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Wellness 50+

Wellness 50+ Expanding in Washington County

“For change to be sustained, it has to involve
and be led by the people who are living in the community. ”

—Dr. John Gaventa,
Citizen-Led Sustainable Change Vibrant Canada

Learn about upcoming events in Welness 50+ communities

In 2013, the Vital Aging Network launched community-based wellness initiaitves led by self-directed teams of people 50+ in four Minnesota communities. Now, we are expanding these initiatives into four new Washington County communities. Read about the great work the Oakdale Wellness 50+ team is doing.

recruitingthumbnail_334These initaitves work to achieve these goals:

  • Increase the awareness among people 50+ in the community about opportunities for self-care and its importance.
  • Implement projects that enable older adults to make measurable changes in attitudes/practices likely to contribute to better health outcomes.
  • Build community among community members to create a culture of wellness.
  • Increase the capacity of community members to provide ongoing leadership for wellness-related initiatives.
  • Ensure that the Wellness 50+ initiative can be sustained
    during and after the three-year initiating phase.

Be a part of a grassroots movement

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.

How It Works

In each pilot community, trained facilitators help Wellness 50+ team members learn processes that help them design and implement wellness projects. The projects produce increased wellness and become the start of sustainable initiatives in the communities.

The Wellness 50+ teams are self-directed, engaging a cross-section of community members to:

  • Map existing community assets.
  • Build relationships among individuals and organizations.
  • Engage community members in setting priorities.
  • Plan and implement projects that change behaviors.
  • Work collaboratively to make sustainable, positive changes in the well-being of people 50+.

Wellness 50+ Training

In-community team training is a key element of the success of Wellness 50+. A VAN trained facilitator provides structure and processes to help community-based teams move quickly to innovation and success.

  1. Forming and  operating as an effective  team
  2. Being a collaborative leader
  3. Using principles and practices of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) for successful, grassroots community efforts
  4. Engaging a broad, cross section of residents in the Wellness 50+ effort
  5. Planning and implementing projects
  6. Planning for sustainability

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 a brochure about Wellness 50+ in Washington County. Download the application to be a Wellness 50+ Team Member.

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


Wellness 50+ in the news

Phillips Walkers Surpass 6 Million Steps. The Alley Newspaper, September 2016.

New Midway group takes aim at senior health. Monitor Newspaper, Saint Paul.
Vital Living Alexandria is wellness program designed for people 50+. Echo Press, Alexandria, MN.



In the News

Phillips Wellness 50+: PhillipsWellness50-AlleyNews7-2017


Phillips Wellness 50+: Round the World Challenge

"None of us can walk around the world on our own but together we can accomplish remarkable things." The Phillips group has walked almost 10,000,000 steps so far with a goal of more than 35,000,000 steps. Together they will make it! Read the story.

People 50+ as Catalysts for Wellness



Final Report: Wellness 50+ Pilot Program
January 2017

We are proud of the outstanding work the Wellness 50+ teams have done Alexandria, MN; the Hamline Midway neighborhood in Saint Paul; Oakdale and the Phillips neighborhood in Minneapolis. The three-year pilot is done but their work is just beginning. Take a look at the report to learn about their ongoing work.



This section includes the following pages:

  • Upcoming Wellness 50+ Events - This page provides information about upcoming events in VAN's Wellness 50+ communities
  • Gentle Movement in Silent Unison: Improving Health in Phillips - The Tai Chi sessions are led by master trainer, Richard Johnson, and are part of the Phillips Wellness 50+ program.
  • Oakdale Wellness 50+: Citizens Leading Change - The Oakdale Wellness 50+ team has provided remarkable leadership, and is making a real impact in Oakdale. To support their work, the Oakdale team has developed partnerships with local government and organizations.
  • 6,175,139 Steps and Counting - 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.