Getting older but not feeling old

Jill Ballard of Randolph Township, a community of about 500 residents in southeast Minnesota, says one of the positives of aging is having the time to more fully embrace life. “Having time to explore new things, volunteer, enjoy my family and teach fifth-grade church school is the best part about getting older,” says Jill. “The…

Staying active and proactive

Staying active – both physically and socially – provides a type of “insurance” different from your typical health insurance plan. Staying active is being proactive. It’s taking control of whatever you can, despite any limitations, in order to age as well as possible. Most importantly, being proactive creates a feeling of empowerment across many different…

Making memories every day as a TMA

“I don’t think a day goes by that there’s not memories made,” says Jean Happke, a trained medical assistant (TMA) at Pierz Villa in Pierz, Minnesota. “I have taken seniors out for a ride around the block, or to look at Christmas lights. There’s a resident who wanted to go through her closet, so we…

Empowering seniors and their loved ones to fight back against fraud

Scam artists looking to make a quick buck of off Minnesota’s rapidly growing senior population target older adults across the state. One out of five seniors has been the victim of a financial swindle. The most common scams targeting seniors are phone scams, timeshare resale scams and pension advance scams. If a senior is unsure…

Simple ways to age more nimbly

People sometimes get a little intimidated by the juxtaposition of the words karate, exercise and older citizens. No need to be worried. Karate or other forms of exercise can be pretty easy once you get the hang of it. For instance, one very popular piece of advice for new students to my class is: “Do…

What growing old in Minnesota means

What does it mean to grow old in Minnesota? We thought this would be a good question to ask during May, which is Older Americans Month. Most likely, if you are a Minnesota senior or know a Minnesota senior, several things come to mind. Having endured many long and frigid winters, Minnesota seniors are resilient.…

Facing Aging on Mother’s Day: mortality, imagination and the stuff

My mother is on a mission. She is circulating a list of her and my father’s household and personal belongings that she considers valuable to her children. The mission is for my sister, brother and me to identify what we might like to have after she and my dad have died. Once we fulfill our…

Mother and daughter share passion for long-term care

Shayla Mahmalji and Marti Brende carpool to work every day. Shayla works in human resources, and Marti works in social services, but both daughter and mother share a passion for long-term care and love their jobs at Aftenro Home in Duluth, Minnesota. “I’ve been in and around long-term care my whole life,” says Shayla. “I…

Helping others is the best part

“The reward in the long run is worth every bit of time put into your job,” says Julia Urdahl, a CNA at Prairie Pines Community Assisted Living in Fosston, Minnesota.  Julia’s grandmother was a RN and told Julia that if she wanted to go into nursing, she needed to work as a CNA at a…

Celebrating Older Americans Month

May is Older Americans Month, a time to celebrate the many ways seniors have helped build our families, cities, industries and quality of life. Their dreams, hard work and love have created a legacy we now enjoy – and they’re just getting started. As Minnesota’s aging population grows more rapidly than ever before, older adults…

Training the next generation of passionate long-term care leaders

Last year, professor Steve Chies taught a class of 48 students who were entering a one-year practicum to train as long-term care administrators. “Out of the 48, 46 of them were millennials. It gave me great hope in our sector that we have good leaders coming up in millennials,” says Steve. “They’re passionate, enthusiastic and…