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Vital Aging

Vital aging is a lifelong process of achieving individual potential and engaging with others to meet the needs of all. The Vital Aging Network’s particular focus is on the latter half of life. Older people can be a significant force in shaping a new societal vision of healthy, fulfilling lives connected in vital communities.

As the baby boomers reach their 60s, the nation is experiencing dramatic shifts in attitudes about aging. Healthy, active, young-old adults are growing in numbers and influence. For many of you, these years will be the best of your life, when the opportunities for rich experiences outweigh the challenges of coping with decline. Many will find unique opportunities for self-actualization, seeking and finding meaning and balance, and finding that you can enrich your own life through contributing to others.

VAN supports vital aging:

  • By linking you to opportunities for productive and meaningful activities that match your interests and the needs of your community; and
  • By providing forums where you, other individuals, and organizations can work collaboratively to support self-sufficiency, community participation, and quality of life for and with older adults.

This section includes the following pages:

  • Life's Journey - We often think of our lives in terms of growth, accomplishments, experiences—abundant living in the fullest sense of the word. We do not think of life as the prelude to death and dying.
  • Old on Purpose - How much of what we think it means to be old is based on misleading notions furthered by our youth-oriented culture? How would we approach our later years if we saw them as a time to fully discover our self and our purpose? This video helps explore the idea.
  • Will Your Community Support You as You Age? - Bob Roepke, former Mayor of Chaska, writes about the necessity of developing supportive communities for people of all ages
  • Communities for a Lifetime Minnesota Legislation - Mike Weber, President and CEO of Volunteers of America Minnesota explores the recent passage of Communities for a Lifetime legislation which allows communities to take the first tangible step toward affirmatively and positively welcoming the growing older adult population.
  • Aging Policy in Perspective - Efforts such as Communities for a Lifetime and
    a proposed national policy agenda called Project 2020 are two ways that policymakers are addressing issues related to aging baby boomers.
  • An Aging Twin Cities Population - To gain understanding of this aging phenomenon, the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging (MAAA) conducted a survey of 146 Twin Cities metropolitan cities and townships to determine the status of their planning for an aging population.
  • Positive Aspects of Aging - Growing older does offer challenges. You must anticipate and accept certain losses and limitations. Aging is more than disease, despair, and disability. Rewarding and positive aspects of aging can balance the negative stereotypes associated with it.
  • Addressing Ageism - Jan Hively talks about the need for healthy age awareness. In a society that emphasizes health, wealth, and youthfulness it is easy to allow the opposite, ageism, to sneak into everyday life.

Check our Additional Resources for more information