 Broadway, St. Paul, MN 55101
Join AARP Twin Cities for a special screening of The Sandlot, the story of a new kid in town who is taken under the wing of a young baseball prodigy and his team in this coming of age movie set in the summer of 1962. Sit in the stands or bring a blanket and watch from the outfield. Concession stands open for refreshments. Sign up for the movie.
Movie night at CHS field

Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6 to 8 PM
Silver Sobriety proves recovery services for alcohol and drug addiction that address the unique addiction needs of adults age 50 and older. New evening program
Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6 to 8 PM in Stillwater. Email or visit to learn more.
Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 1:00 to 4:30 PM
Minnetonka Community Center
Reimagine Aging Conference: Technology for Independent Living
Exploring today's landscape and opportunities for harnessing technology to enhance the lives of older adults. Learn more and/or purchase tickets.
In the News

By Chris Farrell, July 13, 2017,
Age discrimination is widespread, well documented and, sadly, deeply entrenched in the American workplace. It's also illegal, thanks to the 50-year-old Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which is aimed at protecting people 40 and older from discrimination in hiring, promotion and retention. Unfortunately, federal courts have also increasingly made age discrimination claims difficult to prove.
By Michael Andersen, July 2017, Kiplinger
You probably know the significance of age 65 (Medicare!). But how about age 50? Or age 59½? Or 62? These are just a few of the important milestones that retirees and future retirees need to prepare for.
By Carla Fried, June 2, 2017,
Staying on the job past 65 may be easier said than done. Two-thirds of employees leave sooner than they wanted.
Loneliness is the exception rather than the rule in later life. And when it occurs, it can be alleviated: It's a mutable psychological state.

By Chris Weller and Skye Gould, March 16, 2017, Business Insider
There many ways in which human beings peak well into middle and old age. Teenagers, for instance, may have vitality on their side, but older people are generally more psychologically stable.
People die at various ages. Life is imprecise. Otherwise, you could just plan your days all the way up to your last. The range of your life expectancy is much more interesting.

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