Vital Aging Network

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Laying the Groundwork for Wellness 50+ Across Washington County

by Mark Skeie October 02, 2017

Washington County on the eastern edge of the Twin Cities is aging at one of the fastest rates in the metro area. By 2025, 40 percent of Washington County residents will be 50+. That's one of the reasons we are excited to announce that the Vital Aging Network is laying the groundwork for expanding our Wellness 50+ program in Washington County.
Maintaining health and well-being as we age---physically, mentally, emotionally, socially---is good for us as individuals and it's good for our communities. We all have a role to play.

Grassroots Effort with Significant Support in Washington County

Wellness 50+ is a grassroots effort that engages community members as agents of positive change in their own lives and in supporting others in doing the same. To make this work possible, we are grateful for support of several key partners---Washington County Public Health, Allina Health, HealthPartners, Fairview/HealthEast, and United Way Washington County East.

Citizens League Signs On

cl_logo_horz_png3_821In addition to local groups, we are pleased to welcome the Citizens League as a partner in our Wellness 50+ effort.
"A deeper partnership with the Vital Aging Network is a perfect match for us right now. It hits on so many notes," says Sean Kershaw, executive director of the Citizens League. "Aging is one of the most significant issues facing Minnesotans today. The Citizens League has been working in this area for some time and we know that health and well-being is a key element of the issue. Our belief in building the capacity of citizens to be leaders in all aspects of their lives is in alignment with VAN's Wellness 50+ approach. Working together is a definitely win-win."
Pahoua Yang Hoffman, policy director for the Citizens League will participate on VAN's Wellness 50+ Design Team.

Next Steps

VAN's role is to recruit community members for Wellness 50+ leadership teams, build their capacities to lead successful wellness efforts and provide an ongoing structure for the teams to learn from each other and be sustainable over time. The program builds off of our experience with Wellness 50+ efforts in four pilot communities started in 2013.
Over the next few months we will be busy connecting with organizations in Washington County to garner support and to help spread the word. We will also lead Aging with Gusto sessions in a number of locations in Washington County to start to ignite more positive views about aging--an important component of health.

If you live in Washington County and would like to be involved in this effort, please contact Julie Roles at 651-895-3341 or


Julie Roles - February 19, 2018
We have been working with Roger Green. We have also connected with Dana Boyle and Laura Fairweather in their work on social isolation. Are you working with Woodbury THRIVES? Are you interested in learning more about Wellness 50+? I would be happy to have a discussion. Email me at

Anna Barker - February 19, 2018
Who are you linked with in Woodbury THRIVES?


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